According to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for qualified tractor-trailer truck drivers will rise by 6% over the next ten years. While this demand is a nationwide phenomenon, some areas of the country require a higher concentration of drivers to facilitate the delivery of goods and services.
Virginia is a major contributor to manufacturing and distribution in the United States. A diverse list of companies needs drivers to help them keep their own customers happy. What are some of the requirements for a CDL license in Virginia? How do these requirements make driving safer for workers and others on the road? How can aspiring truck drivers prepare for testing? What are the benefits of attending a formal truck driving learning program?
CDL Requirements in Virginia State
In order to successfully apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with the state of Virginia, applicants should meet these criteria.
- Drivers must be at least 18 years old at the time of application. For an interstate license, applicants must be at least 21 years old.
- Applicants must prove Virginia state residency by presenting proof of legal presence in the form of a government-issued ID, evidence of a valid social security number, and proof of permanent residency within the state.
- Proof of compliance with FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) medical certification requirements are needed before a CDL is issued.
- Applicants must also register with the Selective Service.
In addition to these requirements, Virginia requires aspiring CDL drivers to participate in a training period before their application is accepted. This can be done in the form of an approved formal training program or as practice logged under the eye of an experienced mentor. Those who choose the route of formal education must show evidence of two weeks of on-the-road training. Those without the benefit of formal training need to log a minimum of 30 days of on-the-road practice before application.
How State Law Protects Drivers
The Virginia state laws for CDL drivers are designed to keep everyone safe on the road.
- By restricting age, the state ensures that every CDL driver is mature enough to follow the rules and make good decisions
- Conforming to the FMSCA regulations ensures the highest safety standards, which reduces road accidents and saves lives
- Proof of residency is an important part of establishing work rights eligibility
The training requirements are an essential part of CDL law. The time students spend learning their trade under the watchful eye of a mentor ensures that they are ready to take responsibility for heavy vehicles on their own. It also ensures that they understand the importance of many safety regulations and procedures.
Best Preparation for CDL Training
Self-study and formal education are the two main ways to prepare for CDL testing. While both are valid methods, attending a formal training program offers a number of benefits for aspiring drivers.
- Self-directed study isn’t always complete. Using old manuals and study guides could leave students at risk of having the wrong answers through no fault of their own. Attending a formal program ensures you are given the right, most current information.
- After graduation, those who graduate from a training program often generally have better options for entry-level employment. Without third-party verification of their skills, self-learners could struggle to get their first position.
- The Virginia CDL test requires a knowledge test as well as a driving test. A formal training program teaches students how the knowledge learned in the classroom applies on the road. Instead of just theory and disconnected facts, students receive a complete education.
The practice requirements are also made easier with formal training. Instead of spending an entire month relearning and reinforcing the same material, students are ready to work in two weeks.
Are You Ready to Get on the Road?
Get your driving career started with a certificate of completion from the Tractor-Trailer Driving program at ATI. This specialized training program is specifically designed to get Virginia residents ready to take on the challenges of CDL driving in a variety of capacities.
Contact our counselors today for more information on this formal job training program.