There’s a constant demand for truck drivers throughout the year across the US. According to Career Explorer, the trucking industry is expected to grow by 5.8% between 2016 and 2026.
However, to start a career in trucking in the US, you must first meet all the CDL License requirements. In this post, we discuss CDL license requirements to become a truck driver in Georgia, US.
How to Get a CDL in Georgia
Getting a Georgia CDL follows a list of requirements that applicants must meet. These include knowledge and skill tests, residency requirements, and medical certification. Below is an exhaustive breakdown of basic requirements for a CDL in Georgia.
Georgia CDL Requirements
- You must meet the minimum age of 18 years to drive commercial motor vehicles within the state.
- You must meet the minimum age of 21 years to drive commercial motor vehicles across Georgia state lines, transport hazardous materials, or carry passengers.
- You must have one valid driver’s license without any driving privileges suspended, revoked, or disqualified by the Georgia Department of Driver Services or any state in the US.
- You must pass Georgia’s Commercial Learner’s Permit (CPL) written exams
- You must meet the medical test requirements by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
- You must provide legal proof of US citizenship or lawful status that allows you to work in the country, proof of residence, and other personal identification documents such as a Social Security Number, a Green Card, or a Birth Certificate.
- You must prove that you’re not under any CDL suspension or disqualification in any state in the US.
- You must be able to read and write the English language well.
- You must pay the $32 CDL fee.
- You must pay a $50 testing fee.
How to Get CDL Permit in GA
Obtaining a CDL License in Georgia starts with getting a CDL Permit. Below are Georgia CLP requirements.
- Possess a valid Georgia driver license
- Pass all written knowledge exams
- Pass a vision test
- Pay a $10 permit fee before taking exams
- Pay a $35 application fee
- Pass any applicable endorsement test
- Present a medical certificate or any other medical card as required by the driving category
- Surrender your out-of-state ID, driver’s license, or Permit as required
- Submit to driving record scrutiny in the past ten years in all US states
- Provide legal documentation showing proof of US citizenship or lawful status in the US, residence, and Social Security Number
How Much is a CDL License in GA?
Obtaining a CDL in Georgia is a straightforward process without any hidden charges. Below is what you’ll pay to get a CDL in Georgia.
How Long Does It Take To Get a CDL in Georgia?
It will take approximately seven weeks to complete a CDL training program while attending full-time. However, you can take as little as three weeks or over six months, depending on other factors like endorsements and the CDL type you’re training for.
CDL Disqualifications in GA
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Act 1986 permits the state of Georgia to suspend or disqualify any driver that violates traffic rules or is deemed unsafe to other road users. Below are circumstances that can lead to CDL disqualification in GA.
Operating a CMV with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or more leads to loss of CDL for at least one year for the first offense and three years for those transporting hazardous material. The second offense leads to license cancellation for life.
Any driver operating with a detectable amount of alcohol below 0.04% will be put out of service for at least 24 hours.
You may also lose your CDL for operating a CMV under the influence of other controlled substances.
You’ll also be disqualified for committing a felony using a vehicle, other than a felony involving distributing, manufacturing, or dispensing controlled substances.
Leaving an accident scene is also a major offense that may lead to disqualification.
Serious Traffic Violations
Serious traffic violations include:
You’ll lose your CDL for at least 60 days for two serious traffic violations within three years. A third violation will lead to CDL loss for at least 120 days.
Rail-Road Highway Grade Crossing Offenses
You could be disqualified for the following rail-road highway grade crossing offenses:
- Failure to stop before driving onto a road crossing as required by law
- Failure to slow down to check for approaching trains and that tracks are clear
- Failure to obey traffic control devices or directions given by enforcement officials at the crossing
- Failure to negotiate a crossing due to insufficient undercarriage clearance
- Failure to create sufficient space to drive through a crossing without stopping
- Failure to stop before reaching a crossing if the track is not clear
Out-of-Service Order Offenses
An out-of-service order restricts a CLP or a CDL holder from operating a commercial vehicle for a specific period or until they’re reinstated to service.
Other than disqualification, drivers who violate out-of-service orders will pay a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 for the first crime and up to $5,000 for the repetition of an offense.
Commercial License Types & Classes in Georgia
Georgia offers three different CDL classes. You need to determine the class vehicle you intend to operate before obtaining a CDL. Here are the three CDL classes.
Class A CDL
Class A CDL permits the holder to drive any combination of vehicles with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more, given that the vehicle or vehicles being towed have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) that exceeds 10,000 pounds.
Class A CDL holders can operate Class B and C vehicles.
Vehicles under this class may include tanker vehicles, tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations, livestock carriers, track-trailer buses, and flatbeds.
Class B CDL
Class B CDL permits the holder to drive any single vehicle with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or heavier, provided it is towing another vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less. Class B CDL holders can also operate Class C vehicles.
Vehicles under this category include school buses, straight trucks, large city or tourist buses, box trucks such as courier or delivery trucks, segmented buses, and small-trailer dump trucks.
Class C CDL
Class C CDL permits the holder to drive any single or a combination of vehicles that don’t meet Class A and B requirements and is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or any vehicle transporting hazardous materials as guided by federal regulations.
Vehicles under Class C CDL include passenger vans, small HazMat vehicles, and vehicles not meeting class A and B definitions.
GA CDL Endorsements
CDL endorsement is a great addition to your CDL as it helps advance your career and command higher salaries as well.
Georgia offers CDL endorsements that allow drivers to operate special types of commercial vehicles. Each endorsement requires you to pass knowledge and skill tests.
Below are GA CDL endorsements.
- H endorsement – Hazardous Materials
- N endorsement – Tanker Vehicles
- P endorsement – Passenger Vehicles
- S endorsement – School Bus Transport
- T endorsement – Doubles and Triples
- X endorsement – Hazmat and Tanker Combination
What Makes Georgia a Great Place to Start a Truck Driving Career?
Here are the main reasons you should consider starting a trucking career in Georgia.
Georgia offers many opportunities for anyone looking to start a trucking career. The state has up to 53 truck driving schools. Most of these schools partner with trucking companies to offer practical experience and job placements for students who excel.
Besides, Georgia has some of the best-paying cities around the US. Depending on experience and other factors such as CDL class type, some cities will pay truck drivers as high as $82,432 per year.
The state also has many trucking companies that absorb competent students during internships and offer handsome remuneration to their workers.
Job Outlook and Salary For Truck Driving in Georgia
There is high demand for truck drivers in Georgia, which has prompted Georgia lawmakers to add more funding in their budgets to expand trucking training facilities.
The state offers some of the best trucking services all over the US. And with more than 53 truck driver training facilities and trucking companies spread across the state, a career in trucking remains one of the most secure jobs amid recession across other industries.
Additionally, most Georgia trucking companies pay competitive rates with others offering retirement plans, among other benefits. More than half of truck drivers say their salaries are enough to cater to living costs in their respective areas.
A trucking career in Georgia also offers good growth opportunities. The more experienced you are, the higher the remuneration.
For instance, entry drivers with less than one year of experience can earn up to $66,325 per year. Those with six to nine years of experience can make $75,653, whereas drivers with more than ten years of experience can take home up to $80,008 per year.
What is the Demand For Truck Drivers in Georgia?
The demand for truck drivers remains high in Georgia and all other states in the US. According to one truck driving school manager, all students get at least six job offers before graduation.
Apart from outsiders who pursue trucking in Georgia, the state puts 375 to 400 Georgia residents to work each year.
How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in Georgia?
Truck driver salary in Georgia depends on multiple factors such as operating mode, level of experience, city, CDL class type, route type, plus different companies offer different packages. However, the average salary for truck drivers in Georgia is $70,857 per year.
Trucking is one of the best careers that promise a lot of benefits within a short period. Within seven weeks or less, you’ll be on the way to earning a hefty remuneration package with excellent job security.
But first, you must meet all the CDL requirements, including passing all tests and adhering to regulations as administered by the Department of Driver Services.
Still, it’s important to note that you can be disqualified as a CDL driver if you contravene trucking rules laid by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Act, 1986.
People Also Ask
Georgia CDL license requirements can be confusing to many. Below are common questions people ask about obtaining a Georgia CDL.
How Much Does CDL School Cost in Georgia?
CDL training schools in Georgia charge between $2,000 and $5,000.
Can You Get a CDL With a DUI in Georgia?
You’ll be put out of service for up to 24 hours if you have a detectable alcohol content of 0.04%.
However, driving under the influence (DUI) with more than 0.04% alcohol content will lead to disqualification for one year and up to three years for those operating vehicles that transport hazardous material. A second offense leads to the lifetime cancellation of your CDL.
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How Old Do You Have To Be To Get a CDL in Georgia?
People aged between 18 and 21 years can get a Georgia CDL. However, they will be restricted to driving within the state (intrastate). Upon turning 21 years, you’ll need to go to the Department of Driver Services (DDS) station to have the “Georgia Only” restriction lifted.
How Many Questions Are on the Georgia CDL Permit Test?
The Georgia CDL test comprises 50 questions. Students must score at least 80%, which is the passing score, by answering at least 40 questions correctly.
When is a CDL Required in GA?
You’ll need a CDL in Georgia to operate:
- A combination of vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more
- Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more
- Single vehicles transporting 16 or more people, including the driver
- Any size vehicle that requires special endorsement
Where Can You Get a CDL Practice Test in Georgia?
Students can get a CDL practice test at all DDS testing facilities and other third-party DDS-approved testing sites.