If you want to become a truck or school bus driver in Minnesota, you must fulfill a series of requirements. Commercial drivers license (CDL) applicants must meet minimum age requirements and pass a background check and medical examination. CDL applicants will need to pass tests on all aspects of commercial driving before receiving access to the open road.
An applicant in Minnesota must be at least 16 years old to obtain a CDL with restrictions. Hazardous material transportation requires the applicants at least 21 years of age. School bus drivers must be 18, and interstate CDL drivers must be at least 21 years of age.
Minnesota commercial drivers must be physically fit to drive; therefore, a driver must pass a U.S. Department of Transportation physical exam. The medical examination certificate issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation must remain on the driver's person when driving a commercial vehicle.
Professional Truck Driver Institute Standards
Minnesota CDL applicants must adhere to the minimum standards as defined by the Professional Truck Driver Institute. Minimum standards include vehicle inspection knowledge, coupling and uncoupling tractor trailers, and driving in different weather conditions.
The Patriot Act requires that all commercial drivers, regardless of state, undergo a background check and be fingerprinted to transport hazardous materials. The Transportation Security Administration conducts the background checks for all commercial drivers. The background check aims to protect citizens from terrorist actions involving hazardous materials.
Minnesota has three CDL classes based on the type of vehicle driven. A Class A CDL allows a driver to tow a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 10,000 lbs. or more, or any combination of trailers and vehicles weighing more than 26,000 lbs. Drivers with a Class B license may drive a single-unit vehicle with a GVW of 26,000 lbs. Drivers possessing a Class C CDL may drive a single-unit vehicle weighing less than 26,000 lbs. with a hazardous material endorsement. A school bus driver must have a passenger endorsement to transport students.
Minnesota application fees vary based on the CDL class and endorsements. As of 2010, Class A licenses cost $23 for applicants under the age of 21 and $43 for all other applicants. A Class B license costs $35 regardless of age. Class C licenses cost $28 with no regard to the age of the applicant. Original and renewal license fees for school bus drivers cost $4, and each endorsement examination costs $2.50.
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