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Do You Have What it Takes?

To qualify for a truck driving job with a company operating in interstate commerce, a driver must meet the minimum requirements prescribed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations guide. Each applicant must pass a knowledge and skills test. In addition to federal regulations, most companies have other rules and guidelines which a driver must follow. Some basic requirements:

AGE: While many states allow those 18 and older to drive trucks within state borders, federal regulations require drivers operating across state lines to be at least 21 years of age. (Please note that most interstate fleets do require over-the-road drivers to be at least 25 years of age.)

LICENSE: Every truck driver must have a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) issued by his/her state of domicile. A commercial driver can hold a license from only one state. Specific endorsements (i.e.: hazardous materials, tank, double or triple trailer) may be required depending upon the company’s needs and the type of equipment you will be operating. Go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov for information.

PHYSICAL CONDITION: The U.S. Department of Transportation requires a driver to have a complete physical examination every two years. A driver must not have suffered any loss of a limb, nor have any physical defect or disease likely to interfere with safe driving, or has been granted a skill performance evaluation certificate. A driver must not have a medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes that requires insulin for control.

VISION: A driver must have a minimum of 20/40 vision in each eye, with or without corrective lenses, and have a 70 degree field of vision in each eye. Drivers may not be color blind.

HEARING: A driver must be capable of perceiving a forced whisper in the better ear at not less than five feet, with or without the use of a hearing aid.

EDUCATION: All drivers must be able to read and speak English well enough to understand traffic signs, prepare required reports, and speak with law enforcement authorities and the public. (Note: Some companies may have additional educational requirements.)

SAFETY: The U.S. Department of Transportation sets safety rules for interstate truck drivers (vehicle inspections, hours of service, etc.), and drivers must learn these rules and comply with them. Most states have adopted similar rules for intrastate drivers.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Strict regulations forbid the use of alcohol or drugs prior to or while operating commercial vehicles. Drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing by their employers and by law enforcement officials under four different circumstances: pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion and random testing. A driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) must be no greater than 0.04 percent. Additionally, a driver must have no current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism, and must not use any illegal drugs.

CRIMINAL / DRIVING RECORD: A driver must not have been convicted of a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle; a crime involving drugs; driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or, hit-and-run driving which resulted in injury or death.