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A commercial driver's license (CDL) allows you to drive vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds or trailers weighing more than 10,000 pounds. It also is needed for driving buses with 16 people or more aboard, and certain hazardous materials.
You must be 21 to transport goods between states with a CDL. To get the license, you must pass a knowledge test and a driving test, and meet minimum medical requirements. The tests are specific to the type of vehicle being driven, and there are additional tests for drivers of school buses and those transporting hazardous materials. The hazardous materials endorsement (HME) also requires a background check under the Patriot Act.
CDL testing is administered state by state, and the rules vary slightly depending where you take the test. Many states make the CDL study booklets available free on their Web sites.