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What are the requirements to obtain a CDL in Tennessee?

Most Tennesseans at least see a semi-truck every day if they do not drive next to them. These massive vehicles play an important role in our society, yet they also pose a significant threat, as the extreme weight of these trucks compared to other vehicles on the road is astounding. What could otherwise be a relatively minor accident between two cars can turn into a devastating, fatal truck crash when a big rig is involved. Therefore, it is imperative that truck drivers are properly qualified before hitting the road, helping ensure that all of Tennessee's motorists are safe.

One way the state of Tennessee attempts to keep our highways safe from dangerous truck drivers is through the licensing procedures. Those wanting to drive a commercial truck must obtain a Commercial Driver's License, which requires a somewhat rigorous process. Applicants must go through a driver history check, a written test and a driving test. Those seeking a CDL also must show that they can properly inspect a semi-truck and tell an examiner why and how they would inspect certain elements of the vehicle.

Additionally, those who want an endorsement on their CDL, which allows them to transport certain materials or drive certain types of trucks, may have to go through additional testing. Tanker trucks and those wanting to transport hazardous materials, for example, may be required to go through an additional written tests and perhaps another driving exam.

These measures are important to ensure that the truckers on our state's roads are qualified. Unfortunately, though, not even strenuous testing can prevent all truck accidents. Driver fatigue, improperly maintained trucks and recklessness can cause a tragic truck accident in a matter of moments. When this happens, a victim or the person's family should consider speaking with a Knoxville attorney to discuss legal options.

Source: Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, "Tennessee Commercial Driver's License Manual," accessed on Jan. 8, 2015

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