why is a CDL required?

fedexhatch

Seasoned Expediter
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hello everyone! I strolled into my local tennessee DMV yesterday to take my class C CDL test and was told I had to take the hasmat also. the lady told me more the once I didn't need a CDL because as a van driver (that didn't seat 15 people or carry 26000 lbs. that a CDL was not required) I assured her the company TOLD me I had to have one.:confused:
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
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hello everyone! I strolled into my local tennessee DMV yesterday to take my class C CDL test and was told I had to take the hasmat also. the lady told me more the once I didn't need a CDL because as a van driver (that didn't seat 15 people or carry 26000 lbs. that a CDL was not required) I assured her the company TOLD me I had to have one.:confused:

You need a CDL to carry hazmat....and more importantly your carrier says so...and that is the way it is...
 

fedexhatch

Seasoned Expediter
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I understand the hasmat but why do they want to tell me you DONT need a CDL? If and I quote! your not hauling 26000lbs or hauling 15 passangers!
 

OntarioVanMan

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I understand the hasmat but why do they want to tell me you DONT need a CDL? If and I quote! your not hauling 26000lbs or hauling 15 passangers!

Cargo vans LEGALLY don't need a CDL...BUT some carriers WANT you to have one...it is a carrier requirement...
 

fedexhatch

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thanks OVM she almost became hot because I kept telling her the company requires it. she kept pointing in the book saying NO YOU DONT! she might have been just having a bad day!:)
 

OntarioVanMan

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thanks OVM she almost became hot because I kept telling her the company requires it. she kept pointing in the book saying NO YOU DONT! she might have been just having a bad day!:)

I can understand...it is ridiculous demand for a carrier to demand a CDL, the extra money it costs YOU not them...
 

chefdennis

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Not ALL carriers requre it because not all companies carry hazmat...again the 2 companies you mentioned do....most don't....:rolleyes:

Again, the biggest isn't always the best... does not hauling Hazmat limit your income,,,yea if the carrier you sign with haulers it, if they don't, then no.....more then a few have done just fine not having a CDL or hauling Hazmat.....
 

Turtle

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Retired Expediter
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OK, a couple of things. There is no such thing as a Class C CDL without some kind of endorsement. If it doesn't have an endorsement, then it's just a regular operator's license and not a CDL.

You can get a Class A CDL with no endorsements. You can get a Class B CDL with no endorsements.

You cannot get a Class C CDL with no endorsements.

Panther requires their van drivers to have a CDL. Doesn't matter to them what kind, be it Class A, Class B, or Class C. But if it's a Class C, then you have to have an endorsement, either a Passenger or HAZMAT endorsement, either one is fine, Panther doesn't care.

The reason they don't care is, when leased on with Panther in a cargo van, you will not be hauling more than 15 passengers (or 9 passengers for hire), or HAZMAT. So they could care less which endorsement you have. Or you could have a Class A or a Class B with no endorsements at all.

If you want to drive for Panther with a Class C, and you want to get a Passenger endorsement rather than the HAZMAT endorsement, that's fine, but you will have to take the road test in a passenger van, not a cargo van.

In expediting, and with Panther in particular, the most common type of Class C CDL is the one with a HAZMAT endorsement. Panther requiring a cargo van driver to have a CDL may seem on the surface to be a little retarded, but it's not just on the surface, it's deep-down retarded, since they require you to have an endorsement that you cannot use, that they will not let you use, under any circumstances.

OK, sure, studying for, taking and passing the CDL test, and studying for, taking and passing the HAZMAT endorsement test, will make you a better educated and better informed driver. And in theory this will promote drivers being safer and more professional. That's the theory, anyway.

But, Panther will not put HAZMAT on a van. One reason they won't is because when you are hauling HAZMAT, you are a driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle, with all the rights and privileges thereof, including having to scale and properly log your hours of service.

Requiring cargo van drivers to log and scale on a very irregular basis (only when placarded) is setting the stage for disaster, as there will be many errors in filling out the log books, each and every one of them counting against the carrier. It would require a great deal of time during orientation and thereafter on an ongoing basis to keep cargo van drivers educated on how to properly fill out a log book, to know how to deal with HoS restriction while driving, as well as all of the other rules and regulations so as to allow van drivers to at least be able to pretend to be a CMV driver.

Considering the insane turnover ratio of van drivers, a lot of time and effort in this type of education would be wasted. Rather than risk getting a DOT violation for the inevitable mistakes of part-time loggers who are largely morons in the first place, Panther simply sticks all HAZMAT on HAZMAT-endorsed straight or big trucks, since they log all loads all the time.
 

dotcommark

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Awesome explanation Turtle. Once again members step up with a clear and concise explanation for us Newbies!
 

fedexhatch

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yes! it was great! thanks Turtle! you touched on something, why is there such a turnover of drivers? to many drivers or to much time away from familys? whats the biggest pitfall? thanks again!:)
 

pjjjjj

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I can understand...it is ridiculous demand for a carrier to demand a CDL, the extra money it costs YOU not them...

Let me know if I'm mistaken, but I believe that having a CDL also allows the carrier to include the van drivers in their alcohol/drug testing program, and a medical form completed to a certain health standard. Someone that isn't required to have a CDL could perhaps slide by some of the medical requirements that CDL holders must abide by. That makes the CDL a vehicle for weeding out certain people, even if it may not legally be required.
 

Brisco

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OK, a couple of things. There is no such thing as a Class C CDL without some kind of endorsement. If it doesn't have an endorsement, then it's just a regular operator's license and not a CDL.

You can get a Class A CDL with no endorsements. You can get a Class B CDL with no endorsements.

You cannot get a Class C CDL with no endorsements.

For the most part what you said in the rest of this post(quoted above) is probably correct and dead-on. (Panthers reasoning on not putting HazMat on CV's)

But, you are incorrect in stating that one cannot get a Class "C" CDL with "No Endorsements".

I am sitting here with my TEXAS license in my hand looking over it. Top of license is TEXAS in red lettering. Under that is says "DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY", and then under that it says "COMMERCIAL DRIVER LICENSE" in brown lettering. I have a Class C CDL, clearly states CDL where it says "CLASS: C" then space space space space CDL up below the Texas Flag on top left corner. Below that is my "D.O.B:", below that is "EXPIRES:" Date, Below that is "REST:" which is your "Restrictions" which shows the letter "L". Now below that is "END:" which where they place your "Endorsements". It is blank after "END:", No Endorsements listed.

Now, flip license over and under the bold RESTRICTIONS lettering it says L - Vehicles without airbrakes.

Below that is says ENDORSEMENTS in bold lettering and under ENDORSEMENTS it says "No Endorsements".

I have delivered RV's all over the country and General Automotive Freight amongst 4-5 states with 1 ton Duallys and 20-24 ft Cargo Trailers staying under 26K (for the the most part;) ) for almost 10 years with this Class of "CDL" C. All it took to get this "C" CDL with no Endorsements was 2-3 hours looking over the CDL Manual from the State and a 10 minute test at the DMV. Of Course, I've studied and learned more about DOT and FMSCA rules and regs than most know here since I obtained this license so I am very knowledeable when it comes to running in a capacity "above" what I am legally able to run with this license.

To say someone cannot obtain a Class C CDL with No Endorsements is wrong. Maybe in some states you can't, but in Texas you can.
 

Dakota

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yes! it was great! thanks Turtle! you touched on something, why is there such a turnover of drivers? to many drivers or to much time away from familys? whats the biggest pitfall? thanks again!:)

Some people can't stand being by themselves for weeks at a time.
Some people with children it's the fact of not being home that often.
Some people start off underfunded and go broke.
Some people retire
Some people were lied to on earnings and after running for a year decide it's not enough for them
Some people leave for another company where "the grass is greener" This happens alot in trucking. That is why you see advertisments on the back of every truck and all those free magazines at truck stops
 

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Retired Expediter
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yes! it was great! thanks Turtle! you touched on something, why is there such a turnover of drivers? to many drivers or to much time away from familys? whats the biggest pitfall? thanks again!:)
It's a complex issue. There's a high turnover ratio in general trucking, especially OTR trucking, largely for the reasons you've touched on, too much time away from home and family, and having to deal with home problems while out on the road. With LTL the turnover isn't nearly as bad, since a large percentage of those guys (and gals, sheesh) get home more often and more regularly.

In expediting, part of it is incorrect expectations of drivers, who get into the business thinking they'll make easy money, and they quickly find out otherwise. This is particularly true of someone who enters expediting from general trucking, who is used to running pretty much 10 hours a day, every day, and they cannot handle the sitting and the irregular income. But it's also true of former UAW workers who see expediters come and go all day long, thinking it's easy money, never considering there's a reason why a bazillion auto workers are out of a job.

Another big factor, especially in cargo vans, and especially at Panther, is Panther more than maybe any other carrier actively seeks out and caters to fleet owners, rather than individual owner/operators who drive their own vehicle. Simply put, Panther is fleet owner oriented, not driver oriented, despite what some in Seville will tell you. Actions, not words, tell the tale. They do this because it's far easier and more efficient for them to deal with a single fleet owner who's job it is to populate his trucks, than it would be to deal with an equal number of individual owners. So, you have a very large percentage of van drivers out there operating a vehicle they have no vested interest in.

This immediately puts the focus of the driver onto "what's in it for me?" when they see a load offer. They're splitting the line haul 60/40. A 150 mile load pays, say, 77 cents per mile, $115.50 (not including FSC), which is split $69.30 for the driver (assuming he's getting the 60% plus FSC) and then $46.20 goes to the owner. You then deliver the load and are sitting there at #12 on a 4-a-day board, and it's gonna be another couple of days before you get your next load, and it could very well be another 150 mile barn burner. Sooo, short loads get turned down. Many drivers won't even consider anything less than 300 miles. But if they turn down too many loads, their Acceptance Rate drops below 67% and they won't get any more load offers unless dispatch has no other choice. Or, they start taking anything their offered, because they need lunch money, since they've been running nothing but short runs and have been sitting a day or two between each run. Drivers of fleet-owned vans more often than not get about 900 miles, or less, per week. This is the ideal formula for extreme frustration and failure, resulting in driver turnover that's through the roof.

If you own the van you're driving, you get all of that $115.50, and in many cases makes that load doable and profitable. Not great, to be sure, but at least you're not losing money on the load. 250 and 300 mile loads, not to mention 800 mile loads, become extremely profitable if you own the van. If you are driving for a fleet owner, not so much.

This past week I ran 2930 loaded miles, with 318 miles deadhead (9.79% deadhead on 3248 total miles driven). Including FSC, that's $2649.33, which is 81 cents a mile all miles, which is pretty good in a van, even though a couple of the longer loads were only 12 cents for FSC. The fuel cost in a Sprinter is about 15 cents, but most fleet vans are more like 20 cents, maybe more. The FSC on these miles totaled $393.23. In a Sprinter at 15 cents fuel cost per mile (.15 X 3248) the fuel cost was $487.20, which means $93.79 came out of line haul to cover fuel. So not including any other costs, after fuel my take for those miles comes to $2162.31.

In a fleet van where the fuel cost is 20 cents per mile, the cost would be $649.60, less the $393.23 for paid FSC is $256.37 coming out of line haul to pay the balance in fuel cost. 2930 X .77 = $2256.10, times 60% is $1353.66, less the $256.37 yields the driver $1097.29.

$1097.29 is nothing to sneeze at, but it ain't $2162.31, either. Plus, 2930 loaded miles is rare for most owner/operators, and way more rare than that for drivers of fleet vans. The reality is half of that, or more often, less than half of that. Most get between 900 and 1200 miles a week, I'm serious, and many are thrilled with 900.

It doesn't take very long for a driver of a fleet van to see that they are putting in an awful lot of time and effort for very little money in return.

To further compound the problems, most fleet vans are not outfitted for comfort. Many van fleet owners cannot see the long term benefit of making their vans comfortable, because most of them have a history of high driver turnover and too much wear, tear and reckless damage done to their vans by drivers with no vested interest in the vehicle. The vans are thus rather spartan when it comes to creature comforts, most are not even insulated, and the drivers end up being uncomfortable and miserable, always in a foul mood, clinically depressed, want to go home every weekend, and are getting paid squat for it all. Yay.

Pretty soon they start to envy Walmart greeters, but question their own ability to handle a job as complex as that.
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Let me know if I'm mistaken, but I believe that having a CDL also allows the carrier to include the van drivers in their alcohol/drug testing program, and a medical form completed to a certain health standard. Someone that isn't required to have a CDL could perhaps slide by some of the medical requirements that CDL holders must abide by. That makes the CDL a vehicle for weeding out certain people, even if it may not legally be required.

E-1 does NOT require a CDL for van drivers, BUT Company policy dictates we get the same DOT physical as a CDL.
 

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Retired Expediter
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To say someone cannot obtain a Class C CDL with No Endorsements is wrong. Maybe in some states you can't, but in Texas you can.
I don't doubt what you are saying, but according the DOT regulations, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, you can't.

From the Texas Department of Safety, Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Handbook:
CLASS A:
Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle or vehicles towed exceeds 10,000 pounds;
CLASS B:
Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, any one of those vehicles towing a vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, and any vehicle designed to transport 24 passengers or more, including the driver; and a Class B license will be restricted to operating busses under 26,001 pounds GVWR if the skills test is taken in a bus with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds; and
CLASS C:
Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that is not a Class A or Class B if the vehicle is:​
1) designed to transport 16 to 23 passengers including the driver; or

2) designed to transport 9 passengers including the driver for compensation; or

3) used in the transportation of hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded under 49 CFR, Part 172, Subpart F.

Bold emphasis mine.

Under Class C above, 1, 2 and 3 all require applicable endorsements. If the vehicle or combination of vehicles do not fit the criteria for a Class C, then a Class C CDL should not be issued, any more than a Class B or Class A CDL would be issued if a vehicle does not meet the criteria for Class B or Class A vehicles. So I dunno.

All I know is what I've read at the FMSCA Web site, and Web sites of several states including Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Utah, New Jersey and New York, which all pretty much mirror the DOT's regulations, especially since any states that issue an interstate CDL must comply with the DOT's national regulations and standards for CDL's, and the fact that since Panther requires a CDL for cargo vans, the question of obtaining a Class C CDL for a cargo van without an endorsement comes up a lot, lot, lot, and the answer is always the same, even for van drivers out of Texas, of which the answer is that a Class C CDL without an endorsement doesn't exit.

It's pretty kewl that you've got one, tho. But I wouldn't recommend thoroughly questioning the clerk at the Texas Driver License office when it comes time for renewal. It's like, HAZMAT endorsements are supposed to be renewed every two years, but I have a four year expiration on my CDL and HAZMAT endorsement.
 

fedexhatch

Seasoned Expediter
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thanks everyone! I dont know about texas but tennessee will NOT give you a CDL class C without hasmat. Panther is starting to bum me out. not hearing alot of positive things. Im not a fleet and never will be. just me and my chevy 2500:)
 
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