Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act, no person is allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle  unless such person has taken and passed knowledge and driving skills tests for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

To obtain a CDL, all drivers must have knowledge of the following 20 general areas:

1.       Safe operations regulations

2.       Safe vehicle control systems

3.       Commercial vehicle safety control systems

4.       Basic control

5.       Shifting

6.       Backing

7.       Visual search

8.       Communication

9.       Speed management

10.   Space management

11.   Night operation

12.   Extreme driving conditions

13.   Hazard perceptions

14.   Emergency maneuvers

15.   Skid control and recovery

16.   Relationship of cargo to vehicle control

17.   Vehicle inspections

18.   Hazardous materials

19.   Mountain driving

20.   Fatigue and awareness

A State must provide a FMCSA pre-approved driver information manual to a CDL applicant.  States must use the FMCSA pre-approved pool of test questions.  Each knowledge test must be valid and reliable so as to ensure that driver applicants possess the knowledge under the regulations.

To achieve a passing score on each of the knowledge tests, a driver applicant must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions.   To achieve a passing score on each segment of the skills test, the driver applicant must demonstrate that he/she can successfully perform all the skills set forth by the regulations.