Different Types of CMVs

After you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), there are many different types of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that you might drive during your career.  Knowing the many varieties of vehicles that you could encounter can help you find your niche as a trucker. It’s also important to know if any additional license requirements apply for the CMV you wish to drive.

Here are some of the different types of CMVs:

A semi-truck, one of the most common types of CMVs


The first vehicle that many people envision when they think of CDLs is a semi-truck. You may also hear the terms tractor-trailer, big rig, 18-wheeler, or semi-trailer. All of these refer to a tractor unit (the front part of the truck) with an attached trailer. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), semi-trucks transport 71.4% of freight in the United States. The first tractor-trailer was invented in 1898 and these vehicles have become more advanced over the years. They are an essential part of the supply chain and the nation would not be able to function without them.

The most basic type of semi-truck is a dry van, which has a trailer that hauls materials that do not have any special requirements. This can include many different types of cargo.

In addition to a basic tractor-trailer, there are types of semi-trucks that have different attachments:

A CDL truck driver setting the temperature for a reefer truck

Refrigerated Truck

Refrigerated trucks, also called reefers, have the same basic structure as a dry van tractor-trailer. The difference is that the trailer portion is refrigerated.

A long combination vehicle (LCV) with a triple trailer

Long Combination Vehicle

A long combination vehicle (LCV) is a semi-truck with more than one trailer attached to the tractor. These vehicles require the doubles/triples endorsement as there are additional factors to keep in mind when operating this type of truck.

A tanker truck, a type of CMV that requires an additional endorsement


Tankers are a specific type of semi-trucks. They have a front truck portion with a tank attached in place of the traditional trailer you see on most big rigs. This tank can transport liquids, gases, or dry bulk. If the tanker truck is hauling a fluid, the driver will need a tanker endorsement on their CDL. In many cases, a hazardous materials (hazmat) endorsement is also necessary, depending on the specific type of freight.

A flatbed truck, a type of semi-trucks/CMVs with a flat platform

Flatbed Truck

A flatbed semi-truck has a flat platform attached to a tractor. Freight can be secured on this bed and these types of CMVs are often used to transport oddly-shaped or large cargo.

CMVs Besides Semi-Trucks

After earning your CDL, you can drive other types of vehicles beyond semi-trucks.

Some examples include:

Two white box trucks, also called straight trucks

Straight Truck/Box Truck

Straight trucks, also known as box trucks, may look similar to semi-trucks at first glance. The difference is that the trailer is attached directly to the truck without a fifth-wheel connection. This means the trailer cannot be removed. These are commonly used for local deliveries.

A dump truck, one of the CMVs that can be used on a construction site with a CDL

Dump Truck

Dump trucks typically require a CDL to operate. Additionally, other types of heavy vehicles used on a construction site may or may not require a commercial license, depending on the specific circumstances. As a result, some CDL holders choose to work as highway maintenance technicians or other similar jobs. Some heavy equipment is transported to a worksite via a flatbed truck, so this is another reason having your CDL can be beneficial for this career.

Earn Your CDL

If you are interested in driving any of these types of CMVs, contact Phoenix Truck Driving School today.

What You Need to Drive a Fuel Truck

Semi-trucks are absolutely essential to our nation’s economy and transport a wide variety of goods and materials. One example is gasoline. Without trucks, gas stations in the United States would exhaust their supply within 2-3 days. Because of high demand and the additional responsibilities involved with transporting gasoline, driving a fuel truck can be a high-paying career.

Here is what you will typically need to operate a fuel tanker:

Commercial Driver’s License

The large trucks that transport gasoline are regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You must have a class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate one. In order to earn your CDL, you will need to pass a written exam as well as a skills test that includes on-the-road driving. Although it is possible to study for the CDL test on your own, attending a truck driving school can help you prepare for your career. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire CDL school graduates.

X Endorsement

To drive a fuel truck, you will need the X endorsement on your CDL. This is not actually one endorsement but is a combination of the tanker and hazmat endorsements.

Tanker Endorsement

The FMCSA requires that any driver who operates a tank vehicle have a tanker (N) endorsement on their CDL. The agency defines a tank vehicle as any commercial motor vehicle that uses one or multiple tanks to transport liquid or gaseous materials. To fit the definition, the tank(s) must have an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons. They also need to have an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more. The tank(s) can be permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle. An empty storage container that is temporarily attached to a flatbed truck does not qualify as a tank vehicle.

Fuel trucks fit these requirements and are considered tank vehicles by the FMCSA. This means that you need your N endorsement to transport gasoline. You earn this by passing the tanker portion of the CDL test. This includes 20-30 questions about safety considerations related to tank trucks.

Hazmat Endorsement

Any substance that has the potential to cause harm to the environment, animals, or humans falls under the definition of hazardous materials (hazmat). There are 9 different classes of hazmat. Gasoline is considered a Class 3 hazardous substance. This category includes flammable liquids. In order to transport gasoline or other types of potentially dangerous materials, you must have the hazmat (H) endorsement.

To earn your H endorsement, you will need to pass the written section of the CDL test that covers information related to safely hauling hazmat. In addition, you will need to undergo a Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) background check.

Earn Your CDL and X Endorsement With Us

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, you can earn your CDL along with hazmat and tanker endorsements. This means you can consider a career hauling gasoline after graduation.

To learn more about how you can start on the road to fuel truck driving, contact us today.