In order to become a truck driver, you will need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). In the process of earning this license, you will need to take a written test and a skills test. After passing the written exam, you will earn your commercial learner’s permit, also called a CLP or CDL permit. This is an important step to starting a career in the trucking industry.
More information about CLPs:
When Do You Earn Your Commercial Learner’s Permit?
After you pass the written portion of the CDL exam, you will earn your CLP. In order to pass, you must answer 80% of the questions on the general knowledge test correctly. This exam covers material related to basic commercial vehicle safety and operation. You can take additional tests if you wish to earn endorsements and there is also a section about air brakes that you will need to pass to remove this restriction.
What Do You Need to Get a CLP?
In New Mexico, you will need to provide the following documents to obtain your commercial learner’s permit:
- Proof of identity and citizenship or lawful permanent residence
- Social security card
- Medical certification from a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, which can be stored electronically or as a hard copy
- Two verifiable proofs of physical residency in New Mexico (bank statement, lease agreement, utility bill, mortgage documents, etc.)
- A valid New Mexico driver’s license
What Can You Do With a CDL Permit?
A commercial learner’s permit allows you to operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roadways as long as there is a CDL holder in the passenger seat. This person must be licensed for the specific type of vehicle you are driving. This is important so you can get on-the-road experience before you take your CDL skills test.
How Long is a CLP Good For?
A commercial learner’s permit is valid for 180 days. If you have not earned your CDL by this time, you may need to retake the written test to renew your permit.
How Do You Earn Your CDL?
After obtaining your CLP, you will need to wait at least 14 days to take your CDL skills test. This will include assessments of your ability to complete a pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control skills, and on-the-road driving. If you pass all of these portions of the exam, you will need to provide your skills test scores, driver’s license, and commercial learner’s permit to the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) in order to receive your CDL.
The Value of CDL Training
While it is possible to study for the written CDL test on your own, it can be difficult to get the supervision and support you need to practice driving with your commercial learner’s permit. Attending truck driving school allows you to learn from experienced instructors, in addition to giving you access to resources such as job placement assistance.