Risk 3, Driving A CDL Vehicle Without A CDL

This one is pretty simple.

But the first thing you need to know is what a CDL vehicle is.

Good thing we covered that earlier!

Here’s the thing.  If you have a driver operating a semi-truck hauling a heavy load without a CDL, you are going to get caught. And when you do it is going to cost you, A LOT!

In upwards of $50K per driver.  Because not only are you going to get cited for allowing a driver to operate a CDL vehicle without a CDL (total fine of about $2800), they are going to get you for not having DQ files (ranging between $6,500 and $65,000 depending on how long the driver has been working for you.), not having an FMCSA approved drug testing program in place ($5,800-28,700 depending on few variables), and a few other citations.

On the other hand, if you have a driver operating a pickup pulling a trailer that crosses over the 26Klbs mark then depending on the officer it will only be a slap on the wrist.

The financial risk of a ticket all depends on the type of vehicle being operated.

On the other hand, if your driver is in an accident while operating any CDL vehicle, open up your checkbook because you just lost the lawsuit if there is one. And your insurance will most likely not cover it because you were not playing by the rules.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if the driver is in an accident and charges are brought against the driver, then you could be charged as an accomplice to those same crimes. Simply because you knew they didn’t have a CDL and you requested that they operate a CDL vehicle for you.

That means that even if the driver gets out of the charge, the owner might have to go to court to fight the same battle. That leads to legal fees and the potential of serving time in a federal prison.

So your personal risk is extremely high to allow someone to operate a CDL vehicle without a CDL for your company.

Financial Risk for an audit: Moderate to High depending on the truck the driver is operating

Financial Risk in litigation: High to Extreme

Personal Risk: Extreme what’s more than Extreme????

How To Fix Risk 3, Driving A CDL Vehicle Without A CDL

The only real way to mitigate operating a CDL vehicle without a CDL is to make sure that if anyone is operating a vehicle with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) over 26K lbs or is hauling a placardable amount of Hazardous Materials, or are operating a passenger vehicle that is equipped to carry more than 15 passengers including the driver that they have a CDL.

Some examples of CDL vehicles that you might not think to require a CDL.

a ¾ ton pickup with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs pulling any trailer with a GVWR over 16,000lbs that is being used for business would require a Class A CDL.

A 1-ton dually with a GVWR of 14,000lbs pulling any trailer that has a GVWR over 12,000lbs that is being used for ANY type of venture where you try to make money would require a Class A CDL

A Volkswagen beetle that is hauling explosives would require a Class C CDL with a hazmat endorsement.

Are you picking up what I’m laying down here?

I could go on and on forever with vehicles that would require a CDL. These are just the ones that we see daily where people are getting caught without a CDL.

What does it take to get a CDL?


Well, it’s pretty simple.

Maybe not as simple as it used to be, but don’t worry here at Eclipse DOT we have you covered.

Back in February of 2022 the ELDT (Entry Level Driver Training) rule took effect. What this rule says is that anyone who wants to get their CDL, Upgrade their CDL, or get specific endorsements like school bus, passenger or hazmat will need to go through training that is approved by FMCSA.

Sounds a little complicated I know, but we have found a way to simplify it.

Here is what you need to do to get your CDL now.

First, you go to a DR and get your DOT medical physical.

Next, you go to the DMV and take the written test.

Before you do that I would study a little though. These tests are not common sense.

A couple of ways to study would be to simply google “CDL Handbook (your state)” and then find a website that ends in .gov.

That’s the hard way to do it.

Since we like the EASY Button so much we created an easy way to help you.  All you have to do is sign up for our CDL prep course which is dual purpose.  It covers all of what’s required for the ELDT regulations for the in-class or as they call it theory portion of the requirement.

Our course “kills 2 birds with one stone” after you get finished with it then you are ready to go to the DMV and take your written tests!

After you get your permit the next step is to give us a call at 970-749-9449 to get scheduled for the second part of your ELDT training and Skills Test.

Most places are offering 4-8 week courses. What that means is that you have to go to a class for 4 weeks.

Can you afford to lose 4 weeks of pay? If you’re a company can you afford to pay your guy for 4 weeks to go to school? Plus the cost of the school?

We didn’t think so.

That’s why we created an Easy Button for ELDT too!

We have 2 options.

Option 1 is to reach out to me personally and I will work up an estimate to come to you, use your vehicle, and get the training done Quick Fast and in a hurry. 

One thing to keep in mind with this option is that the more people you have that need the ELDT the more affordable it is. Because we make custom estimates for every situation and have to take into account our travel costs.

The second thing to remember with this option is that we can administer the actual skills test.  We can only administer those in the state of Colorado. We can test anyone from any state but the test has to be done on Colorado soil.

Option 2 is that you come to Beautiful Durango, Colorado for your CDL training. If you don’t know where it is google it. We have a nice airport and tons of great things year-round to check out while you are here.

With option 2 there are a couple of different options. First, you can use your own truck and trailer to save you money, or you can rent ours for a fee. When you rent ours it is called “wet” which means that fuel is included.

For us, it doesn’t matter either way, bring your own truck if you have access to one, or rent ours.

After you pass the skills test with one of our Federal accredited testers, you simply go to the DMV, let them know you trained and tested in Colorado and passed your skills test, and get your CDL.

No, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a Colorado CDL. We can administer the test for drivers in any state, we just have to administer the test on Colorado Soil.

We have trained and tested people from across the nation. Some of the states include: California, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, and Florida, just to name a few.

The next question I get ALL the time is, HOW long will the ELDT take?

Well, that all depends on how much experience you have.

If you are taking your test in a pickup pulling a trailer and can back a trailer, then I’m guessing we can knock the training out in 1 day and then you test a few days later. The test takes about 2 hours.

If you have been driving with your company for a while and can shift no problem then we can get you through it in 1-2 days as well.

On the other hand, if you have never seen the inside of a truck and want to get your CDL we can help with that too!

That option is a short 5-day course.

You are probably asking, “how can they do it in 5 days when everyone else takes 4-8 weeks?”

The answer is that we have spent over a decade perfecting the process.

When I first started out I would take on a group of 4 people for 5 weeks. And we would spend 8 hours a day together. 

The first week was all in the classroom. Then we would spend the next 4 weeks out on the road.

Then I noticed that there was a REAL need for quick solutions. So we changed the way we do it.

Now we take on 1-2 people for 5 days and we split it up between 2 -4 weeks.

What that means for you is that you can still hold down a full-time job and get your CDL at the same time.

If you are a company then you can send a guy one day a week for 4 weeks and they can get their CDL. That way you don’t lose them for 4 whole weeks. Just one day a week!

I know it’s crazy that no one else has thought to do this in our industry, right?????

If you are interested in our EAZY Button ELDT program, reach out today. 970-749-9449 or CDL@eclipse-dot.com

We have an online on-demand course for endorsements that only require theory training.

You can find those on our website www.eclipse-dot.com/training

We can’t wait to help you get your CDL.

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