Florida has a thriving truck driving the industry. Based on a report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck driving jobs in Florida will increase by 26 percent during the next decade.
Florida’s metro areas are densely packed, freight moves throughout the state thanks to its extensive port system, and the tourism industry regularly brings in tons of customers.
Truck driving schools are available throughout Florida to train prospective drivers for careers as heavy or light truck drivers. These jobs often require commercial driver’s license (CDL) certification. In other words, you need to have a CDL to operate a commercial truck, bus, or van on public roadways.
In this article, you will go over what it takes to become a truck driver and what you can expect from the training programs provided by accredited truck driving schools in Florida and training centers.
What is a CDL, and Why Do You Need One?
In Florida, truck drivers, bus drivers, and other commercial vehicle operators need to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) before operating their commercial vehicles legally.
It includes school buses, large trucks transporting goods across the country, box trucks that deliver packages in the cities, and tour buses.
To drive these larger vehicles, professional drivers need a CDL different from a regular driver’s license. Other types of trucks and automobiles do not require this particular certification.
What to Expect from Florida Truck Driving Schools?
Most truck driving schools in Florida are certified by the (FMCSA) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to grant Class A, B, or C CDL licenses. Some may also offer training for a Non-Commercial Driver’s License.
To fully comply with the FMCSA standards, these schools must meet state and federal requirements outlined in Florida Statutes. It includes rules about student records, course completion, instructor qualifications, and equipment used for training.
In some cases, Florida’s truck driving schools may be accredited by a national or state-approved certifying body. These organizations provide accreditation for programs that conform to a specific industry standard or set of standards.
Some examples include the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), the Council on Occupational Education (COE), the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
All Truck Driving Schools in Florida must comply with CDL requirements established by the FMCSA.
Specific rule sets deal with student records, course completion, instructor qualifications, and equipment used for training.
Length of Training Programs
Generally speaking, truck driving schools in Florida must have a minimum length of 200 clock hours or 40 classroom hours.
It applies to CDL training provided by state-certified schools and other types of commercial driver training.
Each state sets a minimum number of hours required for its CDL training programs. In addition, there are national guidelines set out by the FMCSA, which your instructor will also cover during the classroom portion of your education.
It includes covering specific topics such as those listed below:
– Providing instruction on air brakes and how to drive trucks with this feature.
– Instructing students on how to drive trucks equipped with hydraulic or other types of automatic transmissions.
– Providing instruction about the proper way to drive big rigs that have manual transmissions.
– Covering truck and motorcoach mirrors, instruments, gauges, and other features.
– What to do in the case of an accident.
– How to maintain space awareness while driving.
– Instructing students on how to handle tractor trailers when making turns.
What Skills Do You Learn?
The main objective of commercial driver training is to prepare drivers for safe operations behind the wheel. Students who attend Florida truck driving schools will learn skills designed to improve their abilities in various situations.
It may include learning the rules and laws about driving large trucks, minimizing blind spots, practicing defensive driving skills, and safely backing up using a trailer. During instruction, students may also learn how to:
– Signaling properly when performing lane changes and other maneuvers.
– Operating a tractor-trailer equipped with air brakes.
– Properly backing up a rig without risking damage to it or other objects.
– How to properly hook and unhook trailers from tractors and how to connect them.
– The proper way to drive is using different types of routes, including those that require left and right turns across traffic.
– Properly maneuvering through traffic and merging into highway lanes.
How Long is Training?
The length of your commercial driver training course will vary depending on the school you attend. Generally speaking, students can expect their program to last about six weeks.
It includes approximately 200 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training.