What to Know About Local Trucking

After earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL), there are a variety of different career options available to you. Although over-the-road (OTR) trucking is the most common job for new graduates, this isn’t the only choice you have once you’ve gained some experience. Local trucking is one option that keeps you close to home.

Here’s what you should know about local truck driving:

What Makes Local Trucking Different?

Local trucking is different from OTR and regional jobs because drivers are working in a smaller geographical area. As a result, these truckers will typically return every day or night, and they usually report to the same location at the start of each day.

How to Get a Local Truck Driving Job

Since local driving jobs include daily home time, there is often more competition for these jobs compared to other options within the trucking industry. Additionally, they involve more city driving and frequently require backing into loading docks or customers’ parking lots several times a day. As a result, positions typically require previous driving experience.

If you are interested in a local trucking job, you should expect to spend some time driving OTR and building a safe driving record first. This may not always be necessary, but it is better to be prepared for this prior to getting your license.

Types of Local Trucking

There are various types of local trucking jobs, including:

Pickup & Delivery (P&D)

Less-than-truckload (LTL) freight is a system for hauling freight that does not fill an entire semi-truck. This system has multiple terminals and works using a “hub and spoke” model. Truckers who move freight between terminals are called linehaul drivers, and these jobs are regional. Local drivers are needed for pickup & delivery (P&D), which is the process of picking up freight from customers and bringing it to the nearest terminal as well as delivering freight from the terminal to customers.

Some Delivery Trucks

While P&D driving is one type of delivery, the typical “delivery truck” that people picture brings even smaller shipments to businesses and residences. Some delivery trucks do not require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate, whereas others do. CDL delivery driving jobs are a type of local trucking.

Specialized Transportation

Some specialized types of freight require local transport. Waste transportation is one example, and other industries may also have local trucking jobs associated with them. Depending on the type of material being transported, you may need additional certifications, such as the hazardous materials (hazmat) endorsement.

Earn Your CDL

No matter what type of trucking job you are most interested in, the first step is earning your CDL. Our programs can help you do this in as little as four weeks and all of our schools offer job placement assistance to help you explore your employment options. Many of our students have offers lined up before they graduate.

To learn more about our CDL training programs, contact us today.

Hours of Services Basics for Truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry and sets a variety of requirements that truckers and motor carriers must follow. These include limits on hours of service, also known as HOS. It’s essential for drivers to know these requirements and to stay in compliance with them.

What is the Purpose of HOS Regulations?

The FMCSA sets a cap on driving hours and on-duty hours in order to prevent truck driver fatigue. Driving while tired is dangerous and not only puts yourself at risk but also others on the road. The limits on hours of service are based on research from the FMCSA and are intended to give truck drivers enough time to rest during their hauls.

Hours of Service Limits

The limits on hours of service are as follows for property-carrying drivers:

  • After 10 consecutive hours off duty, truckers may drive for a maximum of 11 hours.
  • After the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, property-carrying drivers must stop driving until they take 10 consecutive hours off duty. Any off-duty time taken during the 14 hours does not extend this window.
  • After driving eight cumulative hours without a 30-minute break, drivers must take such a break. Any non-driving period satisfies the requirements, even if it is on duty.
  • Within 7/8 consecutive days, drivers may drive a maximum of 60/70 hours. This limit only restarts after taking 34 consecutive hours off duty.

The limits on hours of service are as follows for passenger-carrying drivers:

  • After eight consecutive hours off duty, drivers can drive for a maximum of 10 hours.
  • Drivers must stop driving after a maximum of 15 consecutive hours on duty. As is the case with property-carrying drivers, off-duty time does not extend this window.
  • In a period of 7/8 consecutive days, passenger-carrying drivers may drive a maximum of 60/70 hours.

Exemptions and Special Cases

Within these HOS rules, there are some exemptions and special cases to be aware of.

Some of these include:

Short-Haul Drivers

Drivers who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of the location where they normally report to work and who do not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours are exempt from HOS rules.

Sleeper Berth

The required off-duty period (10 hours for property-carrying drivers and eight for passenger-carrying drivers) can be split in certain circumstances.

Property-carrying drivers can split their off-duty period into one period of at least two hours and a separate period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. Any pairing must add up to at least ten hours, and when used together, neither break counts against the 14-hour driving window.

Passenger-carrying drivers who use a sleeper berth can split their time into two separate periods as long as neither is less than two hours and they add up to at least 10 hours.

Adverse Driving Conditions

Both passenger-carrying and property-carrying drivers can extend their driving limit and driving window by up to two hours if there are adverse driving conditions that make it unsafe to stop.

Learn Valuable Trucking Skills

If you are interested in becoming a truck driver, Phoenix Truck Driving School’s programs can help you get started. You can earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks and our instructors will go over a variety of topics, including hours of service regulations.

To learn more about our CDL training in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, contact us today.

Trucking Statistics to Know

Are you looking for a new career? You should consider earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and entering the trucking industry. Demand for truckers is high and you can earn more than $69,480 per year.* If you’d like to learn more about trucking, this article includes some interesting statistics about the industry.

The Importance of Truckers

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) collects economics and industry data related to trucking. These numbers show just how essential truckers are to our nation’s economy. All of the information below comes from data collected in 2020 unless otherwise noted.

Here are some key trucking statistics from the ATA:

  • By weight, semi-trucks transport 72.5% of domestic freight in the United States. This adds up to 10.23 billion tons. Imagine how much of an impact it would have if truckers didn’t transport these shipments!
  • Semi-trucks transport 80.4% of the nation’s freight by value, a total of $732.3 billion in gross freight revenues for primary shipments only.
  • In addition to domestic trade, semi-trucks are involved in trade with Canada and Mexico. Trucks transport 70.9% of freight value between the United States and Canada and 83.8% of freight value between the United States and Mexico.
  • There are 37.9 million registered commercial trucks, excluding those used by farms or the government. This represents 23.9% of all trucks registered. This statistic comes from 2019 data.
  • In 2019, commercial trucks traveled 300.05 billion miles. Combination trucks (including semi-trucks) traveled 175.3 billion miles.

Truck Driver Shortage

The statistics above clearly show why truckers are so important and there aren’t enough drivers to meet growing demand. There are many reasons for this shortage and one of the effects is that motor carriers often compete to offer the best pay and benefits to attract new drivers.

Here are some statistics about the truck driver shortage from the ATA:

  • In 2021, the ATA estimated that the shortage was hitting an all-time high at just over 80,000 drivers, compared to a shortage of 60,800 drivers in 2018. This was in part due to a reduction in the number of drivers who were able to train during the pandemic.
  • In the next decade, the industry will need to hire approximately 110,000 new drivers each year for a total of 1.1 million new drivers.
  • Replacing retiring truckers will continue to be a priority, and this is expected to account for 54% of new hires.
  • Industry growth is expected to lead to approximately 25% of new hires in the trucking industry.

Start Your Trucking Career

If you enjoy the freedom of the open road and are looking for a rewarding new career, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you earn your CDL in as little as four weeks. We have programs in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a truck driver.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $47,130 . The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,480 per year according to 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Health Tips for Truck Drivers

Staying healthy can be a challenge. However, making the effort to develop healthier habits can have a significant positive impact on your life. Truck drivers face unique concerns, but with some effort, it’s definitely possible for truckers to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some health tips for life on the road as a trucker:

1. Prepare Meals Ahead of Time

If you have a mini-fridge in your semi-truck, try preparing healthy meals to take with you. You can make nutritious options at home instead of worrying about whether you’ll be able to find something that fits your diet goals at a truck stop. Plus, you’ll save money in the process.

2. Choose Healthier Options When You Eat Out

Even if you are able to prepare some meals before you hit the road, there will definitely be times when it’s easier to just grab something at a truck stop. Luckily, more and more truck stops have healthy options available.

Keep in mind that making a healthier choice doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods. For example, being mindful of your portion sizes can reduce the calories you consume without feeling too restrictive. This is also more sustainable than changing your whole diet overnight.

3. Drink More Water

Staying hydrated is essential for your health, and it can also help you feel more alert while driving. Keep water with you in your cab and sip on it throughout the day. You should also choose water instead of sugary drinks or coffee as often as you are able to. While other drinks are fine in moderation, they can be high in calories and may also lead to an energy crash later.

4. Find Time for Exercise

Truckers spend most of their time behind the wheel. Even though you’re technically moving all day, it’s a sedentary job for the most part. To help stay active, schedule 15 minutes every day for exercise. This can be as simple as a brisk walk around a truck stop (with your pet, if you have one) or some push-ups in your cab. When you can, try to exercise for a longer amount of time at once. Some truck stops even have gyms that you can use to make this easier.

5. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential for health and for truckers, it’s also essential for your safety. Fatigue can increase your chances of getting into an accident. To avoid this, make an effort to get a full eight hours of sleep every night (or every day, if you are driving at night). Having a routine you follow before bed can make this easier. You can also take naps during shorter breaks to help you stay well-rested.

6. Manage Your Stress

People often forget that health goes beyond just your physical state. Your mental wellbeing can have a profound impact on your life. In addition to focusing on making healthy physical choices, be sure to manage your stress levels. Find methods of relaxation that work for you and use these when you feel overwhelmed.

Earn Your CDL

If you are interested in a trucking career, the first step is earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you get started and you can complete our accelerated program in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about becoming a trucker, contact us today.

What to Know About the Double/Triples Endorsement

Endorsements are additional qualifications that can be added to your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and that allow you to operate different types of vehicles. To earn endorsements, you must pass additional written tests. At our truck driving schools, we help students earn three endorsements: hazardous materials (hazmat), tanker, and doubles/triples.

The doubles/triples endorsement allows you to drive commercial vehicles with more than one trailer attached. These are also known as long combination vehicles or LCVs.

More information about this endorsement:

Benefits of the Doubles/Triples Endorsement

LCVs can transport more cargo, which means motor carriers pay more for drivers who are able to take on these hauls. Even if you don’t think you’ll use this endorsement during your career, it’s still helpful to have it just in case and can set you apart from other applicants when applying to trucking jobs.

Earning the LCV Endorsement

In order to earn your doubles/triples endorsement, you’ll need to pass a written exam with multiple-choice questions. This exam covers material from Section 7 of the CDL manual, which is broken down into subsections. Studying these will help you prepare for the written test.

These subsections are:

Pulling Double/Triple Trailers

This subsection covers some of the major areas of concern to be aware of when pulling two or three trailers. You will need to know how to prevent the trailer from rolling over and must be even more cautious in adverse conditions. Additionally, you will need to be prepared to manage space since LCVs are larger than other commercial vehicles. Parking can also present a challenge and you’ll need to be cautious to make sure you don’t get stuck in a spot that is difficult to leave.

Coupling and Uncoupling

With doubles and triples, it’s essential to know how to couple and uncouple the trailers correctly. This section of the CDL manual includes detailed instructions for coupling and uncoupling twin and triple trailers. You should know these steps and also need to be aware that the manual does not cover every possible trailer combination. When you hit the road, you need to know how to couple and uncouple the trailer you are hauling.

Inspecting Doubles and Triples

Long combination vehicles have more parts to inspect than a standard tractor-trailer. You will need to fully inspect all trailers, as well as the coupling system. The manual has a full list of additional parts to be aware of when inspecting a double or triple trailer.

Doubles/Triples Air Brake Check

You will need to perform an air brake inspection on any vehicle equipped with one of these systems before you hit the road. With an LCV, you will need to perform additional checks to be sure the air goes to all attached trailers. You will also need to test the trailer protection valve, emergency brakes, and service brakes.

Earn Your CDL With Endorsements

If you are interested in starting your trucking career, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help. You can earn your CDL and three endorsements in as little as four weeks with our accelerated programs. We have schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

To learn more about CDL training, contact us today.


All About the New ELDT Requirements

On February 7, 2022, the new entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) went into effect. Any drivers who are earning their Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time, upgrading from a Class B to a Class A, or earning certain endorsements need to complete training that meets these requirements. All of our Phoenix Truck Driving School programs comply with the new regulations and provide you with the training you need to succeed as a trucker.  

Recent ELDT Changes

In order to understand how the ELDT requirements have changed, it’s helpful to compare the new regulations to those that were in place previously. 

Here are some of the updates: 

  • In the past, any institutions that met state-level requirements could offer CDL training. Now, the FMCSA requires programs to be a part of their Training Provider Registry (TPR) in order to offer entry-level CDL training. 
  • Previously, there was not a list of standard topics that students had to learn during training. Under the new ELDT requirements, topics are standardized. 
  • Before the new regulations went into effect, each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was responsible for administering the written CDL test. Now, training institutions must administer these and report scores to the FMCSA. 

What Topics Does CDL Theory Instruction Need to Cover?

Under the new ELDT requirements, there is a list of five categories with various sub-topics for theory instruction. Programs must cover all of these topics and use assessments to determine proficiency. Students must earn an 80% or higher on these assessments. Programs do not need to meet a minimum number of hours for instruction as long as students are able to achieve proficiency in all of the required topics. 

The categories for CDL theory instruction are: 

  • Basic Operations: Students must understand the basics of how to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Sub-topics include control system/dashboard, pre-trip and post-trip inspections, and shifting/operating transmissions. 
  • Safe Operating Procedures: Safety is essential for CDL drivers and training programs must address topics including how to handle extreme conditions, space/speed management, and nighttime driving. 
  • Advanced Operating Practices: This category includes training related to hazard perception, skid control/recovery, and railroad-highway grade crossings. 
  • Vehicle Systems and Reporting Malfunctions: Students will need to know how to identify and diagnose any vehicle malfunctions and will also need to understand vehicle maintenance and roadside inspection requirements. 
  • Non-Driving Activities: Sub-topics in this category including how to handle and document cargo, hours of service (HOS) requirements, and trip planning. 

What Topics Does Behind-the-Wheel Training Need to Cover?

In addition to theory instruction, entry-level training programs must include time behind the wheel, both in a range setting and on public roads. As for theory instruction, there is no minimum for the number of hours, but instructors do need to document total clock hours and cover all necessary topics. 

These topics must be covered in a range setting:

  • Pre-trip, en route, and post-trip inspections
  • Coupling and uncoupling
  • Blind side and sight side parallel parking
  • Alley dock (45 and 90 degrees), straight line, and off-set backing

Additionally, on-the-road training must address: 

  • Vehicle controls including how to make lane changes, turn, and enter/exit highways
  • Speed/space management
  • Hours of service (HOS) regulations
  • Visual search
  • How to drive safely
  • Nighttime driving
  • Shifting/transmission
  • Railroad crossings
  • Communication/signaling
  • Hazard perception
  • Driving in extreme conditions
  • Jackknifing, skid control/recovery, and other emergencies

For topics that cannot be simulated, such as extreme conditions and emergencies, instructors must have two-way conversations with their students. In these conversations, instructors will need to address these situations and how to handle them. 

Earn Your CDL With Phoenix Truck Driving School

At Phoenix Truck Driving School, we are committed to providing high-quality truck driver training. We have programs in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and every one of our institutions meets the new ELDT requirements. We can help you get on the road to a new career in the trucking industry. 

To learn more about our CDL training programs, contact us today. 

What to Know About Owner-Operator Trucking

After earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL), there are a variety of different career paths you can pursue. One long-term goal you may have is to become an owner-operator. This is an individual who owns a semi-truck and either contracts with a motor carrier or operates on their own authority to haul freight. Becoming an owner-operator requires an initial investment and has a higher risk, but it can also be one of the highest-paying options in the trucking industry.

What Do You Need to Be an Owner-Operator?

You could technically purchase a truck any time after earning your CDL and become an owner-operator, but most of these individuals have previous experience as company drivers. There are several reasons for this. For one, it gives you valuable experience and allows you to learn more about the industry. It also gives you time to save up to purchase a truck and create a business plan. Finally, insurance rates are higher for new drivers and since owner-operators have to provide their own insurance, gaining some experience beforehand can save you money.

If you choose to contract with a motor carrier or lease a truck through them, the company will let you know what requirements they have.

If you operate under your own authority, you will need to register with the Department of Transportation (DOT). If you hire other drivers at any point, you may also need workers’ compensation insurance.

Either way, you will need to be fully insured and must know and follow all federal regulations.

Should You Become an Owner-Operator?

By becoming an owner-operator, you are starting your own trucking business. The decision to start any business should not be taken lightly as it involves more risk than working for another company. That being said, there is also the potential for greater reward and there are many benefits to being an owner-operator. Before purchasing or leasing a truck, be sure to thoroughly consider the pros and cons as well as your personal goals and preferences.

Benefits of Owner-Operator Trucking

There are many benefits to being an owner-operator, including:

High Earning Potential

Owner-operators are among the highest-paid drivers in the industry and have significant earning potential. In trucking, generally your own initiative and how hard you work will have a significant impact on what you earn. This is especially true when you are running your own business, so keep that in mind when considering owner-operator pay. Writing down anticipated revenue and expenses can be helpful to get a better idea of how much you could make.

Demand for Drivers

Freight is essential to keep our nation moving and there is a truck driver shortage in the United States. This means that many companies don’t have enough drivers to meet demand. You can use this to your advantage as an owner-operator and this makes it easier to find work.


As an owner-operator, you have more control over what routes you drive, what you haul, and which companies you work with. If you need time off, you won’t need to wait for approval either. Many owner-operators appreciate this increased flexibility.

What to Consider Starting a Trucking Business

In addition to the benefits of owner-operator trucking, there are some things you need to consider. No career path is completely perfect, so you should be aware of potential downsides.

Some things to consider when it comes to being an owner-operator:

Responsibility for Costs

While owner-operators make more per load, they also are responsible for more costs such as insurance, truck repairs, and fuel. You will need to be able to keep track of your expenses carefully to determine how profitable your trucking business is.

Time Off is Unpaid

Many trucking companies offer paid time off after a certain amount of time working with them. As an owner-operator, however, any time you are not driving is time you are not earning money. 

Additional Work

Being a successful owner-operator requires a fair amount of additional work beyond driving. You will be managing your own business and will need to do more administrative work than a company driver.

Starting Your Trucking Career

Whether you want to become an owner-operator, prefer to be a company driver, or want to get more experience before you decide, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you take the first steps. We can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks and offer job placement assistance. If you are interested in becoming an owner-operator, we can help you find companies that offer paths to vehicle ownership.

To learn more about our CDL training programs, contact us today.

Tips for Trucking with Pets

Trucking is one of the few jobs where you can bring your pet with you on a daily basis. Having a pet on your truck has many benefits. It improves your mood, gives you company, and may encourage you to get out and exercise more depending on the type of pet. If you are interested in taking your dog or cat on the open road with you, this article includes some tips to help you out.

1. Know and Follow your Trucking Company’s Pet Policy

There are many pet-friendly trucking companies out there, but this doesn’t mean that every motor carrier will allow pets. Even if the company does let truckers take pets on the road, they may have different requirements to do so. Most will have weight limits, restrictions on “aggressive breeds,” and a pet deposit.

Before you take your pet in your truck, make sure you have checked your motor carrier’s requirements and paid any necessary fees or deposits. If you are just getting started and haven’t gotten your first trucking job, you can find many lists of trucking companies that allow pets online, or ask recruiters directly. Keep in mind that you typically can’t bring your cat or dog with you for on-the-road training even if the company allows pets, so make sure you are prepared for this.

2. Consider Whether Your Pet Would Do Well in a Semi-Truck

If you already have a pet and want to take them on the road with you, make sure to consider their disposition and habits to determine if they would adapt well to life on the road. A big dog that likes to run around in the yard multiple times a day probably won’t enjoy the trucking lifestyle, whereas a smaller dog that is less active might.

In addition to considering your pet’s personality,  make sure to consider their health. Visit your vet before you take your pet on the road and get their recommendations for whether your pet is healthy enough to accompany you. Think of it as your pet’s version of the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical.

3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

You’ll quickly learn that preparation is a huge part of being a successful truck driver. From trip planning to meal prepping, what you do before your haul can make a big difference. When taking a furry friend on the road with you, you’ll have another set of tasks to complete to prepare for your trips.

Pet Supplies for Truckers

Make sure you have all of the supplies you need to keep your pet happy and healthy.

You should have:

  • Plenty of food and water
  • Food and water bowls
  • A pet bed
  • A litter box (if you have a cat) or bags/a scooper (if you have a dog)
  • Toys
  • Any medication your pet needs
  • A collar for your pet to wear, plus a backup collar just in case
  • A leash (if you have a dog, or if you have a leash-trained cat)
  • Vaccination and vet records
  • Cleaning supplies (wipes, deodorizer, et cetera)

Trip Planning with Pets

When you make your trip plan, be sure to take your pet into account. Plan for extra stops so they can get out when they need to.

Planning for Emergencies

You should also make a plan for potential emergencies. What will you do if your pet needs veterinary care while you’re on the road, for example? One thing to consider is that vet clinics in pet stores are more likely to have parking that can accommodate semi-trucks, so consider writing down the location of any of these clinics along your route.

Take Your Pet On The Road

If you’re looking for a career when you can keep your pet with you, earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Our programs can help you get started in as little as four weeks.  Our job placement assistance team can also.  help you find pet-friendly carriers.

To learn more about our truck driver training programs, contact us today.

What Does the CDL Skills Test Include?

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is necessary to become a truck driver. To get this license, you will need to pass an exam that includes a written portion as well as a practical skills test. The CDL skills test includes three different portions that cover different things you’ll need to know as a driver.

These are:

Pre-Trip Inspection

Per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, truck drivers must examine their vehicles prior to every trip. This is to ensure the vehicle does not have any issues that would endanger the driver or anyone else on the road. The first portion of the CDL skills exam is a full internal and external inspection of your truck.

During the test, you will need to fully explain the inspection process to the examiner as you complete it. As you check each part, you must point to or touch it and name it.

Vehicle Control Skills

After the inspection is complete, you will demonstrate your basic vehicle control skills. The examiner can use a variety of off-road tests to evaluate you during this portion of the exam.

Possible Skills Test Drills

Some exercises that may be part of the CDL basic vehicle control skills test include:

  • Straight Line Backing: Backing your vehicle between two rows of cones in a straight line
  • Offset Back/Right or Offset Back/Left: Backing between rows of cones to the left or to the right behind your vehicle
  • Driver Side or Conventional Parallel Parking: Parallel parking in a space on your right or left
  • Alley Dock: Positioning your vehicle parallel to an outer boundary by sight-side backing it into an alley

These exercises are scored based on:

  • Encroachments: Touching cones with any portion of your vehicle or crossing over any boundary lines is an error.
  • Pull-Ups: Stopping and pulling forward too often can be a penalty, although it is not not penalized initially.)
  • “Looks”: Safely stopping your vehicle and checking its position is called a “look” and there is a maximum of two for all exercises besides straight line backing, which has a maximum of one. If you exit unsafely at any time, it can result in an automatic failure.
  • Final Position: You must maneuver your vehicle into the exact position the examiner asked of you and if not, it may result in a failure.

Driving Test

The final part of the CDL skills test involves actually driving through a test route and handling real-life traffic situations. The examiner may ask for you to describe what you would do in a given situation if it doesn’t happen naturally during the test.

Required Driving Skills

Some of the skills the CDL road test may assess:

  • Brake, gear, and clutch use
  • Turning
  • Turn signal use
  • Intersections
  • Steering
  • Lane changes
  • Limited access highway driving
  • Traffic checks
  • Safe following distance
  • Curves
  • Railroad crossings
  • Bridges and overpasses
  • Stop/start

Earn Your CDL at Phoenix Truck Driving School

We prepare our students for the CDL test with a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience. You can earn your license and start your career in as little as four weeks.

Contact us to learn more about our truck driver training programs.

All About the CDL Tanker Endorsement

Earning your class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows you to drive most commercial vehicles, but you will need endorsements for more specialized types of trucks. Our programs include three endorsements: hazardous materials (hazmat), doubles/triples, and tanker. The CDL tanker endorsement is necessary to transport liquids or gases and can increase the job opportunities that are available to you.

Vehicles That Require the Tanker Endorsement

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations for the trucking industry, including endorsement requirements. Per these rules, a tanker endorsement is necessary to drive any vehicle that fits the definition of a “tank vehicle.”

This is any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that fits the following criteria:

  • Transports fluids (liquid or gaseous material) of any variety
  • Holds the fluid in one or multiple tanks with an individual capacity of 119 gallons or more
  • Carries a total volume of 1,000 gallons or more

This definition is outlined in §383.119 of the Code of Federal Regulations and does not include any vehicle that is transporting empty tanks or intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). However, it does include vehicles that transport multiple smaller tanks, as long as the total volume is over 1,000 gallons.

Do You Need a Hazmat Endorsement As Well?

Many tank vehicle driving jobs require a hazmat endorsement as well as the tanker endorsement. It’s a good idea to get both just in case, even if you don’t think you will need them. Our programs will prepare you for both of these endorsement tests, plus the exam for doubles/triples. The combination of these two will be marked as an “X” endorsement on your CDL. 

Earning the CDL Tanker Endorsement

To earn your tanker endorsement, you will need to pass a written exam, which you will take at the same time as the general knowledge test. The exam includes 20-30 multiple-choice questions about safe fluid transportation.

To study for this test, you should read Section 8 of the CDL manual.

This includes the following subsections:

8.1 – Inspection

There are additional items you will need to check when inspecting tank vehicles compared to standard semi-truck. Most importantly, you need to ensure there are no leaks. Carrying a liquid or gas in a leaking tank is a crime. You will also need to check any special-purpose equipment and ensure you are carrying any necessary emergency supplies.

8.2 – Driving

Driving a tank vehicle requires additional skills and you will need to be aware of the vehicle’s high center of gravity. Surge, which is the movement of liquid in the tank, is also important to understand and account for while driving. You will also need to identify the difference between baffles and bulkheads and should know the rules for loading a tank vehicle.

8.3 – Safety Rules

This subsection covers some key safety rules for driving tank vehicles. You will need to know how to handle curves, skids, and surge. It’s also important to drive smoothly and keep stopping distance in mind at all times.

Earn Your CDL and Endorsements

Our schools will give you valuable skills that will continue to benefit you throughout your trucking career. Our accelerated programs can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about our CDL training schools, contact us today.

Benefits of a Trucking Career

If you are looking to start a new career, you should consider trucking. Whether you are transitioning out of military service, looking for a stable industry, or just wanting to try something new, there are many benefits to becoming a truck driver and we can help you get started.

Some reasons to consider a trucking career include:

1. Excellent Pay

Truckers can make more than $69,000 a year.* You can increase your earning potential as you gain more experience and demonstrate your ability to safely and efficiently haul freight. In addition to base pay, many companies offer sign-on bonuses and other bonuses for safe driving.

2. Employee Benefits

In addition to great pay, many motor carriers offer health, dental, and vision insurance. Other employee benefits include paid time off, 401k plans, and more. Since truckers are in such high demand, companies often compete to offer the best benefits packages.

3. See the Country

If you choose over-the-road (OTR) trucking, your routes will span across the nation. This gives you the opportunity to see the country and get paid to do so. You will travel through scenic areas and depending on the carrier you work for, you may be able to take time off in different locations.

4. Job Security

Semi-trucks haul 70% of the country’s freight and there is a shortage of qualified individuals to drive these vehicles. A report from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) found that the industry was short 60,800 drivers in 2018. As a result, there is a high demand for new drivers and excellent job security for those starting their trucking careers.

5. Make a Difference

Truck drivers are essential for our nation’s economy. Without them, shelves would be empty and gas stations would run out of fuel. Every day you spend as a trucker, you can take pride in knowing you are making a positive difference.

6. Accelerated Training

It’s rare to find a job with so many benefits that requires minimal training and trucking is one such opportunity. You can get your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks. This means you don’t have to wait to start your new career.

The First Step To Your Trucking Career

If you want to take advantage of the above benefits, the first step is getting your CDL. At Phoenix Truck Driving School, you’ll learn from highly-skilled instructors and we offer job placement assistance. In fact, many of our students have offers before graduation and can start earning right away.

How To Get Started

We have schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. One of our advisors can help you get started and can answer any questions you have about our programs.

To learn more about CDL training with Phoenix Truck Driving School, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $47,130. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,480 per year according to 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Preparing for the CDL General Knowledge Test

If you want to become a truck driver, you will first need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). This involves taking two exams: a written test and a skills test. The written test includes sections that you need to pass to earn endorsements, a section to remove the air brakes restriction, and the CDL general knowledge test.

Whereas the endorsement tests are not required to earn your license, the general knowledge test is. After you pass it, you will have your commercial learner’s permit (CLP). This allows you to start on-the-road training under the supervision of a CDL holder.

CDL Manual Sections

To help you prepare for the general knowledge exam, it’s useful to know what this test includes. It covers the following section of the CDL manual: Introduction (1), Driving Safely (2), Transporting Cargo Safely (3), and Combination Vehicles (6).

A basic overview of what each section includes:


This gives general information about who needs a CDL and what the process is for obtaining one. It’s helpful to read and understand this section of the manual before you even start school so you know what to expect.

Section 1 of the manual also covers disqualifications and basic rules and responsibilities for CDL holders. Note that this section does not include all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), which you will be responsible for knowing and following as a commercial driver.

This section also goes over International Registration Plan (IRP) and the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requirements.

Driving Safely

Understanding this section of the CDL manual will help you for the general knowledge exam as well as for the pre-trip inspection test. It gives a list of which parts to inspect and what you need to look for with each one.

After outlining the steps for a vehicle inspection, this section gives information about basic vehicle control. It goes over the basics for a variety of situations and provides general tips for safe driving. It’s important to fully understand these principles before you get behind the wheel of the semi-truck, which is why this section is so extensive.

Transporting Cargo Safely

In this section, you will learn about how to transport cargo safely.

It starts by outlining when you need to inspect your cargo:

  • Within the first 50 miles of your trip
  • After driving for three hours or 150 miles
  • After every break
  • When required by federal, state, or local regulations

You will also need to understand weight and balance requirements and how to secure cargo. Some types of cargo require special attention, including dry bulk, hanging meat, livestock, and oversized loads.

Combination Vehicles

Combination vehicles include tractor-trailers, doubles, triples, and straight trucks with trailers. Note that the double or triple trailers will also require the endorsement for long combination vehicles (LCVs).

This section goes over some of the unique considerations for driving combination vehicles. These include preventing rollovers, avoiding trailer skid, and backing with a trailer.

Earn Your License With Us

If you are interested in becoming a trucker, Phoenix Truck Driving School can help you get started. Our programs can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks and we have locations in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

To learn more about how we can help you prepare for the CDL general knowledge test, contact us today.