Becoming a professional has its benefits, especially when it comes to earning a living; however, it is important to understand the requisites of qualifying to earn a living as a professional driver in Alberta. The first thing that a professional driver must do is obtain and commercial driver’s license in Alberta. There is a specific process that drivers must undergo in order to obtain the commercial license, and this article will lay out the steps in a lucid and succinct manner.
Understanding Professionalism on the Road is Important.
When it comes to driving for a living, in any of a number of different industries, professionalism is immensely important. A driver should take significant pride in being courteous, alert and mentally prepared to engage any challenges they may face on the road. They must also invest a substantial effort into ensuring that their vehicle is properly maintained and safe. Poorly maintained vehicles are one of the leading causes of accidents, injuries and deaths on the road. Becoming a defensive driver is also important. Being able to develop the aforementioned mindset and skills is paramount to success, and that is why it is recommended, and in some cases required, that an individual undergo some type of course before applying for the CDL in Alberta.
Commercial Licensing Requirements in Alberta
There are several requirements that must be met before a person can be issued a Commercial Operator’s Licence in Alberta. There is a total of six different classes of commercial licenses, ranging from one through six. The minimum age for licensing in all of these classes is 18, and the applicant cannot be a probationary driver when they are applying for their license. The person who holds a Class 1 commercial license has the approval to operate any type of motor vehicle other than a motorcycle, and they are only authorized to operate a class 6 type vehicle for learning purposes only.
Vehicles with More than Two Axles
When applying for a license with more than two axles, there is usually a requirement for a minimum amount of hours of operational instruction; however, other forms of experience can be substituted.
When upgrading to a class 1, 2, 3 and 4 class commercial license, a medical report is required to acquire the necessary health clearance. A subsequent medical clearance will be necessary every five years up to age 45, and then every two years until age 65.
In order to upgrade an operator’s license to a commercial license, the individual will have to pass a knowledge exam that corresponds to the class level of the commercial license they are seeking. This exam can be taken at most Alberta Registry Agent offices. The questions on the test will be based on information that is contained in the Commercial Driver’s Guide and the Driver’s Guide to Operation, Safety and Licensing.
It will be important to pay close attention to the manner in which the questions are worded in order to ensure that the person has a lucid understanding of what challenges the question is actually presenting.
There will be a vision assessment prior to the issuance of the knowledge test or the road test. If the applicant fails to meet the minimum standards set for an operator’s license, they will be referred to an optometrist or ophthalmologist in order to have a vision referral form completed. Anyone who has any type of corrective lenses, will need to bring them with them to the vision assessment.
Preparing for the Road Test
Although the written examination is important to demonstrate knowledge, the road test is where the driver will demonstrate that they are actually physically and mentally capable of carrying out the operational responsibilities of driving the vehicle. Some of the elements of the road test include:
- The proper execution of a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle to be used for the road test
- The proper coupling and uncoupling procedures for Class 1 vehicles
- An effective inspection of the vehicle air brake system for all vehicles equipped with air brakes
The road test requires the element of communication while demonstrating each required step, meaning that the applicant has to point to the items they are inspecting, while explaining what they are looking for and what they see. The fees for these tests will vary based on specific endorsements and classes. The actual fee that will be charged can be verified by contacting the Registry Office directly.
The most important aspect in obtaining a commercial license in Alberta is to be prepared. The applicant should spend a significant amount of time studying the official guide of commercial licenses, and they should take the available courses to prepare for the physical aspects as well.