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Do You Need a CDL to Tow a Trailer?

Some people wonder whether or not you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to tow a trailer. 

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the relationship between CDLs and trailers: whether CDL laws are determined at the state or federal level, the importance of various weight measurements, the situations where you’ll need a CDL for a trailer, and more.

By the end, you should have a better understanding of whether or not you need a CDL to tow your trailer. This article was written to be informative, but you should check the local laws in your area before determining whether or not you need a CDL.

Arkansas CDL

Are CDL Laws Determined at the State or Federal Level?

While the federal government sets CDL laws throughout the country, individual states also have their own laws that you need to look at in order to understand CDL requirements.

Arkansas’s weight requirements for CDLS are the same as the federal government’s.

Understanding Weight Measurements and CDLs

One of the biggest factors determining whether or not you need a CDL to tow a trailer is the weight of both your vehicle and trailer. This is measured with gross vehicle weight (GVW), gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross combination weight (GCW), and gross combination weight rating (GCWR).

GVW refers to the weight of your vehicle or trailer, including all of the passengers and cargo that it contains. GVWR refers to the amount of weight that your vehicle or trailer can safely carry, according to the manufacturer.

GCW and GCWR are similar, except that they take into account both your vehicle and trailer’s weight simultaneously. This means the GCW refers to the weight of your vehicle and trailer, while GCWR refers to the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight for both your vehicle and trailer.

If you’re towing with a GCW or GCWR of at least 26,000, you’ll need a CDL. The same applies if either your trailer or vehicle has a GVW or GVWR of over 10,000 pounds.

Do You Need a Class A, Class B, or Class C CDL to Tow a Trailer?

If the weight of your vehicle, trailer, cargo, and passengers require you to get a CDL for your trailer, you’re most likely going to need a Class A license.

Class B licenses are largely required for large vehicles that aren’t hitched to a trailer, which means they won’t be a concern for most drivers who want to tow. That said, if you’re operating a dump truck with a small trailer, you’re most likely going to need a Class B CDL.

Class C CDLs are only required if you’re transporting passengers or hazardous materials. Hazardous materials refers to materials that can cause harm, such as explosives, gases, and combustible or flammable liquids.

Are There Any Requirements for Getting a CDL?

Yes. Along with passing the required CDL tests, you must be at least 18 years of age, and you must already have your driver’s license. If you plan to use your CDL when crossing state lines, you’ll need to be at least 21 years of age. You’ll also be required to pass a background check.

Looking for Trailers in Arkansas?

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