Each state is different on its commercial driving age, but if you are at least 25 years old you can earn your Commercial Drivers License. If you plan on staying in state while carrying less than 10,000 pounds, then you could start your commercial experience as early as 18. Typically however, a Commercial Driving License (CDL) qualifies you to transport any type of vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWL) of 26,000 for commercial use.
Some examples of commercial vehicles are trucks, semi trucks, vans, coaches, busses, taxicab, trailers, and box trucks otherwise known as a straight truck. Other situations in which a vehicle can be categorized as commercial is if the title is under a company name, the vehicle exceeds a certain weight or class, or the vehicle is hauling hazardous materials. Lastly, anytime a vehicle is carrying more than 9 persons, including the driver, the vehicle is categorized as a commercial vehicle and you will need a Commercial Drivers License in Illinois.
In addition to how a type of vehicle can be considered commercial, anything over 26,001 pounds is considered to be in this class. The classes are broken down into 8 different classifications depending on the GVWR they are carrying. Class 1 ranges from 0 to 6,000 pounds GVWR. Class 2 ranges from 6,0001 to 10,000 pounds GVWR. Class 3 ranges from 10,001 to 14,000 pounds GVWR. Class 4 ranges from 14,001 to 16,000 pounds GVWR. Class 5 ranges from 16,001 to 19,500 pounds GVWR. Class 6 ranges from 19,501 to 26,000 pounds GVWR. Class 7 ranges from 26,001 to 33,000 pounds GVWR and lastly Class 8 is anything 33,000 pounds GVWR and above.
In order to earn a CDL, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) developed both a written and practical tests to earn one of 3 commercial class licenses. After testing in a state or otherwise approved facility you can earn a Class A, B or C license. Class A is for a vehicle over 26,000 pounds or a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. A Class B commercial license allows driving anything up to 26,000 and towing under 10,000 pounds. Finally, a Class C license is approved to transport more than 16 people including the driver or can transport hazardous materials.