Do You Need A CDL To Drive A Box Truck? It depends

Do you need a CDL to drive a box truck? No, you usually don’t. Box trucks are generally built to carry a maximum load (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating/GVWR) of less than 26,000 lbs which means it does not require a CDL to drive one.

There are exceptions though. Not every single box truck has a GVWR of 26,000 lbs or less. Most do, but not all. If it has a GVWR of 26,0001 lbs or more you will need a Class B CDL at least.

Further down in this article I explain how to figure the GVWR of a box truck so that you can know for sure whether or not you need a CDL.

Box trucks are made so that someone with a basic drivers license can drive one.

For example, if you were to rent a box truck from Uhaul like one pictured below you would not need a CDL to drive it. Sounds crazy, right?

It’s true though, as long as the GVWR of the vehicle is less than 26,000 lbs. you don’t need a CDL.

What Is A Box Truck?

There is a wide variety of trucks that are considered box trucks.

It is basically a truck with a stretched and reinforced chassis/frame and a large cargo box bolted to the chassis/frame.

Box trucks are often called straight trucks.

Here are some pictures of common box trucks to give you an idea of what they look like.

What Are Box Trucks Used For?

Many companies utilize box trucks for local deliveries.

Box trucks, large or small, can go many places where larger tractor-trailers cannot go.

In small towns and large cities, box trucks roam the streets making delivery after delivery.

– FedEx Ground Home Delivery uses smaller box trucks to make home deliveries.
– Uhaul rents box trucks in many sizes to people that want to move by themselves.
-Cintas uses larger box trucks to pick up and deliver to large and small companies.
– Your local plumbing or electrician might use box trucks for their business.
– Event rental businesses use them to deliver and pickup tents, chairs, and table.

These are just a few examples but you get the idea, box trucks are everywhere.

Many companies use box trucks because they offer better maneuverability than large tractor trailer/semi trucks.

In areas where truck traffic is monitored or restricted, box trucks are the chosen method of delivery.

Another benefit of box trucks is that most of them (not all though) can be driven with no CDL at all.

Does A Box Truck Require A CDL?

Most box trucks do not require a CDL to drive them.

What are the parameters that would Determine whether or not you need a CDL or not?

It is all about the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR.

If you plan to drive a single vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more you will need a CDL.

Remember, box trucks typically have a GVWR of less than 26,000 lbs.

This means a CDL is not necessary. But there are exceptions, which I will explain next.

If you would like to know everything about a Class B CDL, and what vehicles that license covers, read my article “What Is A Class B CDL?”

How Do You Determine A Vehicles GVWR?

Determining the GVWR of a vehicle is really easy. You can do it two different ways:

1. Check with the vehicle manufacture by contacting them.
2. (The easier way) Look on the inside of the door jamb of the vehicle. You will find a sticker that lists the GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) for the front and rear axles.

Next, add those two numbers together.

That is the GVWR of the vehicle.

Look at the example below that is from a box truck that has a GVWR of 16,500 lbs. The front axle has a GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) of 6,500 lbs and the rear axle is rated (GAWR) at 12,000 lbs.

To drive this box truck a CDL is not required because the GVWR of the vehicle is less than 26,000 lbs.


Do I Need A CDL To Drive A 26 Foot Box Truck?

It depends on the GVWR of the truck. You do not need a CDL to drive a 26 foot box truck as long as the 26 ft. box truck has a GVWR of 26,000 lbs or less.

If the GVWR is 26,0001 lbs. or more you will need a Class B CDL at least.

To determine if a CDL is necessary to drive a particular truck, you will need to know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle which like I said earlier can usually be found in the front door jamb.

In most cases, it does not matter whether the truck is loaded or empty.

It does not matter how long the truck is that you plan to drive.

It all depends on the weight that the vehicle axles are rated to carry which determines the GVWR.

For example, if you want to drive a single vehicle that is 26 feet long, and the GVWR is more than 26,001 lbs, you will need a Class B CDL.

However, there are some box trucks out there that are 26 feet long (or less) and have a GVWR 26,000 lbs or less which means that you will not need a CDL to drive it.

Look at the example below of a large box truck that does require a CDL because the GVWR is over 26,001 lbs.

The first picture is of the Gross Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR) of the of the axles. The front axle is rated at 12,000 lbs (Gross Axle Weight Rating/GAWR). and the rear axles are rated at 21,000 lbs. This means the total GVWR is 33,000 lbs. and this box truck will require a CDL to drive it.

What Kind of Box Truck Jobs Are Available?

There are many jobs available for box truck drivers.

Various companies that deliver things like mattresses, petroleum products, packages, auto parts, etc, utilize box trucks.

Just look around the next time you are driving and you’ll notice box trucks everywhere.

Most of those companies do not require a CDL Class B to drive the majority of their delivery vehicles.

Companies like Penske and Ryder, also hire drivers just to relocate their vehicles or return them to their home terminals.

So there are many jobs available for those who want to drive box

To see examples of available jobs in your area please see our job board for unique box truck driver jobs in your area.

Tips For Driving a Box Truck

Before you start down the road, there are some tips to help you out:

  1. Inspect the vehicle to make sure all components are in working order.
  2. Check tires for correct tire pressure.
  3. Don’t expect to go fast.
  4. Make wider turns.
  5. Make sure your load is really secure.
  6. Park with a plan.

Ready to go?

Not quite yet. Before you rent, buy, or get behind the wheel of a box truck, see the rest of these tips for driving a box truck.