If your commercial driver’s license (CDL) has any restrictions, these will limit the types of vehicles you can drive. The CDL automatic restriction, also known as the E restriction, will prevent you from driving any commercial vehicle with a manual transmission. This can reduce the number of job opportunities available to you after graduation.
Reasons for an E Restriction
Someone will have the E restriction placed on their CDL if they complete the skills test in a vehicle with an automatic transmission. The Department of Transportation (DOT) defines an automatic transmission as any transmission that does not operate “fully on the gear shift and clutch principle.”
Unlike the air brakes restriction, there is no written test section you need to pass to remove the CDL automatic restriction. It is based solely on the skills test.
How to Avoid the CDL Automatic Restriction
Avoiding the E restriction is fairly simple. All you need to do is make sure you take your CDL skills test in a vehicle with a manual transmission. To do this, you should ask the representatives at any trucking schools you are considering whether they use manual or automatic semi-trucks.
At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we use vehicles with manual transmissions so our students do not have to worry about the E restriction.
Why Being Able to Drive Manual Semi-Trucks is Important
The automatic restriction can be challenging to work around because many motor carriers use trucks with manual transmissions. These have been around for longer and many old-school truckers prefer manual vehicles since it allows them to have more control over the truck. Manual semi-trucks are also less expensive for carriers.
A Shift to Automatic Semi-Trucks?
You may see that many trucking companies have started to make the shift to automatic semi-trucks. These vehicles are easier to drive and as time has progressed since their invention, the cost has decreased somewhat. As a result, there is a possibility that your future employer will have an automatic or partially automatic fleet.
That being said, when it comes to adding endorsements and avoiding restrictions, it’s better to keep your options open. Even if you never need to drive one of those vehicles during your trucking career, you will have more jobs available to you.
Avoiding the automatic restriction means you won’t be in a position where you can’t get a job you really want because it requires driving a manual truck. Conversely, having learned how to operate a manual transmission won’t negatively affect your ability to drive an automatic semi-truck.
Earn Your CDL With No E Restriction
At HDS truck driving school, we give you the tools you need to succeed in your trucking career. We help you minimize the restrictions on your class A CDL.