Canada to add automatic transmission restrictions to Class A CDLs

June 8, 2021

Land Line Staff

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Next month, there will be a code on new Class A CDLs designating whether the driver is rated for driving with an automatic transmission or a manual one.

Effective July 19, individuals completing the Class A or Class A restricted road test in a vehicle with an automatic transmission (including semi-automatic and automated-manual transmissions) will be restricted from operating Class A/AR vehicles with a manual transmission, according to a Ministry of Transportation news release. They will only be allowed to operate automatic, semiautomatic and automated-manual transmission Class A/AR vehicles. This restriction will be added to their driver’s record and will appear on the front of the driver’s license.

Class A CDLs are required for driving commercial motor vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds.

New Canadian Class A applicants may take their skills road test with any type of transmission but must drive a manual transmission truck in order to have an unrestricted CDL. For road test purposes, a manual transmission must consist of at least eight forward gears with a high-low range.

Drivers having a Class A/AR license prior to July 19 may continue to drive Class A/AR automatic, semiautomatic, automated-manual or manual transmission vehicles. Whenever drivers are required to take Class A/AR road test, the automatic restriction comes into play.

It appears that the change brings Canada licensing in line with a similar restriction on U.S. drivers.

In the U.S., CDL restrictions are in place to encourage drivers take the skills test in the same type of vehicle for which they are seeking a CDL to operate. Here is information supplied by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. LL

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