Do I Need A CDL To Pull A Gooseneck Trailer?

If you have a gooseneck trailer, you want to do everything you can to ensure an easy trip. But do you need a special CDL license?

Do I Need A CDL To Pull A Gooseneck Trailer

Modern trailers have transformed transportation activities and made them simpler than ever before. Whether your moving large cargo, shifting to your new home, or moving tools to a specific worksite, a gooseneck trailer does the job.

What Class is a Gooseneck Trailer?

A gooseneck trailer uses a class V hitch. You identify it by its notable characteristics, unique to this type of trailer.

The trailer utilizes a long, curved neck that connects to the tow vehicle, while other trailers have a simple hitch. It can be attached to the pickup’s bed or another similar vehicle.

One of the main perks of a gooseneck trailer is its stability. The trailer is very stable because of how the hitch connects to the tow vehicle. The trailer’s weight is centered on the rear axle of the top vehicle instead of on the bumper. This weight distribution allows for a much smoother ride.

Its high stability provides an easy cruise on highways and backroads. Plus, its weight distribution provides an easier time when hauling heavier cargo.

Unfortunately, gooseneck trailers need towing behind SUVs or an RV. If you don’t own a truck, the trailer might not be as helpful.

DOT Laws For Gooseneck Trailers

Let’s take a closer look at DOT laws for Gooseneck trailers, shall we?

What is the Role of DOT? 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for gooseneck trailers exist for a good reason. These laws are essential in fostering for safe transportation of concrete piping, shipping containers, and other forms of heavy cargo. A compliance inspection can be done at any time to identify areas that need to be improved to bolster compliance among drivers.

Weight Limits and Sizes for Gooseneck Trailers

DOT regulations apply to towed trailers once the gross combined vehicle weight rating (GCWR) exceeds 10,000 pounds.

Do You Need A CDL To Pull A Gooseneck Trailer?

Is a commercial driver’s license necessary for using a Gooseneck trailer? Read on to find out!

What are the State Rules for Gooseneck Trailers?

You must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to haul a gooseneck trailer.

When do you need a CDL license?

Federal law requirements include a CDL license for the total weight of vehicles using a GVWR exceeding 26,000 pounds as long as the towing vehicle has a GCWR of above ten thousand pounds. Most gooseneck trailers fall under this category.

CDL Classifications

There are varying types of CDL classifications. The CDL licenses are classified based on the types of vehicles, their specific purposes, and their gross vehicle weight classes. Here are the three different classifications.

Class A CDL

Class C CDL classification is where a driver is permitted to drive a towing track of GCWR of twenty-six thousand pounds or more, and the towed vehicle is more than ten thousand pounds.

Class B CDL

For a class B CDL license, you may drive a vehicle towing trailer that doesn’t exceed a GVWR of ten thousand pounds. A driver can also operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) weighing over twenty-six thousand pounds.

Class C CDL

Class C license includes large passenger vehicles and other vehicles transporting hazardous materials. A driver should have this license if they drive any vehicle carrying more than 16 passengers (the driver included).

How To Get a CDL License

All the CDL classes have similar requirements. Nevertheless, specific terms should be met for each license class.

CDL License Requirements

  • You must be at least 21 years or older (18 years for a driver to drive within any state).
  • To obtain a Class A or B license, a driver must successfully complete a driver assessment from an FMCSA-approved provider.
  • You must submit your CDL license application and pay the required fee.
  • You must provide your relevant ID documents, including your Social Security number verification.
  • You must provide proof of US residency.
  • You must submit your medical examination results and the examiner’s certifications.
  • You should pass a vision examination.
  • You should pass a CDL exam.
  • After passing your CDL exam, you should get a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
  • After that, you must wait for at least 14 days before scheduling your CDL road skills examination.
  • A driver should pass the pre-trip inspection.
  • After that, you should pay the required fee for a CDL license.

Depending on your state, you might be required to provide additional documents to verify your name and provide proof of residency.

Do I Need A CDL To Pull A Gooseneck Trailer

What Vehicles Can Tow A Gooseneck Trailer?

Safety is a top priority when towing a gooseneck trailer. Be sure that you are using the right vehicle to tow your trailer. Ideal vehicles include powerful pickup trucks, and they should be well-fitted and use a receiver hitch.

Can you Tow a Gooseneck with a Semi?

Yes, you can tow your gooseneck trailer using a semi, provided the fifth wheel plate and the gooseneck kingpin are correctly positioned at the right height.

Do you Need a Diesel Truck to Pull a Gooseneck Trailer?

Generally, a truck geared for heavy performance should provide optimal performance when towing a gooseneck trailer.

What are the Requirements to Pull a Gooseneck Trailer?

The federal regulations indicate that you require a class A CDL for multiple vehicles having GCWR of twenty-six thousand pounds or more, given that the GVWR of the trailer exceeds ten thousand pounds.

How To Pull A Gooseneck Trailer

The first thing you need to do is to load the trailer in position. Ensure you equip your truck with a suitable gooseneck prep package. Then install the ball safety chains and the trailer wiring.

Once your trailer connects to the tow vehicle, you should confirm that it’s safe and correctly fitted. Be sure to verify that the trailer interior is loaded properly because slight movements of the trailer will also affect the truck’s movement while driving.

When towing the gooseneck trailer for the first time, consider taking a few short trips where there is minimal traffic to get accustomed to the raised end of the vehicle. Ideally, practice driving before taking a long trip. Ensure you’re well-versed with the turning radius and other vital factors.


Let’s take a look at some common questions regarding using a Gooseneck trailer:

Do you need a CDL for private use?

There are a couple of exemptions for private or personal use vehicles. The state and federal regulations exempt private vehicles such as farm equipment, some POVs, and military operations.

How much does a 40 ft gooseneck trailer weigh?

On average, the 40 ft gooseneck trailer weighs approximately nine thousand pounds. This means that its GVWR will be about twenty-six thousand pounds. The load capacity on the 40 ft trailer will be approximately ten thousand pounds. The truck can transport approximately ten thousand pounds of cargo or goods inside it.

Is towing a gooseneck considered commercial?

Gooseneck trailers are large in size, and you will find that they have a GVWR exceeding ten thousand pounds, which requires a GCWR setup of more than twenty-six thousand pounds.

How much can you tow without a CDL?

A driver can only tow vehicles without a CDL license if the vehicle has a GVWR of twenty-six thousand or less. You must obtain a CDL for you to tow anything that is above twenty-six thousand pounds.

How much can you haul without a CDL?

Any trailer with a combined GVWR of twenty-six thousand or less can be driven without a CDL. So, be sure that the combined weight of the trailer and the weight of the truck don’t exceed twenty-six thousand pounds.

What is the maximum trailer length without CDL?

Before checking the trailer length, confirm that the combined weight of the trailer and the weight of the truck don’t exceed twenty-six thousand pounds. The maximum length of the trailer should be 53 feet.

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