State and federal laws require truck drivers to obtain and maintain a valid commercial driver's license. The Illinois Secretary of State says that Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety of 1986 due to a prior patchwork of laws that posed risks to anyone on the road when an unqualified driver got behind the wheel of a tractor trailer. To drive a massive truck in Illinois a driver must be qualified to handle the rig (subject to specified exemptions). To obtain a valid CDL, the driver must pass a battery of tests to show his or her knowledge and ability to safely handle the vehicle.
Unfortunately, major safety programs aimed at reducing the risks for serious injury and death can be sidestepped, at times, by unscrupulous people. The Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General recently released a report outlining several schemes that have been used by unqualified drivers to get a CDL.