CDL License Requirements
Requirements for obtaining a commercial driver license are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Each state has its own commercial driver license guide and application processes differ, but ultimately, each state is required to adhere to the federal requirements outlined by the FMCSA.
The basic federal requirements include:
- Driver must be at least 21 years of age to drive across state lines or operate a HAZMAT vehicle.
- Driver must have no prior disqualifying criminal offenses.
Every state requires drivers applying for a CDL to test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and hold it for a minimum of 14 days before taking the road skills test to complete the CDL application process. To apply for your CLP, you will be required to provide: your current driver’s license, a 10-year driving record history, and certification from a qualifying medical examiner that you are physically able to operate a commercial vehicle.
You will be required to take your state’s knowledge and skills test and achieve a score of at least 80%.
Once you’ve met the CLP requirements and held your permit for at least 14 days, you may begin the CDL application process. Each state varies in their requirements, but federal regulations state that all applicants must:
- test in a vehicle of the same type that you plan to drive when licensed
- pass a three-part test consisting of a vehicle inspection, basic controls exam, and road test.
If you are seeking an endorsement to your CDL, additional testing, fees, applications, and requirements may apply. Endorsements include:
- Double/Triple Trailers (knowledge test only)
- Passenger (knowledge and skills tests)
- Tank vehicle (knowledge test only)
- Hazardous materials (knowledge test only)
- Combination of tank vehicle and hazardous materials (knowledge test only)