Idaho CDL Requirements
Residents of Idaho who wish to apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must be over the age of 18, hold a valid regular Idaho driver’s license, and have at least one year of driving experience. Applicants who are not residents of Idaho must be over 21 years of age, hold a valid driver’s license and have at least two years of driving experience. Drivers should not have any active license suspensions or revocations in any state. Your driving record will be checked for the past 10 years in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must provide proof of lawful, permanent residency, either by a certificate of naturalization or a valid Permanent Residency Card
All applicants must be able to speak and read English to drive a commercial vehicle in the United States. State written exams are only administered in English.
Before any driver can apply for a CDL, he or she must apply for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). An important first step before beginning the application process is deciding which type of commercial vehicle you want to drive. Some vehicles require special endorsements and testing specific to that type of vehicle, so it’s important that you take the appropriate tests.
To receive a CLP, drivers must pass a written test at an Idaho Department of Motor Vehicles office with a score of at least 80%. The written test consists of multiple-choice questions in three subject areas: general knowledge, combination vehicles, and air brakes. When you have received a passing score and met the other requirements listed below, you will be issued a CLP, which enables you to practice driving on public streets with an Idaho CDL holder in the vehicle with you. If you do not pass the written test, you may take it again after the required one-day waiting period. You must have your CLP for at least 14 days before you can apply for your CDL and take the skills test. Your CLP is valid for up to six months from the date it was issued.
Additional requirements for starting the application process:
- Prove you are physically fit for the job by obtaining a medical examiner’s certificate stating that you passed the physical exam
- Possess a current valid Class D Idaho driver’s license
- Show proof of Social Security number (Social Security card, paycheck stub, W-2 form)
- Pass the required vision test
- Provide two documents providing proof of Idaho residency, such as a lease/rental agreement, utility bills, or employment records
- Pay the required fees
- Provide proof of insurance before you take the CDL skills test
Once you have held your CLP for at least 14 days, you are eligible to apply for your CDL. The first step is passing the skills test. The skills test includes 3 parts: vehicle inspection, basic controls, and a road test. The basic controls test will cover many of the most common maneuvers, including 90-degree alley docking, backing, parallel parking, and offset backing to the right and to the left. For the road test, you will be required to bring the type of vehicle for which you are applying to drive and will need to successfully demonstrate operational skills including starting and stopping, braking, turning, traffic signs and signals, lane positions, downgrades and upgrades, railroad crossings, bridge and underpass clearance, and more. When you have passed all sections of the skills test, your Idaho commercial driver’s license will be mailed to you. It will be valid for up to four years from the issue date.
In the state of Idaho, CDL holders must self-certify by declaring to the state what type of driving they will be doing (within the state of Idaho only or outside of Idaho state lines), and whether they meet the medical and physical standards required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Self-certification is required when you apply for or renew a CDL, apply for a higher class of CDL or endorsement, or transfer a CDL from another state.