Louisiana CDL Requirements
The first step before you are eligible to apply for a CDL is to qualify for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and have it for at least 14 days. During the time you have your CLP, you must have a licensed driver of the same class CDL for which you plan to apply in the front seat with you anytime you are driving your commercial vehicle. Before applying for your CLP, decide which type of vehicle you want to drive. This will determine if you need to apply for any special endorsements, such as for transporting hazardous materials or driving vehicles that transport a large number of passengers. Recent updates to Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles regulations state that the type of vehicle you will be driving must be self-certified with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections in these categories: Non-Excepted Intrastate, Excepted Intrastate, Non-Excepted Interstate, Excepted Interstate. Drivers who choose Non-Excepted Interstate must provide the Department of Public Safety with their Federal Medical Certificate.
You will need to pass all required knowledge tests for your selected type of driving. Additionally, you will be required to submit the necessary proof of identification and residency documents and have your driving record for the last 10 years checked in all 50 states and District of Columbia.
Identification and medical documents required for application of a CLP/CDL in Louisiana:
- Valid driver’s license
- Supplemental Application Form (DPSMV 2211) – Enclosure A
- Current, complete Physical Examination Form (DPSMV 2219) or its equivalent
- Current, complete Medical Examination Form (DPSMV 2032)
- Vision Examination Form (DPSMV 2002)
- Proof of Social Security number
Applicants must also provide proof of residency. Acceptable documents include:
- Louisiana voter’s registration card
- Property tax receipt from tax assessor’s office in parish where you live, indicating you are the owner
- Copy of lease or rental agreement on property within the State of Louisiana, indicating that you are the lessee
- Utility bills for three consecutive months showing your name and address
- Statement on letterhead from the postmaster in your city of residence verifying your mailing address
- W-2 forms for the last two years reflecting your name and Louisiana address
- Current health, home or personal vehicle insurance policy reflecting your name and Louisiana address
- Copy of current telephone statement listing your name and Louisiana address
All documents must be original or certified. Photocopies, and damaged or illegible documents will not be accepted.
All applicants must pay the $15 application fee (Louisiana accepts cash only) and the $41 CDL license fee at the time of application. If you are applying for any endorsements, there will be an additional $5 fee per endorsement. It is also important to note that new federal regulations require that your driving record be checked for any open suspensions or revocations in any state. If any are reported, your application will be rejected.
Once you have held your CLP for at least 14 days, you are eligible to apply for your CDL. You will then be required to take and pass a knowledge test and road skills test. The appropriate knowledge test for your type of vehicle must be passed before you are allowed to take the road skills test. The road skills test in Louisiana focuses on three main skills areas: pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. All road skills tests must be taken in the type of vehicle you plan to drive. Road skills tests for Class D & E commercial vehicles in Louisiana may be taken at Office of Motor Vehicle (OMV) locations or through a certified third-party tester. If you choose to take your skills test at an OMV location, you must have a vehicle of the same class for which you are applying with current safety inspection sticker and license plate validation sticker, and current vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance.
In the event you do not have access to an appropriate vehicle for your test, some certified third-party testers can rent one to you for an additional fee. All vehicles will be inspected for working headlights, blinkers, taillights, brake lights, mirrors, tires, horn, and windshield wipers.
Commercial Driving Laws in Louisiana
In Louisiana, as in every state, commercial drivers are held to stricter standards that drivers of personal vehicles and will face heavier fines and penalties for any violation, regardless if it is considered a minor or major offense. In addition to violations specific to driving and safety, there are general rules that affect commercial drivers in every state. These include:
- No driver may have more than one license. Drivers who are found in violation of this rule could face fines up to $5,000 and the possibility of jail time.
- Drivers must notify employers if they’ve been convicted of any traffic violation (except parking) within 30 days.
- Drivers who are convicted outside of their jurisdiction of a traffic violation (except parking) must notify their motor vehicle licensing agency within 30 days.
- Employers must also be notified if your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are disqualified from driving for any reason.
- Drivers applying for a job must provide their potential employer with background on all driving jobs held in the past 10 years.
- Any driver caught driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL may be fined up to $5,000 and/or face jail time.
- Drivers with hazardous materials endorsements who are convicted or indicted in any jurisdiction musty notify their issuing state and surrender their CDL within 24 hours.
Louisiana commercial drivers who are convicted of serious traffic violations will have points added to their driving record and be required to pay the fees, which vary depending on the offense and the individual details of your case. If you commit two serious traffic violations in your commercial vehicle within three years, you will have your license suspended for at least 60 days. Three serious traffic violations within three years will result in a suspension of at least 120 days. The following traffic violations are considered serious in the state of Louisiana:
- Speeding 15 mph or more above the speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Improper lane changes
- Following too closely
- Driving a CMV with improper endorsements or license classification
- Driving a CMV without a valid license in your possession
- Traffic offenses that result in a fatality
Drivers who violate out-of-service orders will lose their license for at least 180 days for the first offense, at least two years for the second offense within ten years, and for at least three years for a third offense within ten years.
Railroad crossing violations will result in a suspension of at least 60 days for the first offense, at least 120 days for the second offense within three years, and at least one year for your third violation within three years.
Drivers convicted of major offenses in the state of Louisiana will lose their license for at least one year for the first offense, and for life if a second offense is committed. Offenses considered major in Louisiana are:
- Driving with a blood alcohol level of .04% or higher
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Refusing to take a blood alcohol test
- Driving under the influence of a controlled substance
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Using a vehicle in the commission of a felony
If any major offense is committed while operating a CMV that is transporting hazardous materials, your CDL will be suspended for at least three years. Any driver who operates a CMV with any detectable amount of alcohol under .04% will be put out of service for 24 hours. It’s important to note that these penalties may be applied even if the offense occurs in your personal vehicle.