Texas CDL Requirements

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Texas CDL Requirements

Qualifying for a commercial driver license (CDL) requires training and testing to demonstrate that you are able to safely operate large commercial vehicles. There are three different classes of CDLs. Before you obtain your license, you will need to determine which of the three is necessary for the type of vehicle you will be operating. The three basic classes include:

Class A: permits the holder to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds of more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle or vehicles towed exceeds 10,000 pounds. Examples of these types of vehicles may include: tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations, tractor-trailer buses, tanker vehicles, livestock carriers, and flatbeds.

Class B: permits the holder to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, and/or any vehicle with a GVWR OF 26,001 lbs. or heavier that is towing another vehicle weighing UP TO 10,000 lbs. Examples of these types of vehicles may include: straight trucks, large buses such as city, tourist and school buses, segmented buses, box trucks such delivery or courier trucks, and dump trucks with small trailers.

Class C: permits the holder to operate any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that is not a Class A or B if the vehicle is designed to transport 16 to 23 passengers including the driver, or used in the transportation of hazardous materials as designated by federal guidelines. Examples of these types of vehicles may include: small HAZMAT vehicles, passenger vans, and combination vehicles not described in class A or B.

Before you are eligible to apply for a CDL in Texas, you must obtain a Commercial Driver License Permit (CLP). The permit must be held for at least 14 days, during which time you will be able to gain valuable driving experience. You can also find helpful instructional videos at dps.texas.gov as well as information in the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver’s Handbook to assist you before you apply for your CLP. To apply, you must have a valid Texas Driver License. In addition to your valid license, the Texas Department of Public Safety requires you to have:

  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or evidence of lawful presence
  • Proof of Texas residency
  • Current form of identification and Social Security Number
  • Self-Certification of Medical Status
  • Medical Examiners Certificate (depending on the type of self-certification of medical status you selected)
  • Current Texas vehicle registration for each vehicle you own
  • Proof of insurance for each vehicle you own

To apply for a CLP, you must pass the required knowledge tests for the class of license you are seeking as well as any endorsements. The tests include five sections: Texas Commercial Rules, General Knowledge, Combination (Class A only), Air Brake (if applicable), and Endorsements.

Drivers who have held their CLP for at least 14 days are eligible to complete the driving and written tests required for obtaining a CDL. To take the tests, the following steps must be taken:

  • Complete the CDL application before arriving at the driver license office of your choice (available at dps.texas.gov or any driver license office)
  • Provide your application, proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence, proof of Texas residency, identity and Social Security number to the driver license office
  • Pay the application fee at dps.texas.gov
  • Provide your thumbprint and have your picture taken
  • Pass the vision exam
  • Pass the three required parts of the driving test: Vehicle Inspection test, Basic Vehicle Control test and Road test