DMV Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs)
Operating a large and heavy commercial motor vehicle safely requires special training and knowledge. If you will be driving a commercial motor vehicle, you need to get a commercial drivers license (CDL) from your state.
Types of Commercial Drivers Licenses
There are 3 kinds of commercial motor vehicles, each requiring a different class of CDL.
Class A: Any combination of vehicles that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more with the towed vehicle(s) weighing over 10,000 pounds.
Class B: A single vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, or any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more with the towed vehicle(s) weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
Class C: Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that does not fall under Class A or B and is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or which is carrying hazardous materials.
You may also need a special endorsement to drive certain types of commercial motor vehicles in your state. Check with your DMV or state agency for more details.
CDL License Requirements
The process for getting a CDL depends on your particular state, but here is a general outline.
- Study your state’s Commercial Drivers Licensing Manual.
- Get a commercial learners permit so you can practice driving with a licensed commercial driver. To get your permit, you must: (a) pass a knowledge test, (b) have an acceptable driving record for the last 10 years in all 50 states and D.C., and (c) provide proper documentation proving that your are medically qualified.
- Get your commercial drivers license. You will need to pass a vehicle inspection test, a basic controls test, and a road test.
For specific details, check the requirements in your state for the type of CDL you need.