On October 26, 1986, Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. This law required each State to meet the same minimum standards for commercial driver licensing. The standards required commercial motor vehicle drivers to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). You must have a CDL to operate any of the following Commercial Mo- tor Vehicles (CMVs):
a ) A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds.
b ) A trailer with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds if the gross combination weight rating is more than 26,000 pounds.
c ) A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more persons (including the operator).
d ) Any size vehicle which requires hazardous materials placards.
To get a CDL, you must pass knowledge and skills tests. This manual will help you pass the tests.
Commercial Driver’s License Tests Knowledge Tests
You will have to take one or more knowledge tests to obtain your CDL permit, depending on what class of license and what endorsements you need. The CDL knowledge tests include:
- the General Knowledge Test, taken by all applicants (One hour – 50 questions)
- the Passenger Transport Test, taken by all bus driver applicants (20 minutes – 20 questions)
- the Air Brakes Test, which you must take if your vehicle has air brakes (25 minutes – 25 questions)
- the Combination Vehicles Test, which is required if you want to drive combination vehicles (20 minutes – 20 questions)
- the Hazardous Materials Test, required if you want to haul hazardous material or waste (30 minutes – 30 questions)
- the Tanker Test, required if you want to haul liquids in bulk (20 minutes – 20 questions)
- the Doubles/Triples Test, required if you want to pull double or triple trailers (20 minutes -20 questions)
- the School Bus Test, required if you want to transport pre-primary, primary, and secondary school students in a full- sized “School Bus” (i.e., Big Yellow Bus)
CDL Eligibility Requirements
- Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements listed in Federal Regulations 49 CFR Part 391(Qualifications of Drivers) or State Regulations 540 CMR 2.06 (Operator’s Licensing Requirements) and 14.00 (Motor Carrier Safety and Hazmat Transportation).
Effective immediately, federal regulations (49 C.F.R. §383.71) require that all first time applicants in Massachusetts for a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) must provide proof of U.S. Citizenship OR proof of Lawful Permanent Residency within the United States. This is in addition to all of the existing requirements that must be met to obtain a CLP/CDL.
Until the end of 2016, this requirement only applies to first-time applicants for a CLP/CDL and to out-of-state CDL conversions. Effective January 1, 2017, applicants for all CLP/CDL transactions (including renewals and duplicates) must meet this requirement.
The following documents may be presented by the applicant as acceptable proof of his/her status:
- Valid, unexpired U.S. Passport
- Certified copy of a birth certificate filed with a State Office of Vital Statistics or equivalent agency in the individual’s state of birth, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the U.S. Department of State
- Certificate of Naturalization issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS
Lawful Permanent Residency
- Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
For more information on the CDL training manual visit https://www.mass.gov/files/2017-07/New_CDL_Manual_0.pdf