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What are the minimum qualifications needed to operate a commercial vehicle?
A driver must:

  • Be at least 18 years old; 21 if driving interstate.
  • Have a valid Commercial Driver's License (Class A, B, or C) or a valid Class D Driver's License, depending on the size of the vehicle and types of loads being hauled.

A driver may have to meet other requirements such as medical certificate of health (DOT medical card), drug and alcohol testing, etc., depending on types of loads being hauled or whether the driver is traveling interstate or intrastate.

How do I know if I need a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)?
You need a CDL if you operate a:

  • Combination vehicle with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR*) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided that the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR*) of the towed unit is greater than 10,000 pounds.
  • Single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds.
  • Vehicle transporting 16 or more persons (including the driver).
  • Vehicle of any size carrying hazardous materials in quantities large enough to require placards.

A Class D Driver's License is required for all other vehicles.
* GCWR and GVWR are determined by the manufacturer.

Are there drivers who do not need CDLs?
Those exempted from the requirement to obtain a CDL may include drivers of recreational, military, and emergency vehicles; and some farm vehicles not used for hire if driven within 150 miles of the farm.

What tests do I have to pass to obtain a CDL?
Drivers must pass written and skills (vehicle inspection and driving) tests.

How do I know which endorsements/restrictions I need?
CDL endorsements are based on vehicle types or the types of loads being transported: double/triple trailers, hazardous materials, tank vehicles, and buses. Your license will have a restriction for driving only vehicles without air brakes unless you pass additional tests.

Are there other driver's license changes I should be aware of?
Yes. The Commercial Motor Vehicles Safety Act has many rules which affect drivers. Violations of these rules can result in civil and criminal penalties or disqualify you from driving commercial vehicles. You can find this information in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Part 383.

One-Stop-Shop Mailing Address:
PO Box 7129, Boise, ID 837-7-1129

Physical Address:
3311 West State St, Boise, ID 83703

Page Last Modified: 5/22/2007 3:57:44 PM

Division of Motor Vehicles / Commercial Vehicle Services
Ports of Entry- (208) 334-8688
Motor Carrier- (208) 334-8611
Overlegal Permits- (208) 334-8420
or 1-800-662-7133

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Idaho Transportation Department
3311 W. State Street ยท P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707-1129