How to Obtain a Commercial Drivers License

Seniors must obtain CDL drivers license credentials in order to operate large commercial motor vehicles in their states of residence. All CDL license requirements must be fulfilled, including the completion of all application forms. A senior driver is required to maintain an active CDL driver license in order to operate vehicles over a certain weight that may also be capable of transporting many people and/or hazardous materials. In addition, depending upon the type of vehicle that a senior is interested in driving, his or her application will differ, alongside the necessary endorsements. Learning about the CDL qualifications, as well as the necessary documentation to become certified in the United States as a senior commercial driver, are crucial to completing the process successfully. Learn more about CDL requirements and licensing in the sections outlined below.

Learn About CDL License Requirements for Seniors

How to apply to a commercial drivers license begins by verifying a senior’s U.S. citizenship or legal presence. In order to do so, he or she must submit the appropriate documentation to the state’s Department of Transportation. Appropriate documents when getting a commercial drivers license include a U.S. birth certificate, a valid passport or a naturalization form.

Next, in order to obtain a commercial drivers license, senior applicants must confirm their residency within their home states. Proof of address may include tax records, lease agreements or mortgage documents. Additionally, W-2 forms, weapons permits, utility bills or a CDL license renewal notice will be accepted. Senior drivers who maintain a non-commercial drivers license in their states of application may use these credentials.

Lastly, in order to get a commercial drivers license, a senior applicant in the United States will require a non-CDL license to complete the application. This is a standard drivers license that permits a driver to operate a typical car and non-commercial truck. If an applicant does not have a license in the selected state, or is licensed in another state, he or she does not fulfill the required CDL qualifications, and may not operate a commercial vehicle. This standard license will require a separate application before applying for the CDL.

Find Out About the CDL Drivers License Application Process

Should a senior applicant believe he or she is capable of providing all of the CDL information discussed previously, he or she may begin the process for how to get a commercial drivers license by scheduling two major visits to the state’s DMV office. An applicant should only schedule the first visit to the DMV when he or she is prepared to take a CDL test regarding proper commercial vehicle operation.

What will happen on the first DMV visit?

CDL license requirements state that the first visit to the DMV must be to obtain a learners permit to begin the process. All commercial applicants in the United States will need to obtain this learner status before being eligible for full CDL licensure in any U.S. state, including senior citizens. Applicants should become familiar with the necessary forms in their specific states, but the following general items will be needed to complete the learners application:

  • Submit the learner’s permit application form: This form will require a senior citizen to enter his or her current non-CDL license number and select a desired license classification. Seniors seeking a CDL drivers license should be familiar with the kind of vehicle(s) they want to drive before moving forward.
  • Self-certify the vehicle type: Senior applicants seeking a drivers license for CDL vehicles will need to self-certify the kind of vehicle(s) they will operate. Seniors should note that self-certification will determine the extent of CDL qualifications needed within the application, and ultimately determines the kind of vehicle a senior applicant will be able to drive.
  • Pay the applicable fees: When applying to a commercial drivers license, applicants should note that the cost of the application will be calculated by the initial learners permit form. These include a combination of required portions, such as photo fees and optional portions, such as different CDL endorsements.
  • Pass a driving record check: CDL information about newly licensed drivers means agreeing to a background driving check to review driving history. Requirements may differ from state to state.

Depending upon the applicant’s CDL license application, he or she will immediately take a general knowledge exam, which will be tailored to the classification and endorsements he or she has selected on the learners application form. The senior applicant may progress to the next portion of the CDL license application process once this is exam completed and passed.

What will happen on the second application visit?

After completing the general knowledge test, a senior applicant may only proceed to the next step of getting a CDL license after a waiting period has passed. This is because the Department of Motor Vehicles within each state seeks to ensure all senior applicants are prepared to take a set of driving tests as part of the second and final visit to receive a CDL license, and so this 15-day period is given as practice time. During this visit, the following portions of a final examination will be administered:

  • Pre-Trip Inspection: To receive a CDL drivers license, a senior driver and his or her examiner must perform an interior and exterior inspection of the test-vehicle. Examiners will grade based on the thoroughness of the CDL applicant during this inspection, as well as his or her rationale. In addition to this, vehicles that utilize special faculties, such as air brakes, will necessitate specialized knowledge tests as part of the examination.
  • Basic Vehicle Control Test: Once a senior applicant has completed the inspection portion of the CDL license test, he or she will then be expected to demonstrate basic control of the commercial vehicle. In order to qualify for CDL licensure, drivers will need to perform a variety of maneuvers before driving on the road. These maneuvers will be performed on a closed course, and will be graded by the examiner in order to measure the senior’s ability.
  • On-Road Driving Test: This portion of the CDL drivers license test will be done over a route determined by the test’s administrator. This CDL license road test will allow the administrator to measure a senior’s ability to drive in different situations.