Rules for Mandatory Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in California
If any of the following are true, you will need a CDL.
- A vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
- A combination vehicle with a gross combination weight of 26,001 or more pounds with the GVWR of the towed vehicle(s) in excess of 10,000 pounds.
- Any vehicle that tows any vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more.
- Any vehicle that tows more than one vehicle or a trailer bus.
- A vehicle designed to transport 10 or more passengers including the driver.
- Any vehicle which requires HAZMAT placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin in Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations.
There are exceptions to these rules such as:
- Persons operating a vehicle in an emergency situation at the direction of a police officer.
- Drivers of house cars over 40 feet but not over 45 feet, with an endorsement.
- Non-civilian military personnel operating military vehicles.
- Implement of husbandry operators who are not required to have a driver's license.
- And more...
Certificate or Endorsement
Some vehicles may also require a certificate or endorsement along with a CDL in order to be driven legally.
- School Bus Drivers - must have a school bus endorsement ("S").
- Shuttle Bus Drivers - may need additional certificates; check with your potential employer.
- Taxi Cab Drivers - may have extra requirements based on your local government.
- Chauffeur - depends on the vehicle.
- Tank Vehicles such as a Cement Truck require an "N" endorsement.
- HAZMAT vehicles require an "H" endorsement.
Base Requirements for a CDL
- Be a California resident.
- Must be 18 years of age.
- Must be 21 years of age to drive a commercial vehicle engaged in interstate commerice or to transport hazardous materials or wastes.
- Complete the Commerical Driver License Application (DL44C)
- Complete an approved Medical Examination Report (DL51)
For more information, visit dmv.ca.gov.