Hawaii CDL Requirements

Hawaii CDL Classes

      You must be at least 21 years old to operate a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Hawaii. You need a Hawaii CDL in order to operate either commercial or non-commercial motor vehicles that fall into the following categories:

Class A
      Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the gross vehicle weight rating of the towed vehicle is in excess of 10,000 pounds.  

Class B
      Any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 or more pounds, as well as any vehicle towing another vehicle that does not exceed a weight of 10,000 pounds. 

Class C
      Any vehicle or combination of vehicles that does not meet the criteria of either Class A or Class B, but is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or is used in transporting materials classified as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act. Each applicant must also have a passenger or hazardous materials endorsement in order to obtain a Class C commercial driver’s license. 

Applying for a Hawaii Commercial Learner’s Permit

      You must already possess a Hawaii commercial learner’s permit before you can take the CDL Road/Skills Test. Before applying for a commercial learner’s permit in the state of Hawaii, you must already possess a valid Hawaii driver’s license. You will be issued a Hawaii commercial driver’s license when you pass both the written general knowledge test and the CDL Road/Skills Test.

      In order to obtain a Hawaii CDL learner’s permit, you must:

  • Provide a valid Hawaii driver’s license.
  • Prove that you are at least 21 years old.
  • Provide a certified birth certificate.
  • Provide an original Social Security card.
  • Provide proof of legal U.S. presence.
  • Provide proof of your current Hawaiian residency that shows your name and current address (i.e., a utility bill, vehicle registration, etc.).
  • Provide a current front facial photo (cannot be smaller than a standard passport photo).
  • Submit your current DOT physical examination (DOT 4-766).
  • Pass the CDL general knowledge test.
  • Pass the required vision exam with a minimum of 20/40 in each eye.
  • Complete, sign, and submit the Application for Commercial Driver’s License.
  • Pay the $15 fee to cover the cost of the CDL general knowledge test.
  • Pay the $30 fee to cover the cost of the commercial learner’s permit

       If you have any questions, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Hawaii DOT Customer Services Department by calling (808) 768-9311 during normal business hours. The fax number is (808) 768-3750You can also email the Customer Services Department at csd@honolulu.gov. The Hawaii Department of Transportation is closed during all state holidays.

The CDL Knowledge Tests

      The CDL knowledge tests are administered at the Hawaii Driver License Locations.  All commercial driver’s license applicants must pass the general knowledge test in order to be eligible to receive a CDL. Applicants must also take the knowledge tests whenever they add a class of vehicle to their CDL, add special endorsements to their CDL, or to remove an air brakes restriction that has been placed on their CDL.

      The CDL general knowledge test consists of 50 questions in multiple choice form. In order to receive a passing score, each applicant is required to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly in the time allotted for that test. All knowledge tests require a score of at least 80% to pass.

      Any applicant that exceeds the time limit or incorrectly answers too many questions on the general knowledge test will fail the test. Any applicant that uses any kind of test aid during the test will automatically fail the test. Anyone caught talking to another person during the test will automatically fail the test. Use of cell phones and camera devices is prohibited in the testing area. 

      All applicants should arrive at the Driver License Location at least one hour prior to closing when taking the knowledge tests. Most Driver License Locations are busier during the afternoon hours so, applicants should keep this in mind when planning their test time. You can see just how busy your nearest Driver License Location is by checking out the Driver License Location Service Lines.

      Once you successfully pass the required knowledge tests, the Hawaii Department of Transportation will issue you a commercial learner’s permit so that you can practice operating a commercial motor vehicle. The commercial learner’s permit will be valid for up to one year from the date of issuance.

      You may only renew the commercial learner’s permit once within a two year period. You may only operate a CMV under the supervision of a front seat passenger who is at least 21 years old and carries a valid Hawaii CDL of the same class as the vehicle you are operating. You may not operate any vehicle that is transporting materials deemed hazardous.

      Over 60% of first time CDL applicants fail the written test! Be sure to download the Complete CDL Practice Test Study Package, as it contains practice tests containing questions and answers specifically designed to help you pass the actual CDL written tests administered by the DMV. You may also want to download the Complete CDL Cheat Sheet Study Package as it includes a collection of study guides with key information designed to help you rapidly learn all the sections of the CDL manual you must know in order to pass the CDL written exams.

Our Free CDL Permit Tests will help prepare you for the actual CDL knowledge tests administered by the DMV.

      Click here to see the map and clickable list of Hawaii Driver License Locations that administer the CDL written knowledge tests.

Applying for a Hawaii Commercial Driver’s License

      In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license in the state of Hawaii you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Complete, sign, and submit the Application for Commercial Driver’s License.
  • Provide a valid Hawaii driver’s license.
  • Provide your Social Security card.
  • Provide your birth certificate (used to verify your age).
  • Already possess a valid Hawaii CDL learner’s permit.
  • Provide a copy of the completed Medical Examiner’s Certificate.
  • Pay the $50 Road/Skills Test fee.
  • Pay the $5 fee for each CDL endorsement.
  • Pay the $40 commercial driver’s license fee.

The CDL Road/Skills Test

      Once you obtain your commercial learner’s permit, you will be allowed to take the CDL Road/Skills Test. The Road/Skills Test is given by appointment only and is offered at the Hawaii Department of Transportation CDL Unit, in Kaneohi, HI (temporary location). Walk-ins are not permitted. You must pass all three tests at the same appointment.

      If you fail any of the CDL tests, you will be required to wait at least one week before you can take the tests again. You are required to pay the appropriate fees until you pass. The CDL Road/Skills Test fee is $50. Once you pass each test, you will be required to pay $40 to cover the cost of the commercial driver’s license. Each CDL endorsement costs $5.

      To schedule a test appointment, contact the Hawaii Department of Transportation CDL Unit at (808) 487-5534. You must provide your own test vehicle. The Hawaii Department of Transportation will not provide a vehicle for you to test in.

      The CDL Road/Skills Test is a three part test that consists of a Pre-trip Inspection, a Basic Vehicle Controls Test, and an On-Road Driving Test. You will be required to take the test in the same class and type of motor vehicle that you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL.  

      If you take the CDL Road/Skills Test in a commercial motor vehicle that is not equipped with air brakes, then you will have an air brakes restriction attached to your commercial driver’s license. If you fail any one part of the Road/Skills Test, you will be required to retake the entire test again. Only one Road/Skills Test can be taken per day. If your test vehicle is not legally equipped and safe to drive, you will not be able to proceed with the Road/Skills Test.

      The CDL Road/Skills test consists of the following:

  • Pre-trip Inspection: Before you can take the CDL driving tests, you will first be tested on your knowledge of the class of vehicle you plan on driving once you obtain your CDL. The Pre-trip inspection also determines if your commercial vehicle is safe enough to drive on public roads.
  • Basic Controls Test: Before you can take the CDL Road Test, you will first need to prove that you have the skills to operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roads. This test consists of various off-road maneuvers such as backing up your vehicle. 
  • Road Test: Once you pass the first two tests, you will be required to drive your commercial vehicle on public roads in various traffic situations. You will be required to operate the same class of commercial vehicle you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL.

The Basic Controls Test will most likely include the following maneuvers:

  • 90 degree alley docking
  • Straight line backing
  • Parallel parking (driver side)
  • Parallel parking (conventional)
  • Offset back/right
  • Offset back/left

      The Road Skills Test will be administered on a route predetermined by the examiner. The test route will most likely include the following:

  • Starting
  • Stopping
  • Braking
  • Turning
  • Observing traffic signs
  • Observing traffic signals
  • Observing other traffic
  • Using vehicle controls
  • Maintaining proper lane positions
  • Downgrades
  • Downgrade stopping
  • Upgrades
  • Upgrade stopping
  • Railroad crossings
  • Bridge clearance
  • Underpass clearance
  • General observance of traffic laws
  • General safe driving practices for trucks or buses

      On the day of your CDL Road/Skills Test appointment you must:

  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Bring your validated commercial learner’s permit.
  3. Bring your valid D.O.T. medical card (cannot be more than 2 years old).
  4. Bring a passenger (age 21 or older) that is qualified to drive a CMV with the same class of CDL or greater than the test vehicle.
  5. Bring a test vehicle that is the same class of license that you are testing for that has passed inspection.

      Failure to do any of the above may result in an immediate cancellation of your CDL Road/Skills Test appointment! The Hawaii Department of Transportation advises applicants to schedule their Road/Skills Test appointment a few weeks in advance and to arrive early for their test appointment. If you decide to cancel your Road/Skills Test appointment, you must cancel the appointment no later than 24 hours in advance. 

      The Hawaii Department of Transportation has the right to cancel any CDL Road/Skills Test appointment due to bad weather, under sourced staffing, or any other unforseen circumstances. Be sure to call on the day of your Road/Skills Test to see if your appointment has been cancelled.

      Be sure to download and study the Hawaii Commercial Driver License Manual, as it contains pertinent information that will help you pass the CDL Skills Test.

      Click here to see the map and clickable list showing the Hawaii CDL Road/Skills Test location where you can take the CDL Road/Skills Test.

Commercial Driver Self-Certification

      In the state of Hawaii, all commercial driver’s license holders must self-certify as to what type of driving they will be doing (intrastate or interstate), and whether they meet or exceed the medical and physical standards put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to legally and safely operate a commercial motor vehicle. All CDL applicants must self-certify once they obtain their commercial driver’s license.

      You are required to self-certify whenever you:

  • Apply for a commercial driver’s license.
  • Renew a commercial driver’s license.
  • Apply for a higher class of commercial driver’s license.
  • Apply for a new CDL endorsement.
  • Transfer a commercial driver’s license from another state.

      All commercial drivers who intend to operate a commercial motor vehicle for the following purposes only, do not require a commercial driver’s license and are considered “exempt” and therefore are waived from self-certification:

  • Fire and emergency vehicles used to preserve life and property or to carry out governmental operations.
  • Vehicles operated by non-civilian operators of military equipment.
  • Recreational vehicles that are being used for personal recreational use only.
  • Any farm vehicle used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies within 150 air-miles of the owner’s farm and not used in the operation of a common or contract motor carrier.

      If you intend to operate a commercial motor vehicle for any other purpose than those listed above, then you are considered “non-exempt” and are required to hold a valid CDL and must self-certify. You may also need to provide a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate.

      If you operate a commercial motor vehicle in either intrastate or interstate commerce solely for the following purposes, then you are under “excepted” status, and therefore do not need to provide a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, but may need to undergo a medical evaluation:

  • Transporting school children and/or school staff members between home and school.
  • Operating any vehicle as an employee of either Federal, State, or Local government.
  • Operating fire and rescue vehicles for emergency purposes and other related events.
  • Transporting sick, injured, or deceased persons.
  • Primarily transporting propane heating fuel when responding to an emergency condition requiring an immediate response.
  • When responding to a pipeline emergency requiring an immediate response such as a pipeline leak or rupture.
  • When custom harvesting on a farm or to haul farm machinery and supplies to and from a farm or when transporting crops between a farm and a market or storage facility.
  • When operating a farm vehicle that is not a combo vehicle (power unit and towed unit), and is used to haul agricultural products, farm supplies (cannot be materials deemed hazardous), or farm machinery to and from a farm and within 150 air miles of the farm.
  • Transporting bees as an apiarist during beekeeping season.
  • When transporting migrant workers.
  • As a private motor carrier of passengers for non-business activities.

      If you intend to operate a commercial motor vehicle for any other purpose than those listed above, then you operate in either “non-excepted” intrastate commerce, “non-excepted” interstate commerce, or both. “Non excepted” interstate drivers and “non-excepted” intrastate drivers must provide a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate along with a completed and signed copy of the CDL Driver’s Self-Certification Form. The Medical Examiner’s Certificate cannot expire within 60 days from the date of submission.

      Any commercial drivers who self-certify as “excepted” interstate or “excepted” intrastatemust complete, sign, and submit either the CDL Driver’s Self-Certification Form only. “Excepted” drivers do not have to submit any medical documents or waivers but, may have to undergo a medical evaluation. Please check out the New Medical Certification Requirements FAQs for more information. You can submit your documents by mail, fax, email, or in person no matter what your self-certification status is.

      If you have any questions regarding self-certification, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Hawaii Department of Transportation CDL Help Desk by calling (808) 692-7655 during normal business hours. Please have your commercial driver’s license number readily available when you callYou can also email the CDL Help Desk at John.Lovstedt@hawaii.gov. Please address your emails to John Lovstedt.

      For more information about the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, please continue reading below.

Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver’s License

      All CDL applicants must have the Medical Examiner’s Certificate and the Medical Examination Report completed by one of the following:

  • Licensed U.S. doctor of medicine (M.D.)
  • Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O)
  • Licensed physician assistant (P.A.)
  • Advanced practice registered nurse
  • Chiropractor

      The Medical Examiner’s Certificate must be attached to the Medical Examination Report and dated within the previous two years if you are renewing your commercial driver’s license. If you are a first time CDL applicant submitting your Medical Examiner’s Certificate, then the certificate must not expire within 60 days from the date of submission.

      The Hawaii Department of Transportation will only accept your medical forms if they have been completed by a qualified physician who has been certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can search for a FMCSA certified physician by using the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

      The FMSCA requires you to have at least 20/40 vision in each eye and a field of vision of at least 140 degrees (70 degrees in each eye) in order to be certified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Under certain conditions, you may be able to be waived from these and other medical requirements. Read over and, if applicable, complete, sign, and submit the Application for Intrastate Medical Waiver.

      Once you have completed and signed the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, the Medical Examination Report, the CDL Driver’s Self-Certification Form, and any applicable medical waivers, you can submit your documents by doing any of the following:

  • Bring your completed and signed documents in person to the CDL Office
  • Fax your completed and signed documents to (808) 487-5248.
  • Email your completed and signed documents in PDF format (as an email attachment) to driverrecords.hwyv@hawaii.gov.
  • Mail your completed and signed documents to:

                              Motor Vehicle Safety Office
                              601 Kamokila Blvd
                              CDL Helpdesk
                              Room 511
                              Kapolei, HI 96707

      Please include your name, address, and contact phone number on all mailings and faxes. Make sure your information is legible and be sure to double check and, if needed, correct any errors before submitting your documents. All CDL applicants are advised to keep copies of these documents for their own records. Failure to comply with state and federal self-certification regulations will result in a suspension, downgrade, or cancellation of your commercial driving privileges.

       If you have any questions regarding medical documents submission, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Hawaii Department of Transportation CDL Help Desk by calling (808) 692-7655 during normal business hours. Please have your commercial driver’s license number readily available when you callYou can also email the CDL Help Desk at John.Lovstedt@hawaii.gov. Please address your emails to John Lovstedt.

Hazmat Endorsement

      Any person that is applying for a Hazardous Materials CDL endorsement is required to undergo a federal background check and federal fingerprint check according to guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration. All applicants must also provide the required documents to verify their identification and legal U.S. status. For more information, check out the Transportation Security Administration’s F.A.Q. page.

      You can apply for the security threat assessment on the TSA Hazardous Material Endorsement Enrollment Website. You must begin applying at least 30 days before the expiration of your CDL. You can start the application process on the HTAP Online Application Website. To apply by phone call (855) 347-8371. Use the TSA Enrollment Center Locator to find the nearest TSA approved fingerprint office.

Military Drivers

      In the state of Hawaii, if you are currently serving in the military or have been honorably discharged within the last 90 days, and you have driven military vehicles that would require a CDL to operate as a civilian with a 2 year safe driving record, then you may qualify for the waiver of the CDL Skills Test and may be exempt from taking the commercial driver skills test. You will still be required to take the written tests. Certain restrictions apply. Download, print, and complete the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver to start the process.

Hawaii CDL Endorsements

      H      Placarded Hazmat      Required to transport hazardous materials under DOT regulations. 

      N      Tank Vehicles      Required to transport liquids in bulk containers of 1,000 gallons or more.

      X      Tanker/Hazardous Materials Combination   Required to transport hazardous materials in tank vehicles.   

      T      Double/Triple Trailers      Indicates CDL holder is certified to operate double or triple trailers. 

      P      Passengers      Indicates the CDL holder is certified to operate commercial vehicles transporting 16 passengers or more.

      S      School Bus      Indicates the CDL holder is authorized to operate a school bus. 

Methods of Payment

      All Driver Licensing Offices accept the following methods of payment:

  • Cash
  • Personal Check
  • Cashier’s Check
  • Money Order 

      Please note that credit and debit cards are not accepted. All fees are non-refundable and are subject to change without notice.

Important Hawaii Commercial Driver’s License Resources

Complete CDL Practice Test Study Package
Complete CDL Cheat Sheet Study Package

Driver License Location Service Lines
Application for Hawaii Commercial Driver’s License
Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
Application for Intrastate Medical Waiver
New Medical Certification Requirements FAQs
CDL Driver’s Self-Certification Form
Medical Examination Report Form 649-F
Medical Examiner’s Certificate
National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners


      Check out our list of truck driving schools in Hawaii that will provide you with the necessary skills to obtain your commercial driver’s license and start your career in the exciting field of commercial truck driving! You may also want to check out our nationwide list of truck driving schools.

If you found this article helpful, feel free to share it on Google Plus and Facebook using the buttons below.



Map of Hawaii CDL Testing Locations 



*This driver licensing office has moved to a temporary location.

Some CDL testing locations require you to set up an appointment. CDL testing hours may vary. Please call the testing location for more information. 

Please Note: Some of the documents linked on this page are in the Adobe Portable Document Format, also known as “PDF.” Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view, fill out and print forms. If you have problems with Adobe Acrobat Reader, see the Adobe Troubleshooting page for possible solutions.

© 2020 Truck Driving Schools Info. All rights reserved. | Home | About | ContactTerms | Privacy


3/5 - (2 votes)