Arkansas CDL Requirements
Arkansas CDL Classes
You must be at least 18 years old to operate a commercial motor vehicle within the state of Arkansas (intrastate) and at least 21 years of age to operate a commercial motor vehicle outside the state of Arkansas (interstate). You must also be at least 21 years old to transport materials that are deemed hazardous and to transport passengers using a commercial motor vehicle. You need an Arkansas CDL in order to operate either commercial or non-commercial motor vehicles that fall into the following categories:
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.
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.
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 an Arkansas Commercial Learner’s Permit
You must first obtain a commercial learner’s permit to be eligible for an Arkansas CDL. To obtain a commercial learner’s permit you must fill out the commercial driver’s license application and pass the general knowledge written test and vision exam. There is no fee for a CLP and the permit is valid for six months from the date of issuance.
Applying for an Arkansas Commercial Driver’s License
In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license in the state of Arkansas, you must:
- Meet the requirements of an Arkansas Class D driver’s license.
- Be at least 18 years old to operate a CMV in intrastate commerce (within the state of Arkansas only).
- Be at least 21 years old to operate a CMV in interstate commerce (outside the state of Arkansas).
- Have a good driving record.
- Certify that you are in agreement with the AR motor carrier safety regulations. For more info, call (501) 682-7059 or visit FMCSA.
- Provide valid proof of your identity and date of birth (i.e., a certified birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, valid I.D. card).
- Provide valid proof of your your Social Security number (i.e., your Social Security card, W-2 form, pay stub with your name/SSN).
- Provide valid proof of U.S. legal presence (i.e., a certified birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, valid I.D. card, etc.).
- Provide valid proof of Arkansas residency that shows your name and current address (i.e., a utility bill, vehicle registration, etc.).
- Provide a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Medical Examination Report (or any applicable medical waivers).
- Provide a completed and signed copy of the Self-Certification Affidavit provided by the Arkansas DFA.
Applying for a CDL or a CLP
To apply for an Arkansas commercial driver’s license or a commercial learner’s permit you must:
- Meet the requirements for an Arkansas Class D driver’s license.
- Complete the CDL application form and submit it to the State Revenue office.
- Pass the vision exam.
- Pass the CDL written general knowledge test.
- Pass the Practical Skills Test which includes a Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection and an On-road driving test.
- Pay the $50 fee to take the CDL knowledge test.
- Pay the $42 commercial driver’s license fee.
If you have any questions regarding the CDL or CLP process, you can talk to a customer service representative at the Arkansas CDL Help Desk by calling (501) 682-1400 during normal business hours. The CDL Help Desk is closed during all state holidays.
The CDL Knowledge Tests
The CDL knowledge tests are administered by Arkansas State Police CDL examiners at all Troop Testing Sites. 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 Troop Testing Site at least one hour prior to closing when taking the knowledge tests. Most Troop Testing Sites are busier during the afternoon hours so, please keep that in mind when you plan on taking your test.
Once you successfully pass the required knowledge tests, the Arkansas Office of Driver Services will issue you a commercial learner’s permit so that you can practice operating a commercial motor vehicle. You may only operate a CMV under the supervision of a front seat passenger who is at least 18 years old and carries a valid Arkansas CDL of the same class as the class of 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 and study the Arkansas Commercial Driver License Manual, as it contains the information you need to pass the CDL knowledge tests, including some sample test questions. Applicants who are planning to take the School Bus endorsement test should download and study the Arkansas CDL Manual Section 10 – School Buses.
Click here to find an Arkansas Troop Testing Site near you that administers the CDL knowledge tests.
Our Free CDL Practice Tests will help prepare you for the actual CDL knowledge tests administered by the DMV.
The CDL Skills Test
Once you obtain your commercial learner’s permit, you will be allowed to take the CDL Skills Test. The Skills Test is only administered at the following Arkansas Troop Testing Site locations:
- Little Rock (Pulaski County) Phone: (501) 618-8252
- Newport (Jackson County) Phone: (870) 523-4849
- Russellville (Pope County) Phone: (479) 754-3096
- Hope (Hempstead County) Phone: (870) 777-4641
- Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) Phone: (870) 534-0220
- Springdale (Washington/Benton Counties) Phone: (479) 751-1141
CDL Skills Test are administered by appointment only. Walk-ins are not permitted. To schedule a Skills Test appointment, call any of the Troop Testing Sites above. You must provide your own test vehicle. The Troop Testing Site will not provide a vehicle for you to test in.
The state of Arkansas allows CDL applicants to be waived from the CDL Skills Test if they have driven certain types of vehicles for their employer for at least two years with a good driving record. Both you and your employer must complete, sign, and submit the Verification of Employment for Possible Exemption of Skills Test before you can qualify.
The CDL Skills Test is a three part test that consists of a Pre-trip Inspection, a Basic 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 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 CDL Skills Test, you will be required to retake the entire test again. Only one CDL 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 Skills Test.
- 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. If you fail the Pre-trip Inspection, you may not be allowed to take the Road Skills Test.
- Basic Controls Test: Before you can take the Road Skills 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, moving your vehicle forward, and making turns within a defined area.
- Road Skills 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:
- Observing traffic signs
- Observing traffic signals
- Observing other traffic
- Using vehicle controls
- Maintaining proper lane positions
- Downgrade stopping
- 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 Skills Test appointment you must:
- Arrive on time.
- Bring your validated commercial learner’s permit.
- Bring your valid D.O.T. medical card (cannot be more than 2 years old).
- 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.
- Bring a test vehicle that is the same class of license that you are testing for that is safe to drive.
Failure to do any of the above may result in an immediate cancellation of your CDL Skills Test appointment! The Arkansas Office of Driver Services advises applicants to schedule their Skills Test appointment a few weeks in advance and to arrive early for their test appointment. If you decide to cancel your Skills Test appointment, you must cancel the appointment no later than 24 hours in advance.
The Arkansas Office of Driver Services has the right to cancel any CDL Skills Test appointment due to bad weather, under sourced staffing, or any other unforseen circumstances. Be sure to call the Troop Testing Site on the day of your Skills Test to see if your appointment has been cancelled.
Be sure to download and study the Arkansas Commercial Driver License Manual, as it contains pertinent information that will help you pass the CDL Skills Test. The Arkansas CDL Manual Section 10 – School Buses is also available to download and study.
Click here to find an Arkansas Troop Test Site where you can take your CDL Skills Test.
Commercial Driver Self-Certification
In the state of Arkansas, 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 Self-Certification Affidavit. 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” intrastate, must complete, sign, and submit the Self-Certification Affidavit only. “Excepted” drivers do not have to submit any medical documents or waivers but, may have to undergo a medical evaluation. Please read the New Medical Certification Requirements Info Sheet for more details. 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 Arkansas CDL Help Desk by calling (501) 683-2504 or (501) 682-1400 during normal business hours. Please have your commercial driver’s license number readily available when you call. You can also email the CDL Help Desk at Mandy.Endsley@dfa.arkansas.gov. Please address your emails to Mandy Endlsey, Manager.
For more information about the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, please continue reading below.
Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver’s License
- Licensed U.S. doctor of medicine (M.D.)
- Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O)
- Licensed physician assistant (P.A.)
- Advanced practice registered nurse
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 Arkansas Office of Driver Services 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.
Once you have completed and signed the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, the Medical Examination Report, the Self-Certification Affidavit, 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 any Arkansas
- Fax your completed and signed documents to (501) 682-2100.
- Email your completed and signed documents in the pdf format (as an email attachment) to Mandy.Endsley@dfa.arkansas.gov.
- Mail your completed and signed documents to:
Safety Responsibility Section
PO Box 1272
Little Rock, AR 72203
Please include your name, address, and contact 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 about submitting your medical documents, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Arkansas CDL Help Desk by calling (501) 683-2504 or (501) 682-1400 during normal business hours. Please have your commercial driver’s license number readily available when you call. You can also email the CDL Help Desk at Mandy.Endsley@dfa.arkansas.gov. Please address your emails to Mandy Endlsey, Manager.
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.
In the state of Arkansas, 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.
If you have any questions regarding the Hazmat Endorsement or Military Skills Test Waiver process, you can talk to a customer service representative at the Arkansas CDL Help Desk by calling (501) 682-1400 during normal business hours. The CDL Help Desk is closed during all state holidays.
Arkansas 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 multiple trailer haulers.
P Passengers Indicates the CDL holder is certified to operate passenger vehicles.
S School Bus Indicates the CDL holder is authorized to operate a school bus.
Important Arkansas Commercial Driver’s License Resources
Arkansas Commercial Driver License Manual
Arkansas CDL Manual Section 10 – School Buses
Arkansas CDL Practice Tests
Verification of Employment for Possible Exemption of Skills Test
Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
New Medical Certification Requirements Info Sheet
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 Arkansas 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.
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Map of Arkansas CDL Testing Locations
**Location administers the CDL Skills Test (by appointment only).
Some CDL testing locations require you to set up an appointment. CDL testing hours may vary. Please call the testing location for more information.
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