District of Columbia CDL Requirements

District of Columbia CDL Classes

      You must be at least 18 years old to operate a commercial motor vehicle within the District of Columbia (intrastate) and at least 21 years of age to operate a commercial motor vehicle outside the District of Columbia (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 a commercial driver’s license 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 District of Columbia Commercial Learner’s Permit

      You must already possess a District of Columbia commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before you can take the CDL Skills Road Test. Before applying for a District of Columbia commercial learner’s permit, you must already possess a valid District of Columbia Class D driver’s license. You will be issued a District of Columbia commercial driver’s license (CDL) when you pass both the written general knowledge test and the CDL Skills Road Test. 

      In order to obtain a District of Columbia commercial learner’s permit, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old for intrastate driving (within the District of Columbia only).
  • Be at least 21 years of age for interstate driving (outside the District of Columbia).
  • Be at least 21 years of age to transport materials deemed hazardous.
  • Be at least 21 years of age to transport passengers in a CMV.
  • Possess a valid District of Columbia Class D driver’s license with at least two years of driving experience.
  • Provide your current out-of-state driver’s license or I.D. card (if you are not currently licensed in the District of Columbia).
  • Provide original documented proof of your age and identification.
  • Provide original documented proof of your Social Security number.
  • Provide original documented proof of U.S. legal presence.
  • Provide proof of your current D.C. residency that shows your name and address (i.e., a utility bill, vehicle registration, current filed tax return, etc.).
  • Provide your current Medical Examiner’s Certificate and completed Medical Examination Report (or medical waivers).  
  • Certify that your privilege to drive any motor vehicle is not currently suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified anywhere.
  • Certify that you currently hold no more than one driver’s license.
  • Pass the physical exam (must be administered by a FMCSA certified physician).
  • Pass the vision exam (you must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye with or without glasses).
  • Pass the color blindness test (you must be able to recognize green, red, and amber colors).
  • Pass the CDL written knowledge test.
  • Pay the $10 CDL written test fee for each test.
  • Pay the $39 commercial learner’s permit fee.

      If you have any questions about which documents to bring to your nearest District of Columbia DMV Service Center when you apply for your commercial learner’s permit, you can speak to a customer service representative at the District of Columbia Customer Service Center by calling (202) 737-4404 during normal business hours. You can also contact the DMV by email at dmv@dc.gov. The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles is closed during state holidays.

The CDL Written Tests

      The CDL written tests are administered at the District of Columbia DMV Service Centers. The tests are administered in multiple choice format. All commercial driver’s license applicants must pass the general knowledge written test in order to be eligible to receive a CDL. 

      The CDL general knowledge test consists of 50 questions. 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 written tests require a score of at least 80% to pass. All applicants are allowed two test attempts per day. The fee paid for each test allows the applicant to take the same test twice before they must pay again.

      Any applicant that exceeds the time limit or incorrectly answers too many questions on the general knowledge test will fail. 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 DMV Service Center at least one hour prior to closing when taking the written tests. DMV Service Centers are typically busier in the afternoon hours so, applicants should keep this in mind when planning their test time.

      Once you successfully pass the CDL general knowledge written test, the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles will issue you a commercial learner’s permit so that you can practice operating a commercial motor vehicle of the same class (you are permitted to operate a lesser class vehicle as well).

      The commercial learner’s permit will be valid for 6 months (180 consecutive days) from the date of issuance. You are permitted to renew the commercial learner’s permit once in a two year period. You may only operate a commercial motor vehicle under the supervision of a front seat passenger who is at least 21 years old and carries a valid district of Columbia CDL of the same class or greater than 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 District of Columbia Commercial Driver License Manual, as it contains the information you need to pass the CDL tests, including some sample test questions.  

     Our Free CDL Practice 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 District of Columbia DMV Service Centers where you can take the CDL written knowledge tests.

Applying for a District of Columbia Commercial Driver’s License

      In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license in the District of Columbia, you must:

  • Possess a valid District of Columbia commercial learner’s permit.
  • Possess a valid District of Columbia Class D driver’s license with at least two years of driving experience.
  • Provide your current Medical Examiner’s Certificate and completed Medical Examination Report (or medical waivers). 
  • Provide proof of vehicle insurance and vehicle registration (must be verified before you can take the test).
  • Certify that your privilege to drive any motor vehicle is not currently suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified anywhere.
  • Provide a test vehicle of the same class as the CDL you are testing for that has passed inspection.
  • Provide a passenger that is 21 years of age or older with a valid District of Columbia CDL to ride with you in your test vehicle to the test location.
  • Schedule an appointment for the CDL Skills Test.
  • Pass the CDL Skills Road Test.
  • Pay the $10 CDL Skills Road Test fee.
  • Pay the $20 fee for each CDL endorsement.
  • Complete, sign, and submit the Commercial Driver License Application to the Brentwood CDL Center.
  • Complete, sign, and submit the Commercial Driver License Supplemental Form to the Brentwood CDL Center.
  • Pay the $117 commercial driver’s license fee (the CDL is valid for up to 8 years).
  • Have your photo taken for the commercial driver’s license.

The CDL Skills Test

      Once you obtain your commercial learner’s permit, you will be allowed to schedule an appointment to take the CDL Skills Road Test at the Commercial Driver License Road Test Lot. The District of Columbia DMV will not provide a vehicle for you to test in. You must provide your own test vehicle. The CDL Skills Road Test is given by appointment only. Walk-ins are not permitted. To schedule a test appointment, dial 311, call (202)737-4404 or use the online Road Test Appointment Scheduler.   

      The CDL Skills Road 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 Skills Road 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 Road Test, you will be required to retake the entire test again. Only one Road Test can be taken per day. If you fail the CDL Skills Road Test, you will be required to wait at least 60 days before you can retest.

  • 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 to the right
  • Offset back to the 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 Skills Road Test appointment you must:

  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Bring your validated commercial learner’s permit and regular driver’s license.
  3. Bring your valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate and completed Medical Examination Report (or medical waivers).
  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 and that has passed inspection.

      Failure to do any of the above may result in an immediate cancellation of your CDL Skills Road Test appointment! The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles advises applicants to schedule their Skills Road Test appointment a few weeks in advance and to arrive early for their test appointment. 

      If you decide to cancel your Skills Road Test appointment, you must cancel the appointment no less than 48 hours before your scheduled test date and time or you will be charged a $30 cancellation fee. To cancel your appointment, dial 311 or call (202) 737-4404. 

      The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles has the right to cancel any CDL Skills Road Test appointment due to bad weather, under sourced staffing, or any other unforseen circumstances. Be sure to call the DMV Service Center on the day of your Skills Road Test to see if your appointment has been cancelled.

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

      Click here to see the map and clickable list showing the location of the Commercial Driver License Road Test Lot where you can take the CDL Skills Road Test. 

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 District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles 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, and any applicable medical waivers, you can submit your documents by doing any of the following:

  • Fax your completed and signed documents to (202) 576-9217.
  • Scan and email your completed and signed documents in PDF format (as an email attachment) to dmvcdl@gc.gov.      
  • Mail your completed and signed documents to:

                              Brentwood Commercial Driver License Center
                              1205 Brentwood Road, NE
                              Washington, DC 20018                                                                                         

      Please include your name, address, and contact phone number on all mailings, faxes, and emails. 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 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 District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles CDL Office by calling (202) 576-8278 or (202) 576-8283 during normal business hours. You can also contact the CDL Office by email at dmvcdl@dc.gov.

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 District of Columbia, 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 about the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver,you can speak to a customer service representative at the District of Columbia Customer Service Center by calling (202) 737-4404 during normal business hours. You can also contact the DMV by email at dmv@dc.gov. The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles is closed during state holidays.

District of Columbia 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.  

Methods of Payment

      All District of Columbia DMV Service Centers accept the following methods of payment:

  • Cash 
  • Checks
  • Money Orders
  • Discover
  • MasterCard
  • VISA

      Cash payments are not accepted at the Brentwood Road Test/CDL Office or the CDL Testing Facility. All fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice.

Important District of Columbia Commercial Driver’s License Resources

District of Columbia Commercial Driver License Manual
District of Columbia CDL Practice Tests
Commercial Driver License Application
Road Test Appointment Scheduler
Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
Commercial Driver License Supplemental 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 Maryland or our list of truck driving schools in Virginia 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 District of Columbia DMV Service Centers

TitleAddress
1. Brentwood Commercial Drivers License Center 1205 Brentwood Road NE, Washington, DC 20018
2. CDL Road Test Lot** 2390 S. Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20032
3. Georgetown Service Center 3222 M Street NW, Canal Level, Washington, DC 20007
4. Penn Branch Service Center Penn Branch Shopping Center, 3220 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20020
5. Rhode Island Service Center 2350 Washington Place NE, Suite 112N, Washington, DC 20018
6. Southwest Service Center 95 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20024

 

 **The CDL Skills Road Test is conducted at this 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.

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District of Columbia CDL Requirements
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