Michigan CDL Requirements

Michigan CDL Classes

      You must be at least 18 years old to operate a commercial motor vehicle within the state of Michigan (intrastate) and at least 21 years of age to drive a commercial motor vehicle across Michigan state lines (interstate). You must also be at least 21 years old to transport materials that are deemed hazardous and require a placard. You need a Michigan 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 Michigan Commercial Learner’s Permit

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

      In order to obtain a Michigan commercial learner’s permit, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old for intrastate driving (within the state of Michigan).
  • Be at least 21 years of age for interstate driving (outside the state of Michigan).
  • Be at least 21 years of age to transport materials deemed hazardous.
  • Complete, sign, and submit the Commercial Driver License Application.
  • Possess a valid Michigan operator’s license.
  • Provide your Social Security card.
  • Prove you are of legal U.S. status by providing the required documents .
  • Provide proof of your current Michigan residency that shows your name and current address (i.e., a utility bill, vehicle registration, etc.).
  • Provide your current D.O.T. Medical Examiner’s Certificate and completed Medical Examination Report Form (cannot be more than 2 years old).
  • Pass the CDL general knowledge written test. 

      If you have any questions about which documents to bring to your local Michigan Secretary of State office when you apply for your commercial learner’s permit, you can call the Michigan Department of State Information Center toll-free at (888) 767-6424 and speak to a customer service representative from Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. 

The CDL Written Tests

      All commercial driver’s license applicants must pass the general knowledge written test in order to be eligible to receive a CDL. All CDL knowledge tests are in written form, unless you have limited reading skills, in which case you can request to take the pre-recorded oral tests (the Hazardous Materials endorsement test is only in written form).  

      In order to receive a passing score, each applicant is required to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly. All written tests require a score of at least 80% to pass. Applicants applying for a Class A CDL will be required to take a 70 question written test (includes a 20 question combination test).

      Applicants applying for either a Class B or Class C CDL will be required to take a 50 question written test.  All CDL endorsement tests consist of 20 questions, except for the Hazardous Materials endorsement test, which consists of 30 questions. 

      Be sure to download and study the Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual as it contains the information you need to pass the CDL knowledge 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 a map and clickable list of Michigan Secretary of State branch locations that offer the CDL written tests.      

Applying for a Michigan Commercial Driver’s License

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

  • Possess a valid Michigan commercial learner’s permit.
  • Possess a current D.O.T. card (cannot be more than 2 years old).
  • Provide proof of vehicle insurance and vehicle registration (must be verified before you can take the test).
  • Provide a passenger with a valid Michigan CDL to ride with you in your test vehicle to the test location.
  • Pass the CDL general knowledge written test.
  • Pass the CDL Skills Test.
  • Pay the $25 license fee for the commercial driver’s license.
  • Pay the $5 fee for each additional CDL endorsement.

The CDL Skills Test

      The CDL Skills Test consists of a Pre-trip Inspection, a Basic Vehicle Controls Test, and an On-Road Driving Test, and must be taken in the same class and type of motor vehicle 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. 

  • 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 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.

      Each test phase must be passed in order to move onto the next test phase. If you fail even one phase of the test, then the entire examination will end. You are allowed only one test attempt per day and must start from the very beginning on each attempt.

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

     Click here to see a map and clickable list of Michigan state approved third party CDL Skills Test sites.

Commercial Driver Self-Certification

      In the state of Michigan, all commercial driver’s license applicants must self-certify as to what type of driving they will be doing (intrastate or interstate), and if they have met all the FMCSA medical requirements. You can download and print a copy of the Michigan D.O.S. CDL Self-Certification Form here. To find out more about self-certifying in the state of Michigan:

  • Call the Michigan Trucking Association for intrastate (inside MI) driver certification at (517) 321-1951 or by going to www.mitrucking.org.
  • Call the FMCSA for interstate (outside MI) driver certification at (517) 853-5990 or by going to www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
  • Call the Michigan Department of Education for school bus driver certification at (517) 373-6388 or by going to http://www.michigan.gov/mde.

Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver’s License

      In order to apply for a commercial driver’s license, you 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 dated within the previous two years and attached to the Medical Examination Report (Form 649-F). The Michigan Department of State 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 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.     

      You can self-certify online by using the Michigan D.O.S CDL Self and Medical Certification Online Database. You can view this demonstration video of the entire process if you are not sure what to do. 

      If you choose not to self-certify online, then you can submit your completed and signed Medical Examiner’s CertificateMedical Examination Report, and Michigan D.O.S. CDL Self-Certification Form by doing any of the following:

                              Michigan Department of State
                              CDL Help Desk
                              7064 Crowner Drive
                              Lansing, MI 48918 

      Be sure to double check that your information is correct before you fax, send, or hand in your documents. 

Hazmat Endorsement

      In the state of Michigan, any person 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 Michigan, 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 Military Skills Test Waiver, you may call the Michigan Department of State Information Center toll-free at (888) 767-6424 and speak to a customer service representative Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Michigan 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. The “P” endorsement is also required.

Important Michigan Commercial Driver’s License Resources 

Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual
Michigan CDL Practice Tests
Commercial Driver License Application
Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
Michigan D.O.S CDL Self and Medical Certification Online Database
Michigan D.O.S. CDL 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 Michigan 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 Michigan CDL Written Test Locations 

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

 

Map of Michigan CDL Skills Test Locations

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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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Michigan CDL Requirements
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