Texas CDL Requirements

CDL Classes in Texas

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

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

      In order to obtain commercial learner’s permit in the state of Texas, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old for intrastate driving (within the state of Texas only).
  • Be at least 21 years of age for interstate driving (outside the state of Texas).
  • 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 Texas Class D driver’s license.
  • Provide your current out-of-state driver’s license or I.D. card (if you are not currently licensed in the state of Texas).
  • Provide original documented proof of your identification and date of birth.
  • Provide original documented proof of your Social Security number.
  • Provide original documented proof of U.S. legal presence.
  • Provide proof of your current Texas residency that shows your name and address (i.e., a utility bill, vehicle registration, filed tax return).
  • Complete, sign, and submit the Texas Residency Affidavit if you cannot provide proof of current Texas residency.
  • Complete, sign, and submit the Application for Texas Driver License or Identification Card.
  • Consent to be photographed, fingerprinted, and provide your signature.
  • 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.
  • Self-certify that you intend to drive a CMV in either intrastate commerce or interstate commerce.
  • 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 $16, $20, or $24 fee for the commercial learner’s permit.

      If you have any questions about which documents to bring to your nearest Texas Driver License Office when you apply for your commercial learner’s permit, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Texas Department of Public Safety Customer Service Center by calling (512) 424-2600. The Espanol phone number is (512) 424-7181. The Customer Service Center is open Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, except state holidays.

The CDL Written Tests

      The CDL written tests are administered at most Driver License Offices. 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. 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 Driver License Office at least one hour prior to closing when taking the written tests. 

      Once you successfully pass the CDL general knowledge written test, the Tennessee Department of Safety 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 21 years old and carries a valid Texas 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 Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook, 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 maps and clickable lists of Driver License Offices that administer the CDL written knowledge tests.

Applying for a Texas Commercial Driver’s License

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

  • Possess a valid Texas commercial learner’s permit.
  • Possess a valid Texas Class D driver’s license.
  • Possess a current D.O.T. card (cannot be more than 2 years old).
  • Provide proof of vehicle liability insurance and vehicle registration (must be verified before you can take the test).
  • Self-certify that you intend to drive a CMV in either intrastate commerce or interstate commerce.
  • 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 Texas CDL to ride with you in your test vehicle to the test location.
  • Apply in person at a Driver License Office and complete the Qualifications of Interstate Driver Certification Form (Interstate drivers).
  • Apply in person at a Driver License Office and complete the Qualifications of Intrastate Driver Certification and Exemption Form (Intrastate drivers only).
  • Apply in person at a Driver License Office and complete the Certification of Physical Exemption Form (only if applicable).
  • Complete, sign, and submit the Supplement Application Texas Commercial Driver License Certifications.
  • Schedule an appointment for the CDL Skills Test.
  • Pass the CDL Skills Test.
  • Pay the $61 fee for a 5 year commercial driver’s license (the fee is $26 for a 2 year CDL for persons age 85 and older)   
  • Pay the 121 fee for a non-resident CDL (for non-U.S. residents only)
  • Pay the $10 fee for each CDL endorsement or restriction.
  • 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 Test at any Texas Driver License Office that conducts the test. The CDL Skills Test is given by appointment only. Walk-ins are not permitted. To schedule a test appointment, contact a Texas Driver License Office that administers the CDL Skills Test. Some Driver License Offices allow you to schedule a CDL Skills Test appointment online.

      In the State of Texas, the CDL Skills Test is a two part test that consists of an Air Brake Safety Inspection and a Road 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. If your test vehicle does not pass the examiner’s safety inspection, then you will not be allowed to take the CDL Skills Test and will be required to return on a later date with a test vehicle that meets the safety standards. 

  • Air Brake Safety Inspection:  The Air Brake Safety Inspection is the first part of the CDL Skills Test and is graded on a pass/fail basis. If you cannot successfully pass the Air Brake Safety Test, you will not be allowed to proceed to the Road Test, and will be required to retake the entire test again. In order to pass the Air Brake Safety Test, the driver must be able to demonstrate that they possess the adequate knowledge and skills to perform a complete air brakes safety inspection.
  • Road Test: Once you successfully pass the Air Brake Safety Test, 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 Air Brake Safety Inspection will include the following:

  • Leak in air brake system
  • Warning signals
  • Emergency brakes

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

  • Starting
  • Quick Smooth Stopping
  • Backing
  • Parallel Parking
  • Upshifting
  • Downshifting
  • Making a Lane Change
  • Merging
  • Proper Use of Lanes
  • Right-of-Way
  • Proper Posture
  • Approach to Corners
  • Traffic Signs
  • Traffic Signals
  • Left Turns
  • Right Turns

      The examiner will guide you through the test in a calm and efficient manner. If you perform the required maneuvers successfully, then you will be issued a commercial driver’s license. If you do not perform the required maneuvers successfully, then you will be required to retake the Road Test again on a different day.

      The following issues will result in a failing score of the Road Test:

  1. Having more than 30 deductions in one Road Test.
  2. Being the cause of or having an accident.
  3. Hazardous driving.
  4. Not obeying the examiner’s instructions.
  5. Breaking the law.

      Check out Record of CDL Examination to see exactly what you will be graded on during the CDL Skills Test.

     On the day of your CDL 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 and that has passed inspection.

      Failure to do any of the above may result in an immediate cancellation of your CDL Skills Test appointment! The Texas Department of Public Safety 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 less than 24 hours before your scheduled test date and time.

      The Texas Department of Public Safety 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 Driver License Office on the day of your Skills Test to see if your appointment has been cancelled.

      Be sure to download and study the Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook, as it contains pertinent information that will help you pass the CDL Skills Test. 

      Click here to see the maps and clickable lists of Driver License Offices that conduct the CDL Skills Test.

Commercial Driver Self-Certification

      In the state of Texas, 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:

  • Any vehicle used to transport seed cotton modules or cotton burrs exclusively. 
  • 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:

  • 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. You are considered a “non-excepted” interstate driver if you:

  1. Cross Texas state lines while operating a commercial vehicle.
  2. Transport any cargo that originated from outside the state of Texas or is headed to a destination that is outside the state of Texas.

      You are considered a”non-excepted” intrastate driver if you:

  1. Operating a commercial vehicle within the state of Texas only.
  2. Transport any cargo that originated within the state of Texas and is headed to a destination within Texas state lines.

      “Non excepted” interstate drivers and “non-excepted” intrastate drivers must submit a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate along with a completed and signed copy of the Texas Commercial Driver License Self-Certification Affidavit. The Medical Examiner’s Certificate cannot expire within 60 days from the date of submission. All “excepted” interstate drivers and “excepted” intrastate drivers must complete, sign, and submit the Texas Commercial Driver License Self-Certification Affidavit only. “Excepted” drivers do not haven to submit a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, but may still have to undergo a physical examination. All drivers, no matter what their self-certification status is, can submit their documents by mail, fax, or email.

      If you have any questions regarding self-certification, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Texas Department of Public Safety Customer Service Center by calling (512) 424-2600. The Espanol phone number is (512) 424-7181. The Customer Service Center is open Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, except state holidays.

      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 Texas Department of Public Safety 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 Texas Commercial Driver License Self-Certification Affidavit, and any applicable medical waivers, you can submit your documents by doing any of the following:

  • Fax your completed and signed documents to (512) 424-2002.
  • Scan and email your completed and signed documents in PDF format (as an email attachment) to CDLMedCert@dps.texas.gov.      
  • Mail your completed and signed documents to:

                              Texas Department of Public Safety 
                              Enforcement & Compliance Service 
                              Attention: CDL Section 
                              P.O. Box 4087 
                              Austin, Texas 78773                                                                                                 

      Please include your name, address, and contact 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 suspension of your commercial driving privileges.

         If you have any questions regarding self-certification, you can speak to a customer service representative at the Texas Department of Public Safety Customer Service Center by calling (512) 424-2600. The Espanol phone number is (512) 424-7181. The Customer Service Center is open Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, except state holidays.

Farm Related Service Industry Waiver

      The required CDL knowledge test and CDL Skills Test will be waived by the Texas Department of Public Safety for individuals who work in farm-related service industry under the following conditions:

  • Farm suppliers and retail outlets
  • Livestock feeders
  • Custom harvesters (cotton modular operators included)
  • Agri-chemical businesses

      Commercial driver’s licenses with an attached Farm Related Service Industry waiver are only issued for Class B and Class C vehicles.     

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 Texas, 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 Texas Department of Public Safety Customer Service Center by calling (512) 424-2600. The Espanol phone number is (512) 424-7181. The Customer Service Center is open Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, except state holidays.

Texas 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.  

Texas CDL Restrictions

      L      No Air Brakes

      M      Intrastate Only

      P      Licensed CDL Operator Required in Front Seat

Methods of Payment

      The Texas Driver License Offices accept the following methods of payment:

  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Money Orders
  • Credit Cards 

      All fees are non-refundable and are subject to change without notice. Not all driver license offices accept credit cards or debit cards. If you plan on paying with a debit or credit card, be sure to call the driver license office ahead of time to confirm that they accept this form of payment.

Important Texas Commercial Driver’s License Resources 

Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook
Texas CDL Practice Tests
Application for Texas Driver License or Identification Card
Supplement Application Texas Commercial Driver License Certifications
Texas Department of Public Safety Acceptable Documents of Identification
Texas Residency Affidavit
Record of CDL Examination
Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
Qualifications of Interstate Driver Certification Form CDL-4
Qualifications of Intrastate Driver Certification and Exemption Form CDL-5
Certification of Physical Exemption Form CDL-10
Texas Commercial Driver License Self-Certification Affidavit
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 Texas 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 1 of Texas Driver License Offices (Cities A to G)

 

**The CDL Skills 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.

 

Map 2 of Texas Driver License Offices (Cities G to S)

 

**The CDL Skills 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.

 

Map 3 of Texas Driver License Offices (Cities S to Z)

 

**The CDL Skills 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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Texas CDL Requirements
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