Commercial Driver's License in New York

A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required in the United States to operate large, heavy, or placarded hazardous material vehicles in commerce. Several types of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) require a valid commercial driver's license to operate. Employers actively seek CDL drivers with one of these license classes, so get the one you need before applying for your dream job.

What Are CDLs in New York

A Commercial Driver's License is required to operate commercial motor vehicles such as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, dump trucks, and passenger buses. If you want to work on the road rather than in an office, you'll almost certainly need a CDL. CDLs are classified into three types:

Class A CDL

To operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, a Class A commercial driver's license is required, provided the towed vehicle is heavier than 10,000 pounds. You can drive the following vehicles with a Class A CDL and the necessary endorsements:
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Truck and trailer combinations
  • Tank vehicles
  • Livestock carriers
  • Flatbeds

Class B CDL

A Class B commercial driver's license must operate a single vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds or tow a vehicle not weighing more than 10,000 pounds. You can drive the following vehicles with a Class B CDL and the appropriate endorsements:
  • Straight trucks
  • Large passenger buses
  • Segmented buses
  • Box trucks
  • Dump trucks with small trailers
  • Tractor-trailers

Class C CDL

To operate a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more occupants (including you, the driver) or hazardous materials (HazMat), materials classified as hazardous under federal law, you must have a Class C commercial driver's license. You can drive the following vehicles with a Class C CDL and the necessary endorsements:
  • Small HazMat vehicles
  • Passenger vans
  • Combination vehicles not covered by Classes A or B

Get Your New York CDL

To drive a commercial truck in New York, you must be at least 18 years old to drive within the state and 21 years old to drive out of state, haul hazardous materials, or transport students in a school bus. If your vehicle or commercial vehicle falls into the Class A, B, or C categories, you need a New York CDL.


  • You must have a CDL learner's permit.
  • You must have a valid New York State driver's license.
  • Have a valid D.O.T. card that is no more than two years old.
  • Proof of insurance and vehicle registration is required.
  • Provide a test vehicle of the same class as the one being tested for (must display a valid inspection sticker)
  • Provide a passenger who is 21 years of age or older and has a valid New York State CDL license to accompany you to the test site in your test vehicle.
  • To obtain your CDL, you must pay the applicable fees.
  • Pass the knowledge and driving test

Physical Requirements

  • Both eyes' vision and each eye individually must be 20/40 with a field of vision of at least 140 degrees (70 degrees in each eye). Visual enhancement devices such as glasses or contacts are permitted.
  • Colors found on traffic signals must be distinguishable.
  • At a distance of at least 5 feet, you should be able to detect a forced whisper.
  • The maximum permissible blood pressure is 160/100. It is permissible to use prescription medication to meet this criterion.
  • An applicant may have diabetes that is managed with diet or medication. Diabetes that is managed with insulin injections is not permitted.
  • Blood sugar levels must be less than 200.
  • There is no use of a Schedule 1 drug, amphetamine, narcotic, or any other habit-forming substance.

CDL Fees

  • $10 for a commercial learner's permit
  • Additional tests performed following the initial C.L.P. appointment - $5
  • Road Test for CDL - $40 (each additional road test is $40)
  • CDL Fee - $164.50 ($180.50 for Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District applicants) plus $5 for each CDL endorsement obtained.

New York CDL Test

CDL Knowledge Test

The knowledge test consists of 50 questions designed to assess the applicant's knowledge of New York and Federal driving regulations and laws; to pass, the applicant must score at least 80%.

CDL Road Test

The applicant can proceed to the road test after passing the knowledge test. This test is divided into three sections: a pre-trip inspection, a basic controls test, and a road skills test. In the Pre-Trip Inspection, applicants should expect to demonstrate that their vehicle is safe to drive on public roads and perform Basic Controls such as backing, docking, and parallel parking. The Road Skills Test will cover starting, stopping, braking, turning, observing traffic signs and signals, using vehicle controls, bridge, and underpass clearance, maintaining proper lane positions, general safe driving practices, and more.