- You must be at least 21 years of age in order to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines, transport passengers or hazardous materials. You may drive commercial vehicles if you are 18 years old, but are restricted to only driving within California.
- Federal regulations require that all CDL applicants disclose to the state whether they have been issued a license in any name, to operate any type of vehicle in another state within the last 10 years. If the answer is yes, you must fill out a 10 Year History Record Check Form (DL939) and submit the completed form when you submit your CDL application.
- New Federal regulations also require that anyone applying for a commercial driver’s license in California who has an original or is renewing a HazMat endorsement must undergo a security threat assessment.
The USA Patriot Act requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to do a full background check before the Department of Motor Vehicles is allowed to issue a HazMat endorsement.
The TSA background check is started after your apply for your CDL at the DMV, after you have successfully completed all the test and after you have submitted a Medical Examination Report form. Once all that has been done, you can go online to http://hazprints.com, or call 1-877-429-7746 and make an appointment with a TSA agent.
There will be a $94 Federal fee required and you must submit that fee and any additional information for which you’re asked, to the TSA agent. The agent will let you know about the fingerprint requirements. You should also be prepared to provide the agent with your Commercial Instruction permit and either your California driver’s license or an out-of-state license.
There are two different ways to begin your CDL training in California. The following four steps are necessary for the first method.
- Call the Department of Motor Vehicles CDL office to set up an appointment for a driving test. These appointments cannot be made online, so you must do it via phone.
- You will take your driving test in the same type of vehicle that you intend to drive commercially, so you must bring that vehicle with you.
- You will be given three chances to pass a pre-trip inspection, and you must pass it before moving on.
- You will also be given three chances to pass the skills test as well as the driving test.
The second method involves submitting to the Department of Motor Vehicles a Certificate of Driving Skill, if your employer is authorized to issue those certificates. This form must be signed by you and your employer.
When your CDL training is completed and you have passed your driving test or submitted your certificate, you will be given a temporary license that is valid for 90 days. You will receive your new photo license in the mail.