Commercial Driver Information

Becoming a Commercial Driver

To apply, you…

  • Must be 18 years old
  • May apply for a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), but must have a CA driver’s license prior to getting a CLP
  • May drive for a commercial company if you are 18 to 20 years old, possess a CDL, and your load does not originate from outside of CA
  • Must be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial motor vehicle that transports interstate commerce or hazardous materials or wastes within CA or across state lines

Medical Examination

All CDL applicants must complete a medical examination and proof must be provided to the DMV. A medical exam is required every two years.

Intrastate – Commercial drivers, who transport cargo within the state of CA, can choose their own medical professional to conduct their exam.

Interstate – Commercial drivers, who transport cargo across state or international borders, must visit a medical professional listed in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners at

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established the National Registry to ensure healthcare professionals preserve the highest level of training and standards when performing physical qualification exams for truck and bus drivers.

CDL Modernized Skills Testing

Offered at select locations

New Vehicle Inspection Guidelines

Safety First
You will perform a Vehicle Inspection by pointing to or touching critical safety features and equipment, and providing information of each item to the examiner, as required.

A convenient Vehicle Inspection Checklist can be found online under the Commercial Driver’s License section. You can use the checklist and refer to it during your test.

Applicants are encouraged to read and study all material related to commercial testing and licensing. You can find this information in the California Commercial Driver’s Handbook.

Road Test
During the road test, you will be taken on a route in which you will encounter a variety of traffic situations.

The entire road test is conducted in English, as required by law. You must wear your seat belt, obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws, and complete the test without a crash or moving violation.

Get Prepared – Sample Tests
Take advantage of online sample written tests available at

New Basic Controls Skills Test

Applicants must complete the following maneuvers:

New Basic Controls Skills Test Steps
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Motor Carrier Permit (MCP) Unit
  • International Registration Permit (IRP) Unit
  • CDL Issuance
    Class A, B, C, Problem Driver Point System, Employer Testing Program
  • Mandatory Actions
    DUI, FTA, FTP, Citation questions, Purgeable information
  • TSA Driver Service Center
  • FMCSA Information Line