Commercial Driver FAQs in Massachusetts
When do I need a Massachusetts CDL?
According to federal rules, in any state, you need a CDL to drive any of the following vehicles:
- Class A CDL: Any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GWVR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs.
- Class B CDL: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR.
- Class C CDL: Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 passengers or more, including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials.
What requirements do I need for a Massachusetts CDL?
You need to be 21 years old and never have had your license suspended or revoked to apply for a Massachusetts CDL that will allow you to drive out-of-state. If you are at least 18 years old with a clean driving record, you can apply for a CDL allowing you to drive only in-state. There are also specific federal physical requirements and background checks for CDLs and certain CDL endorsements.
How do I apply for a Massachusetts CDL?
You apply to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) for a Massachusetts CDL. You need to apply first for a CDL permit, which requires passing a written exam and a vision test. You can use the permit to practice for the required road test. Passing the road test is necessary to obtain a CDL. To add endorsements on your CDL, you will need to pass extra written and road tests.
How much will it cost me to get a Massachusetts CDL?
The CDL itself isn't too expensive: $30 for the permit test, $35 for the road test and $30 for the CDL endorsement, renewable every 5 years. The costly part can be learning to drive a big truck well enough to pass a road test. Many applicants go to truck-driving school which can cost thousands of dollars. Your background check will also cost $86.50 and you may have to pay for a physical exam.
Do I need to pass a physical to get a Massachusetts CDL?
You do not need to pass a physical to get a CDL in Massachusetts. But you will need to pass a physical to obtain specific endorsements or drive certain vehicles, like a school bus or hazmat truck.
How much driver education do I need to get a Massachusetts CDL?
There is no state driver education requirement to get a Massachusetts CDL. However, many drivers take truck driving classes before attempting to pass the CDL road test.
What are CDL endorsements?
CDL endorsements are specific certifications added onto your CDL, which allow you to drive certain vehicles legally. Each endorsement requires passing a written exam, a skills exam, or both. The following endorsements are available:
- T: Double/triple trailers (written test only)
- P: Passenger (written and skills tests)
- N: Tank vehicles (written test only)
- H: Hazardous materials (written test only)
- S: School buses: (written and skills tests)
How do I renew a Massachusetts CDL?
Renewing a CDL is a lot easier than getting one in the first place. You need to go to a Massachusetts RMV office and pass both a vision exam and background check to successfully renew your CDL. Specific endorsements, like school bus drivers, can require a more stringent renewal process.
What do I do if I lose my Massachusetts CDL?
Replacing your Massachusetts CDL, if it is lost or stolen, is the same as replacing any other driver's license in Massachusetts, except that you must do it in person. The online option is not available for commercial driver's licenses. See our page on replacing a lost CDL for complete details.
What do I need to drive a school bus in Massachusetts?
To drive a school bus in Massachusetts, you must have a CDL with a school bus endorsement, pass a yearly physical exam, and pass a background check.
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