- Location: Maryland
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How do I apply for a commercial driver license (CDL) in Maryland?
Obtaining a CDL is a little more complicated than applying for a regular license. It takes specific skills to operate unwieldy commercial vehicles, and drivers need to have an expansive knowledge of the special subjects pertaining to those vehicles. But the end result is being able to drive big trucks. We cover how to apply for a CDL in step-by-step detail.
What's the difference between a Class A, B, or C license?
Here's the breakdown of Maryland's CDL classes:
- Class A: Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more and the ability to tow more than 10,000 pounds. Holding this license permits you to operate the mammoth 18-wheelers and any other vehicle on the road, because it lets you operate vehicles in the lower classes.
- Class B: GVWR of 26,001 or more but towing capacity under 10,000 pounds.
- Class C: GVWR under 26,001 pounds but intended to carry 16 or more passengers (endorsement needed) or any vehicle that requires a hazardous materials placard (endorsement needed).
I just turned 18 and am looking to go to trucking school. When can I get my CDL?
You can apply for a CDL as soon as you reach 18 years of age. However, there will be one major restriction put on the license. Until you turn 21 years of age, you will be limited to intrastate driving. That is, you cannot leave the state of Maryland while on a job.
I drive a motor home cross-country every summer. It is pretty big. Do I need a CDL to drive it?
No. RVs and motor homes are exempt from being considered a commercial vehicle. So are vehicles used on farms and emergency vehicles.
Where can I get a medical form for my physical?
In most cases your physician will have them on hand. You can also download and print a form online.
It is obvious that I am pretty fit. Do I even need a physical or can I get one of those exemptions I hear about?
While being fit is certainly important in being able to handle an 18-wheeler, this exemption is not designed for those who are a specimen of health. So yes, you will need to get a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical.
The exemption is for those individuals who have certain ailments like diabetes or are missing a limb that would prevent them from passing the DOT physical. But they are still able to operate a commercial vehicle effectively.
Do I need to take a hearing test?
You will have to take a hearing test if you are obtaining your first CDL. However, effective October 27, 2008, Maryland MVA created a hearing waiver for individuals who currently hold a valid commercial driver license. This waiver represents an attempt to increase the employability of the hearing impaired in Maryland. The waiver will only be applicable intrastate.
Do I need a background check for all endorsements or just
the hazardous materials (hazmat) endorsement?
Only if you are trying for the hazmat endorsement will you need to undergo a background check and fingerprinting. All the other endorsements only require you to pass an exam.
Where do I go to give my fingerprints and submit my background check information?
There are only a few MVA offices (five to be exact) that handle hazmat duties:
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