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  • Commercial Driver FAQs in Maryland

    How do I apply for a commercial driver license (CDL) in Maryland?

    MD Commercial Driver FAQs

    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 combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more and the ability to tow more than 10,000 lbs. 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 lbs. or more but towing capacity under 10,000 lbs.
    • Class C: GVWR under 26,001 lbs. but intended to carry 16 passengers or more, including the driver (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 old. However, there will be one major restriction put on the license. Until you turn 21 years old, 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 Medical Examination Report (Form DL-171) from the MVA.


    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 physical.


    Do I need to take a hearing test?

    You will have to take a hearing test as part of your medical exam. However, the MVA created a hearing waiver for individuals who currently hold a valid commercial driver license and only drive intrastate. You can learn more in the MVA's physical exam requirements.


    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.


    Find answers to further commercial-related questions at Applying for a New CDL, Renewing Your CDL, Replacing a Lost CDL, and Commercial Driver Education on this site.

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