Commercial Driver FAQs in Maine
Where do I apply for a Maine commercial driver's license (CDL)?
You may apply for a Maine CDL at any Maine BMV office. You will need to fill out an application and take a written exam, an eye exam, and (after driving under supervision with a learner's permit) a road exam.
Where do I get training for a Maine CDL?
For the basics, you can get the Maine Commercial Driver's Manual at any Maine BMV office or online. It's probably a good idea to get professional driver training before taking the required road test. Many trucking companies offer training themselves on their own rigs.
To be fully prepared, you can also take training classes at any approved professional trucking school.
When do I need a Maine CDL?
By federal law, you need to have a CDL to drive any truck or combination of vehicles weighing 26,001 lbs. or more; any vehicle designed to carry 16 passengers or more, including the driver; or any vehicle transporting hazardous material that requires a hazmat placard.
When am I exempt from needing a Maine CDL?
You do not need a CDL to drive a fire truck or emergency vehicle, an RV for personal use, military vehicles, farm vehicles, antique autos, or (in many cases) a municipal snowplow.
What if I am under 21?
In Maine, you can obtain a CDL at 16 years old, but you must be 21 years old to operate a school bus or a vehicle transporting hazardous materials. But federal laws require a driver to be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines.
Can I have a Maine CDL and a driver's license from another state?
No. By federal law, it's illegal for commercial motor vehicle drivers to possess more than one license, and you may have a license only from your state of legal residence.
Will I undergo a background check to obtain a Maine CDL?
Yes. When you apply for a CDL in Maine, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles checks your Maine driving record and nationwide databases. If the check reveals that your license has been suspended, revoked, canceled, or denied in any other state, then you will not be eligible for a commercial license in Maine until your license has been reinstated in the other state.
Anyone wanting a hazmat endorsement also needs to be fingerprinted and pass a Transportation Safety Administration background check.
Will I need to take a vision test to obtain a Maine CDL?
Yes. You will be required to take a vision test both when you first obtain your CDL and when you renew it every 5 year (or every 4 years, if you're 65 years old or older). Your vision must be at least 20/40 in your best eye, and you must have a field of vision equaling 140 degrees.
Will I need to take a road test to obtain a Maine CDL?
Yes. You will need to pass a road test given by a Maine BMV inspector. The test includes on- and off-road driving. More specifics about the exam are available in the Maine Commercial Driver's manual.
What are endorsements and how do I get them?
Endorsements are extra qualifications above and beyond the regular CDL. You can obtain the following endorsements:
- N―Tanker vehicles
- H―Hazmat vehicles
- X―Combines N and H into one
- T―Double and triple trailers
- P―Transporting more than 15 passengers, including the driver
- S―School buses transporting more than 15 passengers, including the driver
Each endorsement costs $10 and requires separate criteria to pass, including written exams and road tests.
How much will it cost to get a Maine CDL?
It costs $35 for Maine CDL testing plus $10 for each endorsement application. These fees are for the exams only. Training costs are variable, since training is offered by private companies.
Folks 65 years old or older pay $28 for a license lasting 4 years.
Once you pass your on-road driving test, you'll pay $34 for the photo license itself if you're under 65 years old. The hazmat endorsement requires an additional $86.50 background and fingerprint check.
Can I get a Maine CDL learner's permit?
Once you apply for and pass the written exam, you will receive a Maine CDL learner's permit. This allows you to drive while accompanied by a person with a valid CDL in the passenger seat.
How often do I have to renew my Maine CDL?
Maine CDLs are good for 5 years if you're under 65 years old, and 4 years if you're 65 years old or older. Renewals cost $34 and must be completed at any Maine BMV office. Most endorsements can be renewed at the same time under the same renewal fee. Hazmat renewals have special rules. No Maine CDL renewals can be processed online.