In the State of Colorado you you must have a valid Commercial Driver License (CDL) to operate any commercial motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, or any commercial vehicle that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or any vehicle transporting hazardous material and is required to be placarded in accordance with 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart F.
These requirements are categorized into the following classes of driver licenses:
Endorsements are also required for driving double and triple trailers, tank vehicles, passenger vehicles including school buses, and vehicles hauling hazardous materials.
In order to apply for your Colorado CDL you must provide a:
If you want to add a HAZMAT endorsement on your CDL, you will need to successfully pass the HAZMAT written exam and provide a current TSA background check every time you purchase a CDL.
You must also:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires every CDL applicant to attain a Medical Examiner’s Certificate before earning his or her commercial driver license.
To do so, have aqualified physician help you complete the Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination (Form 649-F).
You’ll also have to declare your fitness to the Colorado DMV through a process called self-certification. For more information on that process, see the FMCSA medical guidelines.
After being medically approved to apply for your CDL, you’ll be issued your certificate. It must be on your person at all times that you’re operating a commercial vehicle, and you must update it every 24 months.
Applicants for a first-time State of Colorado Commercial Driver License must first obtain a Conditional Learner’s Permit. The CLP is valid for 180 days, and is eligible for one renewal, which is also valid for 180 days.
Please note: The results of the written CDL test are only valid for one year. If the results of your written test are over one year old, you will need to retake the written test, even if your CLP is valid.
CLPs must be held for 14 calendar days before the CDL skills test can be taken.
While driving with your Colorado CLP, you will only be able to practice on public roads with a CDL holder in the vehicle with you.
The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may waive your skills/road test if you have commercial vehicle driving experience and are currently in the military and expect to be discharged soon, or have left the service in the past 90 days.
Note: Qualifying service members will still have to take the proper written tests and pay all CLP/CDL fees.
To apply for the Colorado Vets-2-Truck Program:
In order to obtain a Colorado CDL there are a list of requirements that must be met, and getting your Colorado CDL involves several steps. There are medical requirements and residency requirements, along with knowledge and skills requirements. The basic requirements for getting your cdl in Colorado include:
Below we will list more general requirements, qualifications, disqualifications, and restrictions for getting a CDL in Colorado.
You will need a CDL to operate any of the following vehicles:
Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight of 26,001 pounds or more, with trailer(s) weighing 10,000 pounds or more.
Any single vehicle having a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing another weighing 10,000 pounds or less.
Any vehicle or combination of vehicles not meeting the definition of Class A or Class B, designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded to carry hazardous material:
Many states issue a “Class D” license, which is not part of the FMCSA standards. Some use it to classify regular, passenger car drivers licenses, while some use it to classify specific weights or types of vehicles. This varies from state-to-state.
Each basic knowledge test covers the 20 general areas outlined in 49 CFR 383.111(a). The knowledge test shall contain at least 30 items. A separate test for drivers seeking to operate CMV’s with air brakes in Colorado must cover the 7 areas outlined in 49 CFR 383.111(b).
To pass the knowledge tests (general and endorsement); applicants must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions.
To pass the Colorado CDL skills test, applicants must successfully perform all the required skills (listed in 49 CFR 383.113 through 49 CFR 383.123). The skills test must be taken in a vehicle representative of the type of vehicle that the applicant operates or expects to operate.
Federal standards require the state of Colorado to issue CDLs to certain commercial motor vehicle drivers only after the driver passes the knowledge and skills tests administered by the State. The vehicle you take the CDL test in must also relate to the type of vehicle the driver expects to operate.
Restrictions are placed on a Colorado CDL when a driver takes the Skills Test in a vehicle which lacks critical equipment present in particular types of CMVs. Therefore, to avoid restrictions, drivers should take the Skills Test in the same type of vehicle for which they are seeking a Colorado CDL to operate.
Drivers are required to obtain and hold a CDL in Colorado if they operate in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce and drive a vehicle that meets one or more of the classifications of a CMV are also described below.
The state of Colorado has the authority to substitute two years of experience safely operating trucks or buses equivalent to civilian commercial vehicles for the skills test portion of the Colorado commercial driver license (CDL) test. U.S. Military drivers must apply within one year of leaving a military position requiring operation of a commercial vehicle. The latest information (February 2017) indicates that more than 19,000 current and former military have taken advantage of the Skills Test Waiver, making them immediately eligible for employment.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 49 CFR 383.77, requires the applicant to certify to an SDLA:
All commercial drivers of vehicles in interstate commerce with a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds are required to obtain and maintain a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (ME Certificate). CDL holders in Colorado must provide their SDLA with a copy of their ME Certificate.
All Colorado CDL holders must declare to their State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) that they only operate or expect to operate commercially in 1 of 4 possible categories with their CDL. This process is called self-certification. The four categories are:
A person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person: First perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than five feet with or without the use of a hearing aid or if tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500Hz, 1000HZ and 2,000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the audiometric device is calibrated to the American National Standard Z24.5-1951.
You must meet the following vision requirements:
Your urine sample will be tested in a lab for blood, sugar, and protein, which might indicate hidden health problems.
Drivers with physical impairments, which affect their ability to safely operate CMVs, must obtain a “variance” from the state of Colorado in order to be approved to drive commercially. The variance document must be carried with the commercial driver whenever they are operating a commercial motor vehicle. A Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) is a special type of “variance” required for drivers with impaired or missing limbs (e.g., a hand or finger, an arm, foot, or leg). Drivers with missing limbs, if eligible, must obtain an SPE certificate. The commercial driver must always carry the SPE certificate at all times.
The Skill Performance Evaluation program is for CMV drivers who drive in interstate commerce. The SPE certification allows drivers with missing or impaired limbs to drive CMVs across state lines if they have been fitted with (and are wearing) the right prosthetic device, and the driver can demonstrate the ability to drive the truck safely by completing on-and off-road activities. If the driver passes the Colorado commercial vehicle driving test, he or she will receive a SPE certificate. Over the years, FMCSA has granted more than 3,000 SPE certificates to truck drivers who have shown that they can drive safely on the nation’s highways.
Any person who holds a Colorado CDL is considered to have consented to such testing as is required by the state of Colorado or any State or jurisdiction in the enforcement of being under the influence of a controlled substance or using alcohol, be under the influence of alcohol, or have any measured alcohol concentration or detected presence of alcohol, while on duty, or operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle. Consent is implied by driving a commercial motor vehicle.
Although the driver has a legal prescription, he/she may be disqualified if the medication could adversely affect the driver’s ability to drive a CMV safely.
FMCSA regulations specifically exempt only military personnel with comparable safe-driving experience from getting CDL’s. States are authorized to provide exemptions for the rest of the following at their own discretion:
The state of Colorado must exempt individuals who operate vehicles for military purposes from the requirements for CDL drivers. This exemption includes active military, reserves and members of the National Guard. This exception does not apply to U.S. Reserve technicians.
Service members who are or were employed within the past year (12 months) in a military position requiring the operation of a military motor vehicle equivalent to a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) and who want to drive CMV’s in civilian life can apply for a Skills Test Waiver to get their CDL.
Covering actual farm-to-market operations, not commercial grain haulers. Drivers must be 21 years old, and vehicle must have farm plates. Farm workers are not required to have a CDL to operate vehicles:
Those who operate CMV’s necessary to preserving life or property, or performing emergency governmental functions, have signals that can be seen and heard, and are not subject to normal traffic laws. These include fire trucks, foam or water transport trucks, police SWAT team vehicles, ambulances and any other emergency vehicles.
Drivers operating recreational vehicles (RV’s) for their own non-commercial use can be exempted from CDL requirements.
Many states will have specific CDL exemptions that apply to workers in smaller towns or to state and local government employees in general. You will have to check with your specific state regulations.