The first step to get your CDL in New Jersey is to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), which will be digital in compliance with New Jersey law. You will need to hold a valid driver’s license and present a Medical Examiner’s Certificate and completed, current Self-Certification form. You must be at least 18 years of age to obtain a commercial driver’s permit and CDL, and must be at least 21 years old to haul hazardous materials (“H” restriction), to drive interstate (across state lines) in a commercial vehicle (“K” restriction), or to carry passengers (“P” restriction). You must also successfully pass a vision test and knowledge tests. For the vision test, you must have 20/40 vision in each eye with or without glasses, have 70 degrees of peripheral vision in each eye, and be able to recognize red, green, and amber colors. The CLP must be held for at least 14 days prior to taking CDL road testing and is valid for 180 days. If it is expired for more than six months, all tests must be re-taken. In addition to restrictions, the CLP will have a Class designation and may have endorsements.
There are many different options and requirements for non-U.S. citizens to obtain a CDL.
Review all information pertaining to getting a CDL as a non-U.S. citizen in New Jersey
Once you have obtained your CLP, have gone through formal CDL training, and are ready to begin the process of getting your full CDL, you will need to pass a general knowledge test, as well as a test for each of any endorsements you are applying for, skills tests, and an on-road test. Skills tests include vehicle inspection and basic vehicle control. You will perform a vehicle inspection to determine whether it’s safe to drive, and will be asked to move the vehicle forward, backward, turn it within a defined area, parallel park, and park in an alley dock. The on-road test will be taken in a variety of traffic situations at the examiner’s direction. For the inspection test, there are 4 “versions” for a Class A CDL, and you will not know which version you’ll be asked to perform until the time of the test; for a Class B or C, there are 3 versions. All of the tests include an engine start, an in-cab-inspection, and an inspection of the coupling system. Then, your test may require an inspection of the entire vehicle or only a portion of the vehicle which your CDL Examiner will explain to you.
Study the New Jersey CDL manual closely before testing
CDL Classes available:
CDL Endorsements available:
There are several CDL and CLP restrictions possible. Some common ones include: restriction E (the driver may only operate a vehicle with an automatic transmission), restriction K (intrastate only–this will apply to all applicants under age 21), and restriction L (the driver may not operate a vehicle with air brakes).
See the complete list of restrictions for the CLP and CDL
You must pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examination. Only a licensed medical examiner may conduct your examination.
Certified medical examiners can be found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry. Medical examiner’s certificates are valid for a maximum of 2 years.
By regulation, Specific Medically Disqualifying Conditions Found Under 49 CFR 391.41 are Hearing Loss, Vision Loss, Epilepsy and Insulin Use. Drivers who require a Diabetes or Vision exemption to safely drive a CMV in addition to those pre-printed on the certification form are disqualified until they receive such an exemption.
Visit the FMCSA’s website for detailed information on medical requirements
All Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders are required (under federal regulation) to inform the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission of the type of commerce they plan to operate within (interstate or intrastate) and whether or not they are required to hold a medical certificate. This notification is called self-certification. It is called self-certification because the driver alone needs to determine the self-certification category he/she falls into based on his/her driving information.
See detailed instructions for submission of medical self-certification in New Jersey
Common CDL costs in New Jersey include:
CDL testing will be scheduled by visiting one of 24 Driver Testing Centers (DTCs) in New Jersey. You may only schedule CDL testing if you already hold a Commercial Learner’s Permit, which is obtained by applying with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
Find and contact your testing location (a Driver Testing Center) for all CDL testing
Begin the Commercial Learner’s Permit process with the New Jersey MVC
In order to obtain a New Jersey CDL there are a list of requirements that must be met, and getting your New Jersey 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 New Jersey include:
Below we will list more general requirements, qualifications, disqualifications, and restrictions for getting a CDL in New Jersey.
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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey CDL to operate.
Drivers are required to obtain and hold a CDL in New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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:
Here you will find the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver form
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 New Jersey must provide their SDLA with a copy of their ME Certificate.
All New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey CDL is considered to have consented to such testing as is required by the state of New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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.
See Also: Military Skills Test Waiver
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.
The FMCSA regulations specify certain circumstances that will disqualify a driver from legally operating a CMV, temporarily or permanently.
Issues resulting in disqualification apply only to CDL or CLP holders, or those required to have a CLP or CDL in the vehicle they are operating. Tickets, DUI or DWI, and other legal issues that happened before a driver was issued a CDL or CLP, or to non-CDL or CLP holders, who were not required to have one, will affect drivers only as far as company policy, with the exception of getting the Hazmat endorsement.
See Also: TSA Disqualifying Offenses & Factors
In extreme cases, the FMCSA may disqualify drivers deemed to be an “imminent hazard”, and remove them from the road.
See Also: Disqualification of drivers determined to constitute an imminent hazard.
Some circumstances will result in a lifetime disqualification from operating CMV’s, with some being eligible for reinstatement after 10 years. A driver who uses a CMV in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance is disqualified for life with no possibility of reinstatement.
An out-of-service order stipulates that a CDL or CLP holder not drive a commercial vehicle for a certain period of time, or until such time as they are re-instated to service.
In addition to disqualification, drivers who violate out-of-service orders will be fined a civil penalty of at least $2,500 for the first offense, and $5,000 for any additional offenses.