2024 Maine CDL Requirements Guide

Among other things, you’ll need a valid Maine driver’s license and a completed Medical Examiner’s Certificate to get your CDL in Maine.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Mergen
background
You can apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Maine as early as 16 years old if you have a valid non-commercial driver’s license, and can meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations’ requirements. 
Operating large vehicles like semi trucks or buses requires more knowledge and skill than a simple sedan or SUV. Before you’re legally allowed to get behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle in Maine, you’ll need a special license. The process of obtaining your CDL can be lengthy and a bit complicated, but the requirements, like your valid driver’s license and valid vehicle registration, are rather simple. 
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Maine? 

The process of obtaining a CDL in Maine can seem intimidating since it involves so many steps. 
Generally, you’ll be able to apply for your CDL if you have a valid non-commercial driver’s license, legal working status in the US, can satisfy requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and achieve passing scores on the applicable skills and knowledge tests. 
Exactly what you’ll need will vary depending on which class of CDL you’re applying for and which endorsements you’ll need. 

Maine CDL classes

The state of Maine has three CDL classes that qualify you for different levels of commercial motor vehicle operation: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Here’s what each involves:
  • Class A: Any combination commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) over 26,000 pounds towing a unit weighing over 10,000 pounds
  • Class B: Any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over 26,000 pounds, or a combination of vehicles in which the towed unit does not exceed 10,000 pounds
  • Class C: Any combination or single vehicle(s) with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less and a towed vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds
The vehicles of Class A CDLs are usually “big rigs” like tractor-trailers and semi trucks. If you’re looking to drive box trucks or city buses, you’ll likely need a Class B CDL. A class C CDL is necessary if you’ll be transporting hazardous materials or passengers in a smaller CMV, and you’ll need endorsements for each as well.

Endorsements

Maine has six types of endorsements available for folks getting their CDLs that will allow them to legally operate different types of vehicles:
  • H: for transporting hazardous materials 
  • N: for tank vehicles
  • P: for passenger vehicles with more than 15 people, including the driver 
  • S: for school buses that hold more than 15 people, including the driver
  • T: for double or triple trailers when legally allowed; Maine, however, does not allow triple trailers
  • X: for tank vehicles transporting hazardous materials
Some of these CDL endorsements can be obtained in the process of getting your CDL (N, P, and S), but some of them won’t be available to you until after your CDL is secured.  

Minimum age requirement

To operate a CMV within the state of Maine, you have to be at least 16 years old. However, you can’t transport hazardous materials, transport passengers, or cross state lines until you’re 21 years old or older. 

Medical requirements

In addition to age requirements, Maine sets medical requirements that need to be met in most cases before you can obtain your CDL. These can include:
  • Blood pressure under 140/90 or higher with medical certifications to be renewed every 6-12 months
  • At least 20/40 vision in your best eye
  • Ability to recognize standard red, green, and amber colors of traffic signals and devices
  • Ability to hear a forced whisper from at least five feet away or have an average hearing loss no greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, and 2,000 Hz in your best ear 
  • Provided urine sample to be tested for blood, sugar, and protein to potentially identify hidden health problems
Except those that qualify for exemptions, interstate commercial drivers in Maine must also turn in a
Medical Examiner’s Certificate
completed by an FMCSA-approved medical professional to show that you’ve met these requirements. 

New ELDT requirements

As of February 2022, any new CDL applicants in Maine and every other state have new
Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT)
requirements and regulations to follow set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Applicants who began their quest for a CDL after February 7, 2022 will need to complete a training process from an
FMCSA registry-approved
training provider and pass a theory training assessment as well as a CMV operation competency evaluation
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How to apply for a CDL in Maine

Before seeking out a Maine CDL application, you will need a valid non-commercial driver’s license, legal Maine residency, legal working status in the US, and to satisfy FMCSA medical regulations and requirements if applicable.
Keep in mind that a felony criminal record doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be disqualified from obtaining your CDL in Maine. However, specific felony convictions like negligent homicide, homicide by motor vehicle, or motor vehicle manslaughter listed in your record will likely prompt the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to deny your CDL application. 
If you’ve reviewed your driving, working, and criminal status and determined you’re in the clear so far, you can proceed with the CDL and any endorsement process. It includes two phases: first, you must get a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). To apply for your CLP, confirm the CDL class you need and head over to your local BMV with the following:
To secure your CLP, you’ll also need to pass a vision test and a
written exam
and pay the required fees—in this case, a $70 exam fee and $20 per endorsement you file for. 
You must hold your CLP for at least 14 days so you can practice operating your commercial motor vehicle. If you feel that 14 days is not long enough to get the hang of driving your CMV, you have 180 days to get your practice in until your CLP expires. When you’re ready to move from your learner’s permit to the real-deal CDL, you’ll need to satisfy several more steps:
  • Complete the Entry-Level Driver Training program, if necessary for your class 
  • Send or deliver the CDL skills test request card found with your CLP to the Maine Office of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Augusta, ME to schedule your skills test
  • Keep an eye out for your BMV-designated skills exam appointment in the mail—if you can’t make your scheduled exam, you have 48 hours before your test to reschedule or you’ll see a $30 fine
Once your exam day is here, you’ll need to bring your CLP, your own (or rented) CMV that is in the CDL class you’re applying for, its insurance and registration documents, and the signed appointment notice. A valid CDL holder with their valid CDL must accompany you during the test. 
Your exam will have three parts to it: a pre-trip inspection of the CMV, a basic skills test, and an on-road test. If you pass all three parts, you will owe another fee of $34 (or $27 if you’re 65 years old or above) and be required to surrender your CLP—in exchange for your CDL! Congratulations!  
Have more questions about the CDL application process? You can visit the
Maine BMW website
or contact the department directly.

How long is a CDL valid in Maine? 

Maine CDLs are valid for five years if you’re 65 years old or under and four years if you’re over 65. The Maine BMV will send you a renewal reminder card in the mail which you must take to any Maine BMV office when you’re ready to re-up your CDL validity. Renewal for another five years will cost you another $34, but endorsements, with the exception of endorsement H, will renew automatically with your CDL renewal. 
MORE: Maine reckless driving

How to save on car insurance in Maine

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