Table of Contents
- What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Massachusetts?
- Massachusetts CDL classes
- Commercial learner’s permit
- Entry-level driver training (ELDT)
- Medical requirements for a CDL in Massachusetts
- Vision requirements
- Hearing requirements
- Blood pressure requirements
- Urinalysis testing
- Obtaining your CDL
- How to save on car insurance in Massachusetts
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To apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in
Massachusetts, you must be at least 18 years old, hold a valid Massachusetts (Class D) driver’s license, and have a clean driving record. Your specific requirements will vary depending on the endorsements you need.
If you want to operate buses, trucks, or any other commercial vehicles in Massachusetts, you must obtain a commercial driver’s license. While getting your CDL may seem complicated at first, the requirements are pretty straightforward. At a minimum, you must be at least 18 years old (21 to drive across state lines), have a “Class D” driver’s license in good standing, and pass both a written knowledge test and medical examination.
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Massachusetts?
To obtain a CDL in Massachusetts you must satisfy various requirements. You must first pass several tests to apply for your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), then pass a road test, medical exams, and complete a self-certification.
There is a basic age requirement in place. You must be at least 18 years old to operate intrastate commercial transportation (within Massachusetts only) and at least 21 for all interstate transportation (going beyond Massachusetts).
Additional requirements needed all depend on the class of CDL you are applying for or the endorsements required to operate a specific type of vehicle.
Massachusetts CDL classes
In Massachusetts there are three classes of CDL: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Below are the vehicles and cargo that each class allows you to operate:
- Class A: Mandatory for the operation of any vehicle with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) greater than or equal to 26,001 lbs., to incorporate a towed vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 lbs. This class includes tractor-trailers, flatbeds, livestock carriers, tankers, tractor-trailer buses, and any truck and trailer combination.
- Class B: Mandatory for the operation of a sole vehicle with a GCWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, and in addition to any vehicle—as described in Class A—towing another vehicle weighing UP TO 10,000 lbs. Class B encompasses large buses, straight trucks, box trucks, dump trucks with smaller trailers, and segmented buses.
- Class C: May be mandatory if the vehicle you plan to operate fails to meet the criteria set forth by either Class A or Class B and is designed to transport at least 16 passengers (including you, the driver) or a hazardous material (HAZMAT), as dictated by federal specifications. Vehicles that require a Class C CDL include small trucks with a trailer in tow, passenger vans, and any small HAZMAT vehicles.
To obtain a Class A CDL in Massachusetts, you will need to pass a general knowledge written exam, a combination endorsement written exam, and a road exam.
For a Class B CDL, you will need to pass a general knowledge written exam and a road exam. For a Class C CDL, you will need to pass a general knowledge exam and a road exam unless you are upgrading from a Class D driver’s license.
An endorsement is a classification on your CDL that qualifies you to operate certain vehicles or to operate them for specific purposes. For example, if you wanted to transport hazardous material, you would need a hazardous material endorsement (H).
In Massachusetts there are seven endorsements identifying you as qualified to operate specific vehicles or operate for a specific purpose:
- H: for transportation of hazardous materials
- N: for tank vehicles
- P: for passenger vehicles
- L: for air brakes
- S: for school buses
- T: for towing two or three trailers over a specific weight
- X: for transportation of hazardous materials in a tank vehicle
Some CDL endorsements, specifically the H endorsement, will require extra tests and have additional criteria for qualification.
Commercial learner’s permit
Before you can obtain a commercial driver’s license in Massachusetts, you must first
apply for a commercial learner’s permitor CLP. You will have to pass a general knowledge exam, so you’ll need to be very familiar with the
Massachusetts CDL Manual. You may have to pass additional tests depending on the license class and endorsements you need.
To get your CLP, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years of age for intrastate (Massachusetts only) transport
- Be at least 21 years of age for interstate (across all states) transport
- Have a Class D license in good standing that will be valid for the continuum of your learner’s permit
- Proof of legal permanent residency in the U.S.
- Present a valid Social Security number
- Provide proof of residency in the state of Massachusetts
- You cannot hold a driver’s license in any other state
- You must have no outstanding legal obligations to any state
- You must pass the medical standards for a commercial driver’s license
- You must pass the Commercial Learner’s Permit general knowledge exam
- If applying for a Class A Commercial Learner’s Permit, you must pass the combination vehicle exam
- If applying for a Class C Commercial Learner’s Permit, you must pass the H (Hazmat) endorsement exam or the P (Passenger transport) endorsement exam
A permit application costs $30 and the road test an additional $35. CDL endorsements cost $10 per endorsement.
Entry-level driver training (ELDT)
As of February 7, 2022, anyone applying for Class A or B CDL in addition to endorsements S (school bus), P (passenger), or H (hazardous material) for the first time must finish the training set forth by
Entry-Level Driver Training(ELDT) regulations.
The ELDT regulations lay out the minimum training criteria for entry-level drivers that wish to obtain specific CDLs and endorsements.
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Medical requirements for a CDL in Massachusetts
If you plan on becoming a commercial driver engaging in interstate commerce with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of over 10,000 pounds, then you will need to obtain and uphold a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate. The certificate is valid for a maximum of 2 years.
You must also meet the physical qualifications set forth in
Federal Regulation § 391.41.
You can see all the physical qualifications on the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Website.
To obtain a CDL you must meet the following vision conditions:
- Have eyesight acuity of at least 20/40 in each eye without the use of corrective lenses or have eyesight acuity corrected to 20/40 or better with the use of corrective lenses.
- Be able to recognize the colors of traffic signals and stop lights showing red, green, and yellow.
- Have a field of vision at least 70 degrees in the horizontal Meridian in both eyes.
To obtain your CDL, you will need to be able to perceive a “forced whisper voice” in your better ear no further than five feet without the use of a hearing aid. If you do have hearing loss, the loss cannot be greater than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, and 2,000 Hz (measured with an audiometric device) with or without a hearing aid.
Blood pressure requirements
To maintain your medical examiner’s certificate, your blood pressure needs to be under 140/90.
If you have stage 1 hypertension (140/90 – 150/99) then your certificate must be renewed every year.
Stage 2 hypertension (160/100 – 179/109) will cause your certificate to be nullified if not remedied in under 3 months. You will also need to renew every year.
Stage 3 hypertension (180/110) calls for automatic disqualification of your certificate. Your certificate will also need to be renewed every 6 months.
As a commercial driver in the state of Massachusetts, you are subject to urine sample testing, and you must exhibit a negative drug test before being permitted to operate a CMV.
As a CDL holder, you’re federally mandated to self-certify, meaning you must tell the RMV you plan to operate solely in Massachusetts or if you will cross state lines. If you plan on transferring a CDL from a different state, then you must complete a
CDL Self-Certification form(this includes obtaining a new ME certificate).
Obtaining your CDL
If you manage to complete everything above and obtain your CLP, after 14 days have passed, you are finally ready to get your Massachusetts CDL. If you aren’t ready to take your test, then wait. Your CLP is valid for 180 days.
What’s next is visiting the RMV for your written test and eventual road test. You can schedule and prepare for your road test using the resources on the
Massachusetts RMV website. The test itself costs $35.
On your scheduled test date, bring the following:
- An insured commercial vehicle that matches your CDL class
- Valid driver’s license
- Medical Examiner’s Certificate
- Your completedCDL Road Test Application Form
- ELDT certificate (if you are an entry-level driver)
- Proof of age, birth, and identity
- Proof of residence in Massachusetts
- Proof of US citizenship
Once issued, your CDL will be valid for 5 years.
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