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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Missouri?
Getting a Missouri CDL is a complex and labor-intensive process, but it begins with some basic requirements. These include basic identification documents, a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) held for at least 14 days, and a generally
clean driving record.
Specific classes of CDL or endorsements may require additional documentation or skills.
Missouri CDL classes
Missouri certifies drivers for three types of CDL licenses. Each allows the certified driver to operate a different type and weight of vehicle:
Class A: With a Class A CDL, you can operate any vehicle with a semi-trailer or trailer with two or more axles. You may also operate any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds. This includes a towed object or vehicle with its own Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds. With a Class A CDL, you can operate:
- Tractor-trailers and flatbeds
- Livestock transports
- Tank vehicles
- Truck and trailer combinations
- Tractor-trailer buses
- Semi-truck with a flatbed trailer
- Most vehicles designated Class B or C
Class B: With a Class B CDL you’re allowed to drive a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more. You may also operate a vehicle towing a trailer with a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds. With a Class B CDL, you can operate:
- Straight trucks
- City and tourist passenger buses
- Segmented buses
- School buses
- Box trucks (delivery trucks)
- Dump trucks with a small trailer
- Most vehicles designated Class C
Class C: With a Class C CDL license, you can operate a single vehicle with GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle towing another object or vehicle that has a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less. You may also pilot passenger vehicles carrying 16 or more people (driver included). A Class C CDL is also required for hauling hazardous materials (HAZMAT) under federal guidelines. With a Class C CDL, you can operate:
- Small trucks equipped to transport HAZMAT (with the proper endorsement)
- Passenger vans
- Small truck towing a trailer
In addition to basic class certification requirements, some drivers may also need to acquire an endorsement to drive a vehicle designated for a certain purpose, for transport of certain types of materials, or for towing more than two trailers at a time.
There are seven types of endorsements for Missouri CDLs, and each allows the endorsed driver to operate a different type of vehicle or transport a particular type of cargo:
- T: for double or triple trailers
- P: for passenger vehicles
- N: for tanker vehicles
- H: for transporting HAZMAT
- X: for Class C CDL tank vehicles
- S: for school buses
- W: for tow trucks
Most endorsements are awarded upon successful completion of a knowledge test, though some—like School Bus and HAZMAT endorsements—may require additional skills tests.
Minimum age requirement
To take the CDL test, you must be at least 18 years old, and you must have turned 18 at least 14 days prior to taking the exam. If you’re applying for a passenger endorsement or to drive a vehicle out of state, you must be at least 21 years old or older.
In addition to skills and knowledge tests, Missouri requires drivers to meet
Federal Department of Transportation medical requirementsto earn an interstate CDL license. These include:
- Blood pressure of 140/90 or better
- At least 20/40 vision
- Ability to distinguish colors
- Ability to hear a forced whisper from at least five feet away
- No use of Schedule 1 drugs, amphetamines, narcotics, or any habit-forming drugs
For interstate commercial driving, you will need a medical examiner’s certificate to prove that you meet these requirements.
New ELDT requirements
If this is your first attempt to acquire a Missouri CDL, some recent changes have gone into effect that you must abide by. As of February 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires
Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT)for all new CDL applicants. This means you must select a registered training provider from the
FMCSA registryand complete training prior to taking your skills and knowledge test.
How to apply for a CDL in Missouri
Most importantly, you must have a valid Missouri driver’s license and a clean driving record. While a parking ticket or even a minor speeding ticket may not keep you from qualifying for a CDL, it could delay the process. License suspensions, multiple DUI offenses, or using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony will make it impossible to earn a Missouri CDL.
If this is your first time applying for a CDL, the most logical next step is enrolling in your required ELDT Program. Applying for a CLP, scheduling and completing your knowledge tests, and scheduling and completing your skills test and other endorsement requirements are baked into the program as you complete your training. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in each of these steps.
After making sure your license and driving record are in order, it’s time to apply for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). As already noted, you don’t need a CLP to enroll in an ELDT Program, but you will need to have held a CLP for at least 14 days before you can apply to take the CDL written and skills tests. To apply for a CLP, you will need to bring the following to a
Missouri State Highway Patrol Driver Examination Station:
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency
- Proof of identity
- A Social Security number (SSN)
- Self-certification of medical status or medical examiner’s certificate, if necessary
- $41 application and processing fee
Your CLP will be valid for 360 days, and it is nonrenewable. Once you receive your CLP, you’re authorized to practice driving a commercial vehicle on public roads with a licensed CDL who is at least 21 years old.
Now for the tests. As you move through your ELDT Program, you’ll complete one or more knowledge tests, depending on the CDL Class and endorsements you’re seeking. These may be completed at any Missouri State Highway Patrol Examination Station at any time—no appointment is required.
Missouri CDL knowledge tests include:
- General knowledge test
- Passenger transport test
- Air brakes test
- Combination vehicles test
- Hazardous materials test
- Tank vehicle test
- Doubles/triples test
- School bus test
These written tests are made up of multiple-choice and matching questions, and you must answer 80% correctly to pass.
Once you’ve successfully passed your required knowledge tests, it’s time for the skills test. This test is available by appointment only at defined
Missouri State Highway Patrol CDL Test Sites. The skills test includes three general sections:
- Vehicle Inspection—tests to see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to drive.
- Basic Vehicle Control—tests your ability to control the vehicle. You’ll be required to move the vehicle forward and backward, then turn within a defined area.
- On-Road Test—tests your ability to safely drive in various traffic situations. You may be asked to perform left and right turns, negotiate intersections and railroad crossings, and navigate curves, steep grades, and multi-lane roads or highways.
Once you’ve passed your skills test, you’re ready to take your CLP and your ELDT Program completion certificate to a Missouri Licensing Office to get your CDL.
How long is a CDL valid in Missouri?
A Missouri CDL is valid for either three or six years. A three-year CDL costs $22.50 and a six-year CDL is $45.
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