2024 Idaho CDL Requirements

In Idaho, you must be at least 18 years old, have one year of driving experience, and a clean driving record to apply for a CDL.
Written by Natalie Todoroff
background
To qualify for a commercial driver’s license in
Idaho
, you must be at least 18 years old, have one year of driving experience with a valid Idaho driver's license, and a
clean driving record
If you’re someone with a more adventurous spirit who’s looking for a job with great benefits, a flexible schedule, and is constantly in-demand, getting your commercial driver’s license has probably crossed your mind. But, if you live in Idaho, there’s quite a few hoops you have to jump through before you can get behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler. There are forms to fill out, documents you need to gather, and some tests you’ll need to pass with flying colors. 
Although the process can feel confusing,
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Idaho?

Broadly speaking, getting your Idaho commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a two-phase process: phase one, you get your commercial learner’s permit (CLP); and phase two, you upgrade to a commercial driver’s license by passing a skills test. 
But, before we get into the fine print of what kind of paperwork you need for each one, let’s first zoom out and take a broader look at the CDL application process. You must be at least 18 years old to apply, you must have a clean driving record, and you must have at least one year of driving experience before you can even begin thinking about starting your application. 

Idaho CDL classes

The Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles defines three different classes of CDL license based on the weight of the vehicle you intend to drive. From least to most comprehensive, they are Class C, Class B, and Class A. 
  • Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds. These vehicles can tow a vehicle that has a GVWR less than 10,000 pounds. 
  • Class C: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less that is hauling placarded hazardous materials or is designed to transport 16 or more passengers—including the driver. These vehicles can tow a vehicle that has a GVWR less than 10,000 pounds. 

Endorsements

In addition to the three different classes, there are six different endorsements that authorize commercial truck drivers to operate different vehicles. 
  • T: Combinations vehicles with double or triple trailers 
  • N: Vehicles used to haul liquids or gaseous materials in permanent or portable tanks that have a rating capacity of 1,000 gallons or more 
  • H: Any vehicle used to transport hazardous materials in placardable amounts 
  • P: Any vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver 
  • S: Any vehicle used to transport pre-primary, primary, or secondary school students from home to school, school to home, or to and from school-sponsored events
  • X: Combination endorsement for hazardous materials endorsements and tank vehicle endorsements 
Notably, for endorsements P and S, drivers must take their skills test in a passenger and/or school bus. 

Minimum age requirement

The minimum age requirements for your commercial drivers license depends on where you plan on driving and what you plan on hauling. You must be at least 21 years old or older in order to drive across state lines and/or haul hazardous materials. You can still get a CDL if you are at least 18 years old, but you will only be permitted to drive within Idaho state lines
And, regardless of age, you must have held your regular Idaho driver’s license for at least one year before you are eligible to apply for a commercial one. 

Medical requirements

There are some medical requirements for the Idaho CDL, but it can be tricky to find out whether or not you need to pass a medical exam. Whether or not you need a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card depends on the kind of driving you plan on doing. You can consult this handy
CDL self-certification flowchart
to help determine if you need an exam. And, before you can be issued your CDL, you must either fill out this
online self-certification form
or fill it out at your local DMV.  
But, if you do need a medical exam, you will need to find a
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) medical examiner
and have them fill out a
Medical Examiner's Certificate
. The medical exam will check for the following: 
  • 20/40 correctable vision in each eye (meaning glasses and contact lenses are OK)
  • Blood sugar under 200 controlled without insulin injections 
  • Blood pressure of 169/109 or better
  • Ability to distinguish colors
  • Ability to hear a forced whisper from at least 5 feet away
  • No use of Schedule 1 drugs, amphetamines, narcotics, or any habit-forming drugs 

New ELDT requirements

As of February 2022, there are some new requirements for an Idaho commercial driver’s license set by the FMCSA. Unless you hold a Commercial Learner’s Permit issued before Feb. 7, 2022 or if your Commercial Driver’s License, S, P, or H endorsement was issued before Feb. 7, 2022, you do not have to complete
Entry Level Driving Training
. But, if you’re a new applicant, you will need to find a  training provider in the
FMSCA's registry
and complete training.   
MORE: Idaho reckless driving

How to apply for a CDL in Idaho

Simply put, you must be over 18, hold an Idaho driver’s license, and have at least one year of driving experience in order to apply for a commercial driver’s license. But, when you begin the actual application process, you’ll discover that the process is a little more complicated. 
Or, you may discover that you’re not even eligible to apply! Some traffic violations like speeding or texting while driving, can make you lose CDL privileges for 60 days. But more serious offenses, like multiple
DUIs
or using your motor vehicle in a felony involving the manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing of a controlled substance will bar you from even applying. That said, you can petition with
this form
to get your CDL privileges reinstated. 
First things first, you need to apply for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). You will have to make an appointment at your local DMV, and prepare the following documents and materials: 
  • Idaho Driver’s license 
  • Social Security Card 
  • Proof of lawful residence in the US: passport, birth certificate, green card, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship, or consult report of birth abroad 
  • Proof of residence in Idaho
  • Completed medical examiner's certificate (if applicable) 
  • $34 application and exam fee
With all of that at the ready, you will then take a knowledge test that will quiz you on:
  • General Knowledge 
  • Endorsements (if applicable)
  • Air Brakes (if applicable) 
  • Combination (only for Class A CDL)
You must answer at least 80% of the questions correctly in order to pass the knowledge exam. If you passed, you’ve just earned yourself your commercial learner’s permit! With your CLP, you can practice with a licensed CDL holder before you
schedule your skills test
. Keep in mind that you must hold your CLP for a minimum of 14 days before you can take the skills test. 
When the day comes for the skills test, be sure to bring the commercial vehicle you plan on taking the exam in, your CLP, your Idaho’s driver’s license, certificate of completion for the Entry Level Driving Training course, $10 exam fee, CDL license fee (which we’ll get into later on)
vehicle insurance paperwork
, and
vehicle registration
.  
The road test will include: 
  • Left and right turns 
  • Four-way intersections and other intersections  
  • Safe following distance 
  • Use of lanes 
  • Lane changes 
  • Merging onto freeway/expressway
  • Roadside stopping and starting
  • Curves 
  • Railroad crossing 
  • Driving under bridges/overpasses/signs
  • Turn signal usage 
  • Steering
  • Brake usage 
  • Upshifting/downshifting (if applicable)
  • Student discharge (if applicable) 
MORE: How to get cheap commercial truck insurance

How long is a CDL valid in Idaho? 

An Idaho CDL is valid for a maximum of four years, but is only available for drivers 21 and older. CDLs can also be valid for three years for drivers between 18 and 21, or just one year for drivers who are 20 years old. 
A four-year CDL costs $40, a three-year CDL costs 30, and a one-year CDL costs just $15. 

How to save on car insurance in Idaho

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