How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Connecticut
A Connecticut CDL, or commercial drivers license, enables motorists to legally operate commercial vehicles. CDL licenses come in several variations, depending on the types of vehicles and driving in which motorists wish to engage. Becoming licensed to drive commercially can open up new and profitable employment opportunities for residents. For example, jobs that require CDL license credentials include everything from taxi driving to school bus operation, to driving tractor-trailers and tanker trucks. Some types of commercial driving may require motorists to get special endorsements on top of their commercial licenses.
In recognition of the important role commercial motorists play in highway safety, the process of getting a truck driver license is dually regulated by both the federal government and the individual states. Although motorists seeking licenses must apply through the Connecticut DMV, they are required to meet federal medical standards as part of the application criteria. Note that motorists may not hold CDLs from more than one state at a time.
CDL Requirements in Connecticut
Connecticut CDL license requirements include age, history, residency, process and health restrictions. To apply for a commercial drivers license, motorists must:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Have a clean driving history.
- Pass all applicable tests, including a physical exam.
- Complete the application and testing process correctly within the allotted amount of time.
- Pay all associated fees.
State CDL requirements dictate that applicants can be denied CDLs or have their licenses revoked. These circumstances are enforced when drivers:
- Commit felonies.
- Commit other violations or transgressions of the law, including qualifying traffic offenses.
- Lose or fail to hold the CT regular drivers license.
- Have certain health conditions, including drug and/or alcohol abuse issues.
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Connecticut
A Connecticut CDL learners permit is the first step in acquiring a CDL license. Similar to private license permits, CDL permit rules mandate that holders may drive only in the presence – and under the supervision – of other licensed and qualified CDL holders for the purpose of acquiring on-road experience. Keep in mind that permit holders may not actually transport commercial goods or passengers.
Per state CDL permit requirements, motorists must apply for their permits at regional DMV centers. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and will need:
- Completed Application for a Commercial Drivers License forms.
- Valid and current DOT physical exam results.
- Their regular drivers licenses.
- Social Security cards.
- Hard-copy proof of a completed online DMV self-certification.
- Military exemption waivers (where applicable).
- Proof of residency, citizenship and identity.
- Payment for licensing and testing fees.
Getting CDL permit in Connecticut entails submitting all required documentation to a DMV regional center, and taking and passing the written knowledge test. Once motorists have been issued a CDL permit, they can begin driving practice. To get their licenses, they will only need to schedule and pass the road test portion of their CDL testing.
CDL Written Test in Connecticut
Motorists must pass the Connecticut CDL general knowledge test when they apply for their CDL permits. Note that online CDL test is available, and that all tests must be taken in person, at a DMV regional office. CDL permit test questions are drawn directly from the CDL handbook. Tests are comprised of 50 questions, and applicants must answer at least 40 correctly in order to pass. The following additional CDL written test sections will apply to motorists seeking particular endorsements:
- Hazardous Materials Endorsement section, comprised of 30 questions, of which motorists need to answer 24 correctly to pass
- Air Brakes Endorsement section, comprised of 25 questions, of which motorists need to answer 20 correctly to pass.
- Combination Vehicle, School Bus, Passenger, Tanker and Doubles/Triples Endorsement sections, each comprised of 20 questions, of which motorists must answer 16 correctly to pass.
Motorists who fail any portion of their CDL knowledge tests cannot retake their tests the same day. They will need to return no sooner than the next business day, and submit a new application and testing fee to retest. Upon successful completion of knowledge tests, applicants must pay $10 in order to be issued their permits.
Connecticut CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
Several forms of CDL prep are available to Connecticut motorists pursuing their CDL credentials. These include:
- Enrolling in a licensed CDL school (also referred to as truck driving school).
- Studying the CDL handbook.
- Using online CDL practice test
Most applicants use more than one – if not all – of these CDL training methods to prepare for their licensing tests.
How to Get a CDL License in Connecticut
How to get a CDL in Connecticut is somewhat unique, in that applicants must pass the knowledge test in order to receive their permits. As a result, motorists submit everything they need to apply for CDL licenses up front. Once they have their permits, the only step remaining in the CDL application process is to take and pass the road skills test. Motorists have 180 days from the time they receive their permits to schedule and take their road tests.
CDL Driving Test in Connecticut
The Connecticut CDL driving test examines motorists’ abilities to inspect and control their vehicles, and to drive safely on the road. Motorists must make appointments with a regional DMV center in order to take their tests. Motorists who pass their tests may pick up their licenses two business days later at the same DMV center at which they initially applied for their CDL permits.
Motorists who fail the road skills CDL test must complete a new Application for Commercial Drivers License, and pay $30 to repeat the test at a later date. However, they must wait at least seven days before retesting.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Connecticut
United States Armed Forces servicemembers can apply to transfer their military CDL authorizations and experiences to Connecticut civilian credentials via a CDL skills test waiver. The CDL for veterans program is open to servicemembers who:
- Who are still in service, or left service honorably less than one year before applying.
- Drove military vehicles for a minimum of two years before applying.
- Have clean driving records.
- Submit waiver application forms signed by their commanding officers.
Waivers can exempt eligible applicants from taking the road skills portion of their CDL testing. However, they must complete all other parts of the process, including the written test, as usual.
CDL Medical Exams in Connecticut
All applicants for Connecticut commercial drivers licenses must undergo a CDL medical exam. These exams are part of new DOT physical requirements designed to ensure the safety of America’s roadways. To qualify, the CDL physical must be conducted by an authorized DOT medical examiner. Certified results must be presented to the DMV at the time of application for a CDL learners permit. Applicants who do not pass their physicals will not be permitted to receive learners permits or licenses.
Types of CDL Classes in Connecticut
Motorists may choose from three Connecticut commercial driver license classes. They are outlined as:
- Class A License holders may drive combination vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings over 26,001 pounds.
- Class B CDL holders may drive single vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings over 26,001 pounds.
- Class C CDL holders may drive passenger vehicles and vehicles holding hazardous materials.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Connecticut
Connecticut CDL endorsements must be requested, and tested for, on top of standard commercial licenses. Available endorsements are as follows:
- School Bus Endorsement (S)
- Passenger Endorsement (P)
- Double/Triple Trailer Endorsement (T)
- Liquid Bulk/Tank Cargo Endorsement (“Tanker Endorsement”) (N)
- Hazardous Material Endorsement (“Hazmat Endorsement”) (H)
- Hazardous Material and Tank, Combined Endorsement (X)
- Student Transportation Vehicle Endorsement (V)
- Activity Vehicle Endorsement (A)
- Taxi, Livery, Service Bus, Motor Bus or Motor Coach Endorsement (F)
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Connecticut
Connecticut intrastate CDL licenses cover motorists intending to operate exclusively within state borders. Motorists who will cross state lines in commercial vehicles must hold interstate CDL licenses, however. Motorists who will not leave Connecticut, themselves, but who will transport persons or goods crossing borders as part of their total journeys, must have interstate CDL licenses, as well.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Connecticut
The primary factor in Connecticut CDL license cost is testing fees. Applicants who fail any portion of the testing will be required to retake their exams and pay a new fee each time. The costs are as follows:
- General knowledge test: $16
- Air brakes test: $5
- Each endorsement: $5