How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Louisiana
To receive a Louisiana CDL, or commercial drivers license, drivers are required to submit an application packet to the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) and pass all of the state’s driving exams. The CDL license can be used in Louisiana to operate different types of commercial motor vehicles, or CMVs, depending on the license class and endorsements received by the driver. Drivers must choose between three classes of commercial licenses and apply for endorsements in order to receive permission to transport certain types of goods or large numbers of passengers.
LA drivers can apply for their CDL credentials by submitting the necessary application material in person to a nearby OMV, where they will be required to take the written knowledge exams. If successful, the driver will receive his or her commercial permit, and be able to move forward in the licensing process. All applications must be accompanied by the necessary processing fees to be accepted.
CDL Requirements in Louisiana
Meeting CDL license requirements requires drivers to gather certain paperwork and pass the state’s different driving tests, according to the type of license the driver will be receiving. Important CDL requirements that apply to all commercial drivers in Louisiana include:
- Being 18 years of age or older.
- Providing proof of residency in the state of Louisiana
- Holding a valid driver’s license issued by the same jurisdiction where the driver is submitting the CDL application.
- Passing all applicable written- and skills-based exams.
- Passing a vision test.
- Having a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate.
- Completing a self-certification form declaring commerce type.
- Holding the LA commercial permit for at least two weeks.
- Being able to provide proof of legal presence in the U.S., if necessary.
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Louisiana
Getting CDL permit credentials from the OMV is the first step for all drivers applying for a full commercial operator’s license. The CDL learners permit, also known as a CLP, is required by all drivers so that they have the opportunity to legally practice driving CMVs in the appropriate class under the supervision of an experienced driver before having to sign up for the state’s road skills exam.
To receive the permit, drivers must meet all of the abovementioned requirements and bring the necessary material in person, to the OMV when ready. When submitting the application, the driver will be required to take the vision and knowledge exams.
Once received, drivers must keep the CDL permit for a period of at least 14 days before they can submit a request to take the driving exam and receive the full license. According to CDL permit rules, in Louisiana, drivers can receive some endorsements on their permits to operate certain types of vehicles, like with a full license.
CLPs are valid for 180 days from issuance, and can be extended for another period of 180 days, upon request. The CLP must be converted to a full license within 360 days; otherwise it is no longer valid.
CDL Written Test in Louisiana
All Louisiana commercial drivers must pass the CDL general knowledge test before they can receive their commercial permits or move forward in the licensing process. The basic CDL written test covers the general topics all truckers must know about, regardless of the type of vehicle or class of license for which is being applied. The tests include the following:
- Air Brakes Test (for drivers of applicable vehicles)
- Combination Vehicles Test (for Class A applicants)
- Doubles/Triples Endorsement Test
- Passenger Transport Endorsement Test
- Hazardous Materials Endorsement Test
- School Bus Endorsement Test
- Tankers Endorsement Test
Louisiana CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
The Louisiana OMV encourages all drivers to take their CDL prep seriously by carefully reviewing the state-issued CDL book, and possibly enrolling in an educational program to gain experience. Although no form of CDL school is required to get a CLP or CDL in Louisiana, several private schools are located across the state offering a variety of courses to help drivers learn about CMVs and prepare for the state exams.
Enrolling in a program can be especially helpful to those drivers who are looking for road skills instruction from qualified instructors after receiving their CLPs.
How to Get a CDL License in Louisiana
How to get a CDL in Louisiana begins with submitting the application materials to receive a commercial permit. To apply for CDL licensure after the driver has passed the necessary knowledge exams and received his or her CLP, the driver must schedule a final driving skills test with a CDL third-party examiner. At the appointment, the driver must bring his or her own vehicle of the necessary class and structure, along with proof of current auto insurance for the vehicle. The OMV maintains a list of third-party examiners currently administering exams in the state.
Once an LA driver has successfully submitted his or her CDL application and passed the necessary exams, the examiner will issue the driver a Certificate of Successful Completion in a sealed envelope. This sealed certificate must be presented to the OMV for registration and CDL issuance.
CDL Driving Test in Louisiana
The CDL test of road skills is the final step in the application process for a commercial license in Louisiana. All applicants must take the basic CDL driving test, and some drivers may have to take additional tests to receive certain endorsements. Drivers must pass all three portions of the basic exam at the same time in order to pass the test. The three sections of the LA exam are the following:
- The pre-trip vehicle inspection test
- The basic control test (maneuvers around obstacles, backing skills, etc.)
- The road skills test (in traffic with the examiner)
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Louisiana
The OMV can issue a military CDL to Louisiana residents who are in the armed services – or were released within the last 12 months – that meet certain qualifications. This CDL for veterans and active duty personnel allows drivers to waive having to take the final road skills exam, and directly receive a full operator’s license after completing the application and testing requirements to typically receive a permit. Certain endorsements cannot be added to this type of license. To qualify, military drivers must be able to demonstrate having adequate driving experience while in the military.
CDL Medical Exams in Louisiana
As of 2014, all commercial drivers must complete a CDL medical exam with a qualified physician certified by the National Registry of Medical Examiners, regardless of their self-certification status. The CDL physical intends to make sure that the driver has the health necessary to be able to safely operate heavy machinery for extended periods of time. Applications for a permit will not be accepted without the necessary medical certificate.
Types of CDL Classes in Louisiana
Like in most states, there are three classes of commercial driving licenses for which Louisiana drivers can apply in order to have permission to operate different types of CMVs. These include the Class A license, Class B License and Class C license, which are further outlined as:
- Class A CDL – For drivers of combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds.
- Class B CDL – For drivers of any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds.
- A Class C CDL – For drivers of single vehicles weighing less than 26,001 pounds and carrying hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Louisiana
CDL endorsements can be added to commercial licenses to allow the license holder to transport specific types of goods or large numbers of people. The following commercial license endorsements can be requested from the OMV:
- Passenger Endorsement
- Double/Triple Trailers Endorsement
- Tanker Endorsement
- Hazmat Endorsement
- School Bus Endorsement
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Louisiana
All Louisiana drivers must choose between applying for an interstate CDL or an intrastate CDL, depending on the type of commerce in which they intend to participate. The intrastate CDL is the most restricted, allowing for drivers to only transport goods or people within state boundaries that originated in Louisiana. Interstate licenses can instead be used for in-state commerce and out-of-state commerce.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Louisiana
The total CDL license cost for CMV operators in Louisiana depends on which, if any, endorsements are included on the license. Common fees for a commercial license in Louisiana include the below:
- Application fee (initial and renewal): $15
- CDL driver’s license fee: $41 ($51 for Orleans parish)
- Endorsements: $5 each
- Parish fee (if applicable): Up to $3