How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Maryland
Drivers must apply for a Maryland CDL, or commercial drivers license, from the MD Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to gain permission to operate any commercial motor vehicle, or CMV. Vehicles that require a CDL license to be driven include those weighing over 26,000 pounds and some other types of commercial vehicles within Maryland and between Maryland and other states. Drivers must meet all of the state’s eligibility criteria in order to qualify for a commercial license, including submitting a complete application packet and passing all of the necessary state exams.
There are three different types of CDL licenses for which drivers can apply in Maryland, in addition to various endorsements that can be added. Before a driver can complete the final driving skills exam to receive a full commercial license, the driver must apply for – and receive – a commercial permit. The permit allows the driver to legally train driving vehicles of the class for which he or she is applying before getting the license.
CDL Requirements in Maryland
All drivers must meet the same basic CDL license requirements to be able to submit an application to the MVA for a commercial license. CDL requirements that all Maryland drivers must meet include the following:
- Be at least 18 years of age for an intrastate license, or 21 years of age for an interstate license
- Hold a full Maryland Class D driver’s license
- Provide proof of having Maryland residency
- Provide proof of identity and Social Security Number (SSN)
- Provide proof of valid presence in the U.S., if not already provided to the MVA
- Hold a commercial permit for the necessary length of time
- Self-certify whether driving intrastate or interstate
- Get a complete Medical Examiner Certificate
- Pass a vision screening
- Pass all necessary written knowledge tests
- Pass all necessary driving skills exams
- Pay the necessary fees
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Maryland
It is necessary for all Maryland commercial drivers to receive a CDL permit, or CLP, before being found eligible to receive a full commercial operator’s license. The Maryland CDL learners permit is earned by submitting all of the abovementioned application material in person, to an MVA licensing agency. No appointment is necessary to submit this application. The driver will be required to take the vision and knowledge exam after submitting the application to receive the CLP.
CDL Written Test in Maryland
All applicants must pass the CDL general knowledge test with a score of at least 80 percent to receive their CLPs and move forward in the commercial license process. This CDL written test contains multiple-choice questions on topics concerning vehicle inspection, operation and maintenance. Additional knowledge exams that may have to be taken by MD drivers depending on which endorsements they apply for include the below:
- Air Brake Knowledge Test
- Combination Vehicles Knowledge Test
- Passenger Knowledge Test
- School Bus Knowledge Test
- Doubles/Triples Knowledge Test
- Hazardous Materials Knowledge Test
- Tank Knowledge Test
Maryland CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
All Maryland drivers can benefit from enrolling in a CDL school in one form or another before attempting to earn a commercial license. Although no form of CDL training is required by the MVA, the MVA encourages all drivers to learn how to drive CMVs from qualified instructors who can be of particular help after the driver has received his or her CLP. This is the time when the driver needs a qualified educator to show him or her how to safely and properly operate vehicles in the applicable class.
The MVA has also issued a CDL handbook to help new and experienced drivers, alike, review the best practices and learn about Maryland state policies. Copies of the manual are available for free online or via hard copies at the MVA.
How to Get a CDL License in Maryland
Once a driver has earned his or her CLP, how to get a CDL in Maryland is just a matter of learning how to operate the CMVs in the driver’s class and passing the driving skills exam. To apply for CDL credentials, the driver must hold his or her commercial permit for a minimum of 14 days before he or she can be found eligible to take the driving skills test. Once the driver has scheduled and passed the test, he or she can alert the MVA to receive his or her new, full commercial license in the mail within four to seven business days.
CDL Driving Test in Maryland
Maryland commercial drivers must schedule a CDL test with a local MVA Customer Service Center by calling 410-768-7000 (hearing impaired customers can call 800-492-4575) or sending a request through the MVA web portal. For the CDL driving test, the driver will have to provide his or her own vehicle for the appointment and valid medical certification documentation. The general driving skills exam is divided into three main parts in Maryland:
- Pre-Trip Inspection (with an air brake test if vehicle is equipped with air brakes)
- Basic Control Skills Test
- Public Road Test
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Maryland
The MVA offers a military CDL to qualified drivers who are veterans that have been discharged within the previous 12 months, active duty personnel, reservists or National Guard personnel (who meet certain criteria).
To receive a CDL for veterans or active duty military members, applicants must be able to demonstrate having adequate experience with large vehicles in the military, and be able to provide evidence of their current status with the military. Earning a waiver allows the driver to receive a full operator’s license after completing the vision and written knowledge exams without having to complete the driving skills exams.
CDL Medical Exams in Maryland
All commercial drivers are required to submit to a CDL medical exam from a qualified physician before they can be found eligible to operate a CMV. After passing the CDL physical, the doctor should provide the doctor with a medical certificate and the permission the driver needs to move forward in the application process.
The point of the medical exam is to ensure that the driver has a level of health that permits the safe operation of large vehicles. Some drivers may qualify for medical waivers for certain disability or illnesses.
Types of CDL Classes in Maryland
There are three CDL license types in MD. Commercial drivers in Maryland apply for a Class A license when operating a combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds.
A Class B CDL is requested when the driver must operate any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds. The Class C license is reserved for drivers of single vehicles weighing less than 26,001 pounds that are carrying hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Maryland
In addition to choosing between license classes, which CDL endorsements a driver needs must also be chosen from the beginning of the application process. Applying for any endorsement brings additional requirements. The hazmat endorsement, for example, requires that drivers also complete a criminal background check before they can be found eligible. Commercial endorsements available in Maryland include the below:
- P – Passenger Endorsement
- S – School Bus Endorsement
- T – Doubles/Triples Trailer Endorsement
- N – Tanker Endorsement
- H – Hazmat Endorsement
- X – Tank Carrying Hazardous Material Endorsement
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Maryland
Maryland drivers must self-certify whether they need an interstate or an interstate CDL, depending on what materials they plan on transporting, and where they plan on transporting them. The intrastate CDL is more restricted than its counterpart, permitting the driver to only travel within the state.
The interstate license, however, allows the driver to pass state lines and transport a greater variety of goods. Maryland drivers are asked to self-certify their commerce types by completing the Driving Certification for Maryland Commercial Driver’s License Holders form.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Maryland
Paying the complete CDL license cost is an important part of every driver’s commercial license application process. There is a variety of fees that a driver may be charged during the application process, depending on the type of license being requested. The following fees are commonly asked of commercial drivers in Maryland:
- CDL permit cost (includes CDLIS & skills test fees): $ 90
- CDL renewal/conversion (includes CDLIS fee): $50
- CDL conversion (out-of-state to MD CDL same class; includes CDLIS fee five-year license): $65
- Add motorcycle class: $45
- CDL duplicate: $20
- CDL correction (without renewal): $20
- CDL skills retest: $20
- CDL hazmat background check (BRC): $86
Maryland CDL Forms
Note: DMV forms change regularly. The forms provided above are current based on the date of writing.
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Information from mva.maryland.gov