The New York CDL allows commercial drivers to operate their vehicles on public roads. To get the CDL license in New York, you need to already have a standard driver’s license. In addition, you will need to take several steps that show your ability to responsibly operate larger vehicles.

There are several steps in order to get a commercial drivers license from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These include providing required documentation, submitting to medical, knowledge and skills tests and paying all of the necessary fees. Additionally, you must decide which types of commercial vehicles you want to operate, which may require obtaining certain CDL endorsements. Once you satisfy all of the state-specific qualifications, you can begin driving on NY roads professionally.

CDL Requirements in New York

New York CDL license requirements state that you must be at least 18 years of age in order to get a commercial license. You need to be 21 years of age if you want to get a Class A commercial license, however. You must pass a written test in order to get your permit, and then a driving test in order to get your license. CDL requirements also state that the medical exam may disqualify you from being allowed to drive commercially. Note that all applicants must have a regular driver’s license before applying for a CDL.

How to Apply for a CDL Permit in New York

The CDL permit allows you to practice driving commercial vehicles before you get your license. In order to get a CDL learners permit in New York, you must:

  • Provide documentation showing you are a legal resident of the U.S.
  • Pass the written CDL exam.
  • Pay the CDL application fees.

CDL permit rules only allow you to drive when you are being supervised by a commercially licensed driver. Your supervising driver must also be licensed to operate the vehicle with which you are practicing.

CDL Written Test in New York

The New York CDL written test is administered in person, at DMV locations. To pass this test, you need to answer at least 80 percent of the CDL permit test questions correctly. In order to study, you should consult the CDL manual, in full. This book covers all of the material on which you will be tested, including how to properly pack your shipment, how to avoid overloading your vehicle and how to make sure the materials you are transporting are suitable for your vehicle.

The CDL general knowledge test allows you to get your initial license, but there are additional tests you will be required to take if you want endorsements to add to your CDL.

New York CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests

A CDL practice test can be found at the end of every chapter in your CDL handbook. These practice tests ensure that you have properly absorbed the material explained in each corresponding chapter.

You can also go to a CDL school in New York to prepare for your tests, and this may help you get the hands-on experience needed to pass. However, this form of CDL training is not required by the state. Instead, CDL prep can simply entail driving with a supervisor who is licensed to operate the vehicle in which you are practicing. No matter how you choose to prepare, you should consult the manual to ensure that you are practicing all of the maneuvers you will be required to make during your skills test.

How to Get a CDL License in New York

Once you have your permit, how to get a CDL in New York entails following certain steps. These include:

  1. Study for the road test with a licensed CDL driver. You must drive with this supervisor for at least two weeks before you will be allowed to get your license.
  2. Schedule your CDL road test.
  3. Apply for CDL licensure by filling out the New York CDL application and submitting it to the office.
  4. Pass the road test.

You cannot get your CDL immediately after the test has been completed. Instead, you need to wait one day. The office will issue you a temporary license. Your permanent license should arrive in the mail in approximately four weeks after you have passed your test, which means your 90-day temporary license should be valid through the time it takes for you to receive your permanent license.

CDL Driving Test in New York

The New York CDL test shows your mastery of basic driving maneuvers, such as turning, braking and changing lanes. Additionally, it will test your ability to park. You need to show safe driving habits on the road, on the expressway and in school zones. Note that there is a series of situations listed in Section 13 of the CDL Manual. If any of these do not come up during your test, you will be asked to verbally explain how you would handle them.

Applicants can take the CDL driving test at any testing location offered throughout the state, regardless of their counties of residence. In fact, the New York DMV encourages drivers to check all of the locations that are within reasonable distances to determine where they can book their earliest appointments. These locations will not usually be found at DMVs. Instead, CDL applicants will be instructed where to go for their tests upon scheduling.

How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in New York

To get the New York CDL for veterans or active service members, you must meet certain requirements. You must have either:

  • An active service status that requires you to drive commercial vehicles.
  • Two years of experience driving commercial vehicles for the military.

If you are serving – or have served – in the military, but do not fulfill the normal requirements, you will be able to get your CDL. However, you will not qualify for the New York military CDL skill test waiver.

Note that military personnel are required to pay all permit and licensing fees.

CDL Medical Exams in New York

The new DOT physical requirements state that you need to submit to a CDL physical in New York before you are allowed to apply for your commercial driving privileges. This CDL medical exam is administered by a physician who is a member of the FMCSA’s National Registry.

The DOT medical examiner checks to ensure that you are capable of driving large – and potentially hazardous – vehicles safely. If there are any issues which allow you to drive, but could prove problematic in some situations (for example, if you are diabetic or prone to seizures), you will need to get a “V” restricted license, which indicates that you have medical variance.

Types of CDL Classes in New York

There are three classes of commercial licenses available in New York. You must be at least 21 years old in order to get a Class A license in New York, but 18 year olds are allowed to apply for Class B and Class C licenses. The classes are defined as follows:

  • The Class A CDL allows drivers to operate the majority of single and combination commercial vehicles, regardless of weight, though endorsements may be required for certain vehicles.
  • The Class B CDL allows drivers to operate buses, trucks and other single-unit commercial vehicles weighing a minimum of 26,000 pounds.
  • The Class C CDL allows drivers to operate buses, trucks and other single-unit commercial vehicle weighing a maximum of 26,000 pounds.

Types of CDL Endorsements in New York

New York CDL endorsements indicate that you are allowed to drive vehicles that require specific training, testing or documentation. The endorsements each have a corresponding coded letter that is placed on your license. The current endorsements available in New York State include:

  • Code “H,” which indicates a hazardous materials endorsement.
  • Code “M,” which indicates a metal coil endorsement.
  • Code “N,” which indicates a tank endorsement.
  • Code “P,” which indicates a passenger endorsement.
  • Code “S,” which indicates a school bus endorsement.
  • Code “T,” which indicates a doubles/triples endorsement.
  • Code “W,” which indicates a tow truck endorsement.
  • Code “X,” which indicates a hazmat endorsement.

Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in New York

Commercial drivers licenses are classified in part, based on where you will be driving. The New York intrastate CDL only allows you to drive commercially within the state. The New York interstate CDL, on the other hand, allows you to drive commercially both inside and outside of the state.

Commercial Driving License Fees in New York

The CDL license cost and permit fees must be paid in order to successfully obtain licensure in the state. The associated figures are as follows:

  • CDL permit cost: $10; this includes the cost of your written test(s)
  • Additional permit tests cost: $5 per attempt
  • CDL license cost in New York: $40
Last updated on Thursday, March 5 2020.