If you want to drive a commercial vehicle, like a school bus or big rig truck, either inside or outside of New Hampshire, you must have a CDL, Commercial Driver’s License. Obtaining a CDL in New Hampshire is not difficult for most, but it does require taking time to study state driving laws and learning how to drive a commercial vehicle.
To operate a commercial vehicle inside New Hampshire, you must be at least 18 years old. If you want to drive between states, however, you must be 21. It can be difficult to find a CDL position that does not require out-of-state driving, especially because New Hampshire is small and many local businesses still deliver to nearby states. However, if you look hard enough and work hard enough, you might be able to find a local route that delivers only within a county or town area, such as a grocery store route or furniture delivery business.
Medical, Criminal, and Driving Record Requirements
To be qualified for a CDL, you must be able to pass a physical exam that indicates you are physically capable of taking on the demands of driving a commercial vehicle. The federal government requires that you obtain a physical exam from a doctor and carry a certificate that states you passed the exam in the vehicle with you.
The state of New Hampshire also requires that you pass an eye exam before you take the CDL test. Your vision must be 20/40 in each eye to receive a passing score. Fortunately, if you fail the eye test, you can visit an optometrist and receive glasses or contacts and re-take the test. However, you can’t re-take the test on the same day.
In order to receive a hazmat certification, a certification that allows you to carry hazardous materials, you must be able to pass a criminal background check, as required by the U.S. Patriot Act. If you do have a criminal record, that’s no reason to immediately begin to worry. Only certain crimes will disqualify you from receiving the license, and they are the most serious crimes, including terrorism, murder, trason, robbery, rape, or unlawful possession/sale/use/distribution/manufacture of a firearm.
Finally, if you want to qualify for a CDL, you must have a good driving record. If you don’t, you may not be able to take the CDL exam.
New Hampshire CDL License Training
Neither New Hampshire nor the federal government requires that you undergo any specific training to obtain a CDL license. However, New Hampshire makes it easy to begin the learning process. First, the state makes the commercial driver manual available both online or at local branches of the Division of Motor Vehicles. (Local branches are called substations, and there are many throughout the state, so odds are there is one that is close to you.)
The second way that New Hampshire makes it easy to begin learning how to obtain a CDL is by making it legal for anyone with a regular driver’s license (Class D) to practice driving a commercial vehicle as long as they are accompanied by an individual who is at least 25 and has the appropriate CDL license for the vehicle that he/she is driving.
Fortunately, many commercial driving companies offer CDL training as part of job recruitment process. However, if you’re not interested in working with a company or you want to keep your options open, you may choose to attend a CDL school or simply locate a an individual who has a CDL and his/her own vehicle and ask him/her to mentor you.
New Hampshire CDL Testing
Once you’ve completed your training and studied the CDL manual, you are ready to take your qualifying exams. New Hampshire requires that you pass a written test (filled with material from the driver’s manual) and a practical driving test, which demonstrates that you can drive a commercial vehicle. There are different classes of commercial vehicles and different endorsements that you may need to obtain in order to drive the vehicle that you wish to drive. You will need to ensure you request the appropriate tests. You may need to take as many as 7 written tests, not including endorsements. You do not need an appointment to take the written tests and can re-take them if you fail, but you do need an appointment to take the driving test. You can also re-take this test if you fail.
New Hampshire CDL License Cost
The cost for the New Hampshire CDL license can vary depending on the endorsements that you wish to receive. The cost will be between $60-$105 for the tests alone. You will also pay fees for schooling, if you go that route, and the hazmat background check, if you want this endorsement.
Obtaining a New Hampshire CDL is not challenging. However, it is important to understand the requirements and study the material so that you can make informed decisions.