How to Get a South Dakota CDL License

CDL or a Commercial driver’s license is a must if you are driving school or passenger buses or any big rigs. Applicants aged 16 years old and above, first have to qualify for at least one knowledge test and skills test. There are various parts of the skills test, which include skill at controlling the vehicle, a road test to check your performance in various situations, a vehicle inspection to test your knowledge of different parts of the vehicle, and your ability to inspect their safety. On qualifying all these tests, the applicant gets a license that is valid for 5 years.

Knowledge Test – Before taking the knowledge test, download the Commercial Driver License Manual here and read it thoroughly. You should score at least 80% to qualify for this test. There are numerous knowledge tests as given below –

Ø General Knowledge – Compulsory for all applicants.
Ø Passenger Transport – For bus drivers
Ø Passenger School Bus – For School bus drivers
Ø Air brakes – All applicants intending to drive vehicles with air brakes
Ø Combination vehicles – Applicants intending to drive combination vehicles
Ø Hazardous Materials – Applicants intending to drive vehicles with hazardous waste
Ø Tankers – Applicants intending to transport vehicles with bulk liquid
Ø Double/Triples – Applicants intending to drive double/triple trailers.

When you are ready, visit an examination site and apply for a permit. CDL permit cost is $15, on the payment of which, you will get a CDL permit, valid for 6 months. If you drive a commercial vehicle during this period, you will have to be accompanied by a CDL holder, aged 21 years or older, with a valid CDL for the type of vehicle being driven.

Commercial Driver’s License Testing – If you are ready, you can now apply for the skills test for obtaining your license. The skills test has three parts as given below –

Ø Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection – The applicant should be able to identify various parts of the vehicle and inspect them for safety.
Ø Basic Vehicle Control Test – Your skill at being able to control the vehicle in various traffic maneuvers will be tested here. There will be boundaries and you will have to stay within them at the time of performing the maneuvers.
Ø Road Test – Your skill in being level-headed in various traffic situations will be tested. These include the route you take, your actions, such as taking left and right turns, tackling curves and traveling through intersections, and driving on expressways, rural roads, and others. You should be able to merge well in the traffic, change lanes and handle lane positioning smoothly and at the same time control speed of the vehicle.
It is necessary to take the skills test in the same type of vehicle that you will be driving.

Getting License – On qualifying all these tests, you will get your commercial driving license. South Dakota CDL license cost is $15 and the validity of the license is for 5 years. The expiry date of the license will be your birthday.

Federal Requirement – Self certify the type of vehicle you will drive. The driving categories are –

Ø Excepted Interstate
Ø Non-Excepted Interstate
Ø Excepted Intrastate
Ø Non-Excepted Intrastate

In case of non-excepted intrastate, you will need to submit a federal medical certificate.

CDL Classes for South Dakota – The applicant is eligible for CDL if his driving record is clean. He will have to pass a physical examination once in two years and be 21 years of age for operating a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce.
Three categories of licenses are issues in every state as given below –
Ø Class A – GWVR (gross vehicle weight rating) should be greater than or equal to 26,001 pounds with the GWVR of a towed vehicle exceeding 10,000 pounds.
Ø Class B – GWVR of single-vehicle more than or equal to 26,001 pounds and of the towed vehicles not exceeding 10,000 pounds.
Ø Class C – Vehicle falling in neither Class A nor B and used for transportation of 16 or more passengers or for transportation of hazardous materials.

Endorsements – The applicant will get endorsements on his CDL if he qualifies and is licensed for a specific commercial vehicle. Details of types of endorsements, including skills and others can be found here.

Medical Certification – Drivers have to be medically fit for the safe operation of their vehicles. They must undergo a physical examination and carry DOT medical certificate.

Minimum Training – Applicant can find about South Dakota CDL license training from the official website of the Department of Transport.
For more information, the applicant can visit the official website of South Dakota Department of Public Safety.