How to Get a Washington DC CDL License

The Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is issued by The District of Columbia DMV and requires the operators to pass a series of tests, provide appropriate medical certification and abide by the regulations of the federal law. Getting the CDL involves multiple tests, and they are as follows –

CDL Learner’s Permit – A non-commercial license must be carried before an operator can even start the application process. After this, the learner’s permit can be obtained. With this permit, the operator can practice driving as long as there is a person with a valid CDL accompanying them. To get the permit –

– A copy of DC CDL manual can be obtained from CDL office at 1205 Brentwood Road NE or it can be downloaded from here.
-After studying the manual, the knowledge tests need to be taken from Brentwood or the Southwest Service Center and the scores would have 90 days validity.
– The applicant’s physician needs to complete a certification card and medical form.
– The learner’s permit fee is $39 which must be paid after filling the application form.

The CDL – The learner’s permit would be used for practicing after getting enrolled in a commercial driving school. After that, a road test would take place and a driver with a valid CDL would accompany the applicant. The following documents are necessary for the road test appointment –

-Valid CDL’s learner’s permit and driver’s license issued by The District of Columbia.
– Valid Medical Certification Card which is stamped.
– A vehicle which would be used for testing and must be in the same class as that chosen in the applicant’s CDL class, with registration documents.

After finishing the road test, the learner’s permit would be upgraded to CDL. Washington DC cdl license cost would be $117.

CDL Disqualifications – The following is a list of things that would act as disqualifications for obtaining a CDL –

– Suspended or Revoked Driver’s License.
– Medical conditions which might affect the driver’s ability to drive safely (like Type II Diabetes).
– Felony convictions in the last 3 years for school bus drivers.
– Any court appearances that are pending in relation to traffic tickets.
– Any unresolved tickets pertaining to other jurisdictions.


Federal Guidelines – Some changes have been made to ensure utmost safety –
Ø Minimum standards that must be met by the state when CDLs are issued.
Ø Existing state programs must be upgraded to ensure compliance to the new federal laws.
Ø Unlike before, licenses must be provided for specific vehicle classes.
Ø Having more than one driver’s license is illegal as per federal laws. It can either be commercial or regular license.
Ø Every 2 years, a physical exam must be passed by the drivers.
Ø Minimum age is 21 years for interstate driving and 18 years for driving within the state.
Ø Clean driving records.
Ø Ability to speak and read English should be enough to understand road signs, communicate with people/law and prepare reports.
The national database is used to check the histories of the drivers and ensure compliance.

Separate State Classes for CDL – Licenses are issued by the state in the following categories –

Ø Class A – GWVR (group of vehicles) should be greater than or equal to 26,001 pounds and GWVR of vehicle being towed should be greater than 10,000 pounds.
Ø Class B – GWVR (single vehicle) should be greater than or equal to 26,001 pounds and GWVR of vehicle being towed should not be greater than 10,000 pounds.
Ø Class C – Vehicles not falling in class A or B but are designed to transport greater than or equal to 16 passengers (including driver) or are placarded for hazmat (hazardous materials)

Endorsements – Endorsements are needed for getting license for certain specific commercial vehicles like double/triple trailers, passenger, tank vehicle, hazmat and school buses. These involve knowledge tests and skill tests, details of which can be found here.

Medical Certification – A physical exam is conducted and DOT medical certificate needs to be carried by drivers to ensure highway safety and details can be found here.

Minimum Training Requirements – Washington DC cdl license training requirements can be found out by contacting their motor vehicle’s department.

For more information, the official website of Washington State Department of Licensing can be visited.