Washington CDL CDL
CDL Commercial Drivers License - Home Study Course
CDL License Test Prep
Washington CDL License Test

WASHINGTON CDL LICENSE

Commercial Drivers License
CDL LICENSE Requirements
Home Study Course
For Tests Beginning November 1, 2017

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WASHINGTON CDL Information
Specific Washington CDL Information

Washington State CDL Training Requirements

Washington minimum CDL training requirements Before you can get a commercial driver license (CDL), you must successfully complete a training course at an approved Washington CDL training school. The training must include at least the following:

Class A Washington CDL Minimum training required: 160 total hours, including at least:
  • 40 hours of classroom instruction
  • 18 hours of street driving training
  • 16 hours of training in backing maneuvers
  • 16 hours of proficiency development
  • 70 hours of combined lab training, range training and observation

Class B Washington CDL Minimum training required: 48 total hours, including at least:
  • 20 hours of classroom instruction
  • 14 hours of street driving training
  • 4 hours of training in backing maneuvers
  • 4 hours of proficiency development
  • 6 hours of combined lab training, range training and observation

Class C Washington CDL Minimum training required: 36 total hours, including at least:
  • 20 hours of classroom instruction
  • 8 hours of street driving training
  • 2 hours of training in backing maneuvers
  • 2 hours of proficiency development
  • 4 hours of combined lab training, range training and observation
After you complete the minimum training requirements
The training school will give you a certificate of completion that you must present at a driver licensing office when you get your Washington CDL. You don't need the training certificate to schedule and take a Washington CDL skills test, but you must present the original certificate at the licensing office after you have passed all your tests and are ready to get your Washington CDL. You won't be issued a Washington CDL unless you present the original certificate. Photocopied, faxed, handwritten, or mailed certificates won't be accepted.

Types of drivers exempt from Washington State training requirements

Employer-certified drivers
If your employer agrees that you have the skills and training to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely, he or she will complete and sign an employer certification that includes the classes of commercial vehicles you may operate. To be exempt from meeting the minimum training requirements, you must present this typed, signed certification at a driver licensing office when you are issued your CDL.

To qualify as an "employer", the person or organization who completes the certification must:
  • Register with us. (See Employer registration and certification to learn how to register as an employer.)
  • Have hired at least 1 individual to operate a commercial motor vehicle on a regular basis during their normal course of business.
  • Not have the primary purpose of training commercial vehicle operators.

Drivers with military truck driver training
If you received specialized truck driver training in the military, you may be eligible for a Commercial Drivers Military Training Certificate from the Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA). Present this certificate instead of a training school certificate when you apply for your Washington CDL. To learn how to get a military training certificate, see the WDVA website: Military Commercial Drivers License Skills Test Waiver.

Agribusiness
You may get a restricted Washington CDL without meeting the minimum training requirements if you'll be operating a commercial motor vehicle only for agribusiness purposes. When you get your Washington CDL, we will add a restriction that only allows you to drive a commercial vehicle for an agribusiness. To have this restriction removed, you must present a training or employer certificate.

An "agribusiness" is a private carrier who primarily transports the following products during the normal course of business:
  • Farm machinery, farm equipment, and implements of husbandry.
  • Farm supplies and materials.
  • Seed, feed, fertilizer, and crop protection products.
  • Unprocessed agricultural commodities.
  • Any combination of the above.
To get this restricted CDL without meeting training requirements, your agribusiness employer must send us a completed Agribusiness Minimum Training Requirements Exemption form. Then we will assign you a unique ID number and send your employer the approved form. You must present this approved form at a driver licensing office when you are issued your CDL. For more information, see Agribusiness.

I used to have a CDL. Do I have to meet the minimum training requirements if I want to get a CDL again?
Yes, unless you work for an employer who will certify you have the skills and training necessary to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Washington State CDL instruction permit (CDIP)

Who can apply for a Washington State CDIP
Any driver over 18 years old with a valid WA driver license. To operate commercial vehicles from state to state (interstate) you must be at least 21 years old.

How to apply for a Washington State CDIP
  • Apply for a CDIP at a driver licensing office that offers knowledge testing (call to find out).
  • Bring your current license and Social Security number, for ID purposes. This is a mandatory under federal law (49 USC 31308) and WA state law (RCW 46.25.070).
  • Pass the knowledge test.
  • Pay the fees.

How long a Washington State CDIP is valid?
It's valid for 6 months and may only be renewed once in a 2 year period.

CDIP driving restrictions
After you've been issued a Washington State CDIP:
  • You must be accompanied when you drive a commercial vehicle. They must:
    • Hold a valid CDL and have 2 years' experience driving the type of commercial vehicle you are driving.
    • Have at least 5 years' total driving experience.
    • Occupy the seat beside you for the purpose of giving instruction.
  • You can't operate any commercial vehicle classified or placarded for hazardous materials.
Washington CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the Washington Knowledge Tests that are required for the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained in the FREE Washington CDL Handbook. Please read and study this manual carefully.
  • Class A - 70 Questions (50 GK + 20 Combination Vehicles) - Skills test required.
  • Class B - 50 Questions - Skills test required.
  • Class C - 50 Questions - Skills test required for bus, school bus and air brakes vehicles..
  • Passenger Endorsement - 20 questions - Skills test required in bus.
  • School Bus Endorsement - 25 questions - Skills test required in school bus.
  • Doubles/Triples Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Tank Vehicle Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement - 30 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Air Brake Restriction Removal - 25 questions - Additional skills test in vehicle with Air Brakes.

Classes of Washington CDL and Required Tests

CDL Class Tests Required Possible Endorsements and Required Tests
Class A
(Combination
vehicle endorsement required)

General Knowledge Written Exam

Combination Endorsement Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
T - Doubles/Triples Written Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class B

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class C

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

Note: If upgrading to a Class C from a Class D, no road test is required UNLESS the endorsement requires one.
H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam

Washington CDL Endorsements

Exam Time Allowed (Minutes) # of Questions on Exam # of Correct Answers Needed to Pass
General Knowledge 60 50 40
Air Brakes 25 25 20
HazMat 30 30 24
Tank 20 20 16
Passenger 20 20 16
Doubles/Triples 20 20 16
Combination Vehicles 20 20 16
School Bus 20 20 16

For the most complete and accurate official Washington state CDL information, go to the Official Washington CDL Website.

WHAT IS A CDL?

A "CDL" is a Commercial Drivers License. It meets certain "standards" that are the same for every state. It differs from your Washington "operator's" or "chauffeur's" licenses. It is required if you drive certain kinds of commercial vehicles either within Washington or outside of Washington.

WHAT IS THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1986 (CMVSA/86)?

It is a law passed by the United States Congress which requires ALL the individual states to comply with certain standards in regards to the licensing of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. Washington driver licensing standards comply with the law, requiring CMV drivers to obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) when driving applicable vehicles. A CDL license can ONLY be issued in the driver's STATE OF LEGAL RESIDENCE, and if you have a CDL, you can have NO OTHER DRIVER'S LICENSE in ANY other state.

WHEN DO I NEED A CDL INSTEAD OF MY REGULAR WASHINGTON DRIVERS LICENSE?

A CDL is required if you operate any of the following CMV's . . .

  • A vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 lbs.
  • A vehicle towing a unit with a manufacturer's GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. when the GCWR exceeds 26,000 lbs.
  • A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more persons (including the operator) or any vehicle carrying children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
  • A vehicle of any size that carries hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding.

ARE THERE ANY EXEMPTIONS TO BEING REQUIRED TO HAVE A CDL?

Yes, a few . . .

  • Active Duty Military . . . with military licenses operating military vehicles.
  • Firefighters . . . meeting approved training standards and operating authorized emergency vehicles.
  • Farmers . . . in certain cases.
  • Individuals ....operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for non business purposes.

ARE THERE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A WASHINGTON CDL?

You must meet the following requirements to obtain a CDL . . .

  • You must be 21 years old. (18 years if all commercial driving is done within Washington and if no hazardous materials requiring placarding are transported and if you do not drive double or triple trailer rigs).
  • Possess a valid medical certificate in accordance with MCSR 49 CFR 391.41.
  • You must otherwise qualify for the license based on your driving record. Any of the following will disqualify you from obtaining a CDL . . .
    • If you possess a license from any state other than your State of Residence.
    • If you are currently subject to any disqualification of your commercial driving privilege in Washington or any other state.
    • If your license is currently suspended, revoked, denied, or cancelled.
    • If you have a conviction for operating a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) while impaired in the 24 months immediately preceding application.
    • other technical rules, and further restrictions that pertain only to WASHINGTON are covered in detail within the Course.
      THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO APPRENTICESHIP OR TRAINING REQUIREMENTS TO GET YOUR WASHINGTON CDL. THIS MAY SOON CHANGE.

Access Official Federal CDL Medical Requirements Info

HOW DO I OBTAIN A CDL?

By completing the following items . . .

  • Show your driver's license from your State of Residence.
  • Take and pass all written examinations that apply to your license class and endorsement requirements.
  • Show proof of social security number.
  • Meet driver record eligibility requirements as determined by the State of Washington.
  • Fill out an application including certifications.
  • Show proof that you passed the required written tests, pass a vision screening, and show proof of a valid DOT medical certificate (BEFORE a CDL Temporary Instruction Permit will be issued and before you will be allowed to the the skills test).
  • Pay the Washington CDL fees.
  • Schedule, take, and pass your CDL skills test.

A separate booklet is included with the complete Washington CDL Course package which covers information such as fees, locations, contacts, and other items specific to the State of Washington for the written and skills examinations for ALL classes of license and ALL endorsements.

What do the terms Class A, Class B, and Class C mean on a CDL?

It refers to the type of vehicle that you may operate . . .

  • CLASS A . . . allows you to operate vehicles which tow trailers or other vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds when the combined GVWR is over 26,000 pounds. A Class "A" license also allows you to operate Class B and C vehicles. Applicable endorsements are required.
  • CLASS B . . . allows you to operate single vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more OR a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, towing trailers/vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds GVWR or less. A Class "B" license also allows you to operate Class C vehicles. Applicable endorsements are required.
  • CLASS C . . .allows you to operate vehicles under 26,001 lbs. GVWR, that would normally not require a CDL; except when they are designed to transport 16 or more persons including the driver; or that carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation, or carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding. Applicable endorsements are required.

What are Endorsement Codes and when do I need them on my CDL?

Endorsements are necessary for certain commercial driving requirements as follows . . .

  • AIR BRAKES endorsement for vehicles with air brakes.
  • (T) DOUBLE or TRIPLE TRAILERS. For tractors pulling two or three trailers.
  • (P) PASSENGER. For vehicles which are designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver);
  • (S) SCHOOL BUS. Any vehicle transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
  • (N) TANK VEHICLES. For vehicles designed to haul liquids or liquefied gases in bulk in permanently mounted tanks or portable tanks rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
  • (H) HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. To carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placards.
  • (X) Endorsement code designating a Tank (N) vehicle that carries Hazardous Materials (H).

Access Official Federal CDL Hazardous Materials Info

I'M OVER 18 YEARS OLDS, BUT NOT 21 YEARS OLD YET. CAN I GET A CDL?

Yes . . . with restrictions. Until your 21st birthday, you cannot drive a commercial vehicle outside the borders of Washington. You cannot drive a vehicle requiring HAZ MAT placarding and cannot drive double or triple trailer rigs.

CAN I USE MY WASHINGTON CDL OUT OF STATE?

Yes! If you are 21 years or older it is good throughout the entire United States.

CAN MY CDL BE SUSPENDED OR REVOKED?

Yes, there are MANY reasons that your CDL can be suspended or revoked. Improper use of alcohol or drugs, traffic violations, and failure to notify top the list. The Washington CDL Course details ALL of the rules regarding suspension or revocation. The point to remember is that alcohol or drug use is not tolerated and your record WILL FOLLOW YOU THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES FOREVER!!!

SO LET'S SAY THAT MY CDL IS REVOKED. CAN'T I JUST GET A CDL IN ANOTHER STATE?

No!!! Those days are gone. One computer system keeps track of all licenses THROUGHOUT the United States. In a matter of seconds it can be determined if you possess more than one license.

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