Nevada CDL Overview

Getting your CDL in Nevada

In Nevada, everything you need to do to get your CDL will be done with the Department of Motor Vehicles at a CDL office, with the exception of your Medical Examiner’s Certificate. You must be at least 21 years of age to be issued a CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce and to receive endorsements for passengers or hazardous materials, and must be at least 25 to receive an endorsement for vehicle combinations over 70 feet in length. CDLs issued to applicants age 18 to 20 will contain Restriction R (no passengers or hazmat) and Restriction 2 (intrastate commerce only).

You must be a Nevada resident and provide a Nevada street address to obtain a driver license, and may not hold licenses or ID cards from multiple states. Active duty military members, their spouses, dependents and others living temporarily in Nevada are not required to transfer their license and registration. Licenses are not issued to visitors. Foreign nationals may or may not be eligible for a license or a driver authorization card depending on their specific immigration status. You can contact the Nevada DMV to find out more information about how your personal circumstances are related to residency requirements.

To begin the commercial licensing process, you must present proof of identity, Social Security Number and proof of Nevada residency if you have never had commercial driving privileges in Nevada, or if you are upgrading your existing CDL to a Real ID (beginning October 1, 2020, this will be required nationwide to be able to enter a federal building or board a plane). You must also list all states where you have held any commercial or non-commercial driver's license in the past ten years. Your driving history in each state will be checked. All applicants must complete an Application for Commercial Driving Privileges (Commercial Learner’s Permit). This is where you will select your intended CDL classification, endorsements, veteran status, and personal information.

See complete details regarding residency requirements

A Commercial Learner’s Permit is necessary not only for new drivers who do not yet have a CDL, but also if you are upgrading an existing CDL to a higher class, adding an endorsement or removing a restriction that requires a skills test, and the upgrade requires a skills test; as well as in the event that your CDL privileges have been invalid for more than 4 years.

You will need to pass all applicable tests including a vision test, written tests, and skills tests including pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic controls skills, engine start and in-cab inspection, and a road test. The CLP must be held for at least 14 days prior to taking CDL testing and is valid for 180 days. If it has been expired for more than 30 days, all tests must be re-taken. CLPs will have a class and may have endorsements and restrictions.

CDL Classes and endorsements

CDL Classes available:

  • Class A: required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, to include a towed vehicle that is heavier than 10,000 lbs. This includes tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations, tractor-trailor buses, tankers, livestock carriers, and flatbeds.
  • Class B: required to operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or heavier, and/or any vehicle as described above that is towing another vehicle weighing UP TO 10,000 lbs. This includes straight trucks, large buses, segmented buses, box trucks, and dump trucks with small trailers.
  • Class C: may be required if the vehicle you intend to drive does not meet the criteria for either a Class A or Class B license, and is meant to transport either at least 16 passengers (to include you, the driver), or hazardous material (HAZMAT) as laid out by federal guidelines. Vehicles requiring a Class C CDL include small HAZMAT vehicles, passenger vans, and small trucks towing a trailer.

CDL Endorsements available:

  • (H) Hazardous Materials (note that for this endorsement, you must submit fingerprints to the TSA and undergo an FBI criminal history records check and other security checks)
  • (N) Tank Vehicle
  • (P) Passenger Transport
  • (S) School Bus
  • (T) Doubles/Triples (LCV's or long combination vehicles are combinations of multiple trailers attached to one truck, as opposed to standard 5-axle semis)

Note that the only endorsements allowed for a Commercial Learner’s Permit are Passenger, School bus, and Tank vehicle.

There are extensive restrictions possible. Some common and applicable CDL restrictions include: L (no air brakes), O (no tractor-trailer), S (no passengers), and K (intrastate only).

See the complete list of restrictions

Medical requirements and self-certification

You must pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examination. Only a licensed medical examiner may conduct your examination.

Certified medical examiners can be found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry. Medical examiner's certificates are valid for a maximum of 2 years.

By regulation, Specific Medically Disqualifying Conditions Found Under 49 CFR 391.41 are Hearing Loss, Vision Loss, Epilepsy and Insulin Use. Drivers who require a Diabetes or Vision exemption to safely drive a CMV in addition to those pre-printed on the certification form are disqualified until they receive such an exemption.

Visit the FMCSA’s website for detailed information on medical requirements

All Commercial Driver's License (CDL) holders are required (under federal regulation) to inform the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles of the type of commerce they plan to operate within (interstate or intrastate) and whether or not they are required to hold a medical certificate. This notification is called self-certification. It is called self-certification because the driver alone needs to determine the self-certification category he/she falls into based on his/her driving information.

See complete medical self-certification procedures for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles

Costs and testing locations

Common CDL costs in Nebraska are:

  • $142.25 for an original or transfer CDL that requires knowledge and skills tests
  • $58.25 each for an Instruction Permit and for completion of the Instruction Permit
  • $18.00 for each endorsement added
  • Additional $31.00 for the testing needed to add or remove an endorsement or restriction
  • $112.25 for a CDL renewal that requires knowledge tests only
  • $34.25 for the driving skills test

See the full CDL fee schedule

Testing locations:

CDL testing will be scheduled through your local CDL office. You may only schedule CDL testing if you already hold a Commercial Learner’s Permit, which is obtained by applying with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Find and contact your testing location

Apply for your CLP in Nevada

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In order to obtain a Nevada CDL there are a list of requirements that must be met, and getting your Nevada CDL involves several steps. There are medical requirements and residency requirements, along with knowledge and skills requirements. The basic requirements for getting your cdl in Nevada include:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to hold a Nevada CDL and drive a commercial vehicle within the state of Nevada.
  • You must be at least age 21 to drive a commercial motor vehicle across Nevada state lines, carry hazardous materials, or transport any passengers.
  • You must not have more than one driver’s license, and your driving privileges must not be suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified in Nevada or any other state.
  • You must meet the medical requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
  • You must pass a set of written exams to obtain your Nevada Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP). You can study for these exams using our High Road CDL Training Program.
  • You must prove citizenship in the state of Nevada and have permission to work in the United States, showing legitimate personal identification which may include a Social Security Card, a Birth Certificate, or a Green Card
  • You must certify that you are not subject to any of the CDL disqualifications for drivers (listed below)
  • You must be able to speak and read the English language

Below we will list more general requirements, qualifications, disqualifications, and restrictions for getting a CDL in Nevada.

Who Is Required To Hold A Nevada CDL?

You will need a CDL to operate any of the following vehicles:

  • A single vehicle with a GVWR over 26,000 lbs.
  • A combination vehicle with a GVWR over 26,000 lbs, towing a unit over 10,000 lbs GVWR.
  • A passenger vehicle designed to carry 16 or more people, including the driver.
  • Any size vehicle requiring hazardous material (Hazmat) placards, or carrying a select agent or toxin listed in 42 CFR Part 73.

What Are The Different Classes Of CDL In Nevada?

  • Class A:

    Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight of 26,001 pounds or more, with trailer(s) weighing 10,000 pounds or more.

  • Class B:

    Any single vehicle having a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing another weighing 10,000 pounds or less.

  • Class C:

    Any vehicle or combination of vehicles not meeting the definition of Class A or Class B, designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded to carry hazardous material:

  • Class D:

    Many states issue a "Class D" license, which is not part of the FMCSA standards. Some use it to classify regular, passenger car drivers licenses, while some use it to classify specific weights or types of vehicles. This varies from state-to-state.

Knowledge And Skills Test Requirements For Getting A CDL In Nevada

Each basic knowledge test covers the 20 general areas outlined in 49 CFR 383.111(a). The knowledge test shall contain at least 30 items. A separate test for drivers seeking to operate CMV's with air brakes in Nevada must cover the 7 areas outlined in 49 CFR 383.111(b).

To pass the knowledge tests (general and endorsement); applicants must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions.

To pass the Nevada CDL skills test, applicants must successfully perform all the required skills (listed in 49 CFR 383.113 through 49 CFR 383.123). The skills test must be taken in a vehicle representative of the type of vehicle that the applicant operates or expects to operate.

Federal standards require the state of Nevada to issue CDLs to certain commercial motor vehicle drivers only after the driver passes the knowledge and skills tests administered by the State. The vehicle you take the CDL test in must also relate to the type of vehicle the driver expects to operate.

Restrictions are placed on a Nevada CDL when a driver takes the Skills Test in a vehicle which lacks critical equipment present in particular types of CMVs. Therefore, to avoid restrictions, drivers should take the Skills Test in the same type of vehicle for which they are seeking a Nevada CDL to operate.

Drivers are required to obtain and hold a CDL in Nevada if they operate in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce and drive a vehicle that meets one or more of the classifications of a CMV are also described below.

Military Skills Test Waiver Program

The state of Nevada has the authority to substitute two years of experience safely operating trucks or buses equivalent to civilian commercial vehicles for the skills test portion of the Nevada commercial driver license (CDL) test. U.S. Military drivers must apply within one year of leaving a military position requiring operation of a commercial vehicle. The latest information (February 2017) indicates that more than 19,000 current and former military have taken advantage of the Skills Test Waiver, making them immediately eligible for employment.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 49 CFR 383.77, requires the applicant to certify to an SDLA:

  • His/her safe driving experience;
  • That he or she has not held more than one license (except a U.S. Military driver’s license) in the past two years;
  • Has not had his/her Nevada driver license suspended, revoked or cancelled; and,
  • Has not had convictions in any type of motor vehicle for the disqualifying CDL offenses listed elsewhere in the regulations.

Here you will find the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver form

Medical Requirements For Obtaining A Nevada CDL License

All commercial drivers of vehicles in interstate commerce with a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds are required to obtain and maintain a valid Medical Examiner's Certificate (ME Certificate). CDL holders in Nevada must provide their SDLA with a copy of their ME Certificate.

Self Certification

All Nevada CDL holders must declare to their State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) that they only operate or expect to operate commercially in 1 of 4 possible categories with their CDL. This process is called self-certification. The four categories are:

  • Interstate non-excepted: You are an Interstate non-excepted driver and must meet the Federal DOT medical card requirements (e.g. – you are "not excepted").
  • Interstate excepted: You are an Interstate excepted driver and do not have to meet the Federal DOT medical card requirements.
  • Intrastate non-excepted: You are an Intrastate non-excepted driver and are required to meet the medical requirements for the state of Nevada.
  • Intrastate excepted: You are an Intrastate excepted driver and do not have to meet the medical requirements for the state of Nevada.

Hearing Requirements

A person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person: First perceives a forced whispered voice in the better ear at not less than five feet with or without the use of a hearing aid or if tested by use of an audiometric device, does not have an average hearing loss in the better ear greater than 40 decibels at 500Hz, 1000HZ and 2,000 Hz with or without a hearing aid when the audiometric device is calibrated to the American National Standard Z24.5-1951.

Vision Requirements

You must meet the following vision requirements:

  • A distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in each eye without corrective lenses or visual acuity separately corrected to 20/40 (Snellen) or better with corrective lenses;
  • A distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 (Snellen) in both eyes with or without corrective lenses;
  • A field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal Meridian in each eye;
  • The ability to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber.

Blood Pressure Requirements

  1. Your blood pressure needs to be under 140/90.
  2. Stage 1 hypertension, blood pressure between 140/90 - 159/99: 1-year medical certificate, must be renewed every 12 months.
  3. Stage 2 hypertension, blood pressure between 160/100 - 179/109: 3 month medical certification. Full disqualification if not under control after 3 months, until controlled. Will be required to renew every 12 months.
  4. Stage 3 hypertension, blood pressure at or over 180/110: Automatic disqualification, 6 month certification once blood pressure is under control, must be renewed every 6 months.
  5. Blood pressure can be controlled with or without medication.

Urinalysis Testing

Your urine sample will be tested in a lab for blood, sugar, and protein, which might indicate hidden health problems.

Physical Impairments

Drivers with physical impairments, which affect their ability to safely operate CMVs, must obtain a "variance" from the state of Nevada in order to be approved to drive commercially. The variance document must be carried with the commercial driver whenever they are operating a commercial motor vehicle. A Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) is a special type of "variance" required for drivers with impaired or missing limbs (e.g., a hand or finger, an arm, foot, or leg). Drivers with missing limbs, if eligible, must obtain an SPE certificate. The commercial driver must always carry the SPE certificate at all times.

About The Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Program

The Skill Performance Evaluation program is for CMV drivers who drive in interstate commerce. The SPE certification allows drivers with missing or impaired limbs to drive CMVs across state lines if they have been fitted with (and are wearing) the right prosthetic device, and the driver can demonstrate the ability to drive the truck safely by completing on-and off-road activities. If the driver passes the Nevada commercial vehicle driving test, he or she will receive a SPE certificate. Over the years, FMCSA has granted more than 3,000 SPE certificates to truck drivers who have shown that they can drive safely on the nation's highways.

Implied Consent to Alcohol Testing

Any person who holds a Nevada CDL is considered to have consented to such testing as is required by the state of Nevada or any State or jurisdiction in the enforcement of being under the influence of a controlled substance or using alcohol, be under the influence of alcohol, or have any measured alcohol concentration or detected presence of alcohol, while on duty, or operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle. Consent is implied by driving a commercial motor vehicle.

Prescription Drugs

Although the driver has a legal prescription, he/she may be disqualified if the medication could adversely affect the driver's ability to drive a CMV safely.

Who Is Exempt From Getting A Nevada CDL?

FMCSA regulations specifically exempt only military personnel with comparable safe-driving experience from getting CDL's. States are authorized to provide exemptions for the rest of the following at their own discretion:

  • Nevada Military Vehicle Operators:

    The state of Nevada must exempt individuals who operate vehicles for military purposes from the requirements for CDL drivers. This exemption includes active military, reserves and members of the National Guard. This exception does not apply to U.S. Reserve technicians.

    Service members who are or were employed within the past year (12 months) in a military position requiring the operation of a military motor vehicle equivalent to a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) and who want to drive CMV's in civilian life can apply for a Skills Test Waiver to get their CDL.

    See Also: Military Skills Test Waiver

  • Nevada Farm Equipment Operators:

    Covering actual farm-to-market operations, not commercial grain haulers. Drivers must be 21 years old, and vehicle must have farm plates. Farm workers are not required to have a CDL to operate vehicles:

    • Controlled and operated by a farmer, a member of his family, or an employee.
    • Used to transport farm products, equipment or supplies to or from a farm.
    • Used within 150 air miles of the farm.
    • Used in a nursery or agricultural operations.
    • Not used in the operations of a contract motor carrier.
  • Nevada Firefighting Equipment Operators:

    Those who operate CMV's necessary to preserving life or property, or performing emergency governmental functions, have signals that can be seen and heard, and are not subject to normal traffic laws. These include fire trucks, foam or water transport trucks, police SWAT team vehicles, ambulances and any other emergency vehicles.

  • Nevada Recreational Vehicle Operators:

    Drivers operating recreational vehicles (RV's) for their own non-commercial use can be exempted from CDL requirements.

  • Nevada Township or Government Workers Exemptions:

    Many states will have specific CDL exemptions that apply to workers in smaller towns or to state and local government employees in general. You will have to check with your specific state regulations.

Nevada CDL Disqualifications

The FMCSA regulations specify certain circumstances that will disqualify a driver from legally operating a CMV, temporarily or permanently.

Issues resulting in disqualification apply only to CDL or CLP holders, or those required to have a CLP or CDL in the vehicle they are operating. Tickets, DUI or DWI, and other legal issues that happened before a driver was issued a CDL or CLP, or to non-CDL or CLP holders, who were not required to have one, will affect drivers only as far as company policy, with the exception of getting the Hazmat endorsement.

See Also: TSA Disqualifying Offenses & Factors

In extreme cases, the FMCSA may disqualify drivers deemed to be an "imminent hazard", and remove them from the road.

See Also: Disqualification of drivers determined to constitute an imminent hazard.

Some circumstances will result in a lifetime disqualification from operating CMV's, with some being eligible for reinstatement after 10 years. A driver who uses a CMV in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance is disqualified for life with no possibility of reinstatement.

Disqualification For Major Offenses

  • Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by State law.
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV.
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test as required by a State or jurisdiction under its implied consent laws or regulations
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Using the vehicle to commit a felony, other than felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance.

CDL Driver Disqualification For Serious Traffic Violations:

  • Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 15 mph or more above the regulated or posted speed limit.
  • Driving recklessly, as defined by State or local law or regulation.
  • Making improper or erratic traffic lane changes.
  • Following the vehicle ahead too closely.
  • Violating State or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control.

CDL Driver Disqualification For Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Offenses:

  • The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train.
  • The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to stop before reaching the crossing, if the tracks are not clear.
  • The driver is always required to stop, but fails to stop before driving onto the crossing.
  • The driver fails to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping.
  • The driver fails to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing.
  • The driver fails to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.

CDL Driver Disqualification For Violations Of Out-Of-Service Orders:

An out-of-service order stipulates that a CDL or CLP holder not drive a commercial vehicle for a certain period of time, or until such time as they are re-instated to service.

In addition to disqualification, drivers who violate out-of-service orders will be fined a civil penalty of at least $2,500 for the first offense, and $5,000 for any additional offenses.

Follow this link to learn more about CDL Driver Disqualifications

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