Want to start a driving business?
Or maybe you’re planning to apply as a commercial truck driver in Alabama.
Whatever the case, you’ll need to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
And yes, the requirements for a CDL are different from a regular driver’s license.
So you might be asking, “What are the Alabama CDL requirements?”
Well, today, we’re going to go through a complete guide. We’ll tell you everything you need to know so that you can get started right away.
So shall we?
Who Can Get a CDL in Alabama?
Those who plan on applying for a CDL in Alabama need to meet the basic requirements before even getting started.
Let’s see if you check all the boxes:
- Applicant must be at least 18 years of age to obtain a CDL in Alabama
- Applicant must be at least 21 years of age to be able to drive commercial vehicles across state lines or haul hazardous materials
- Hold a valid, regular driver’s license (for at least 1 year)
- Your privilege to drive motor vehicles has NOT been suspended, canceled, revoked, or disqualified in any other city or state
- You do NOT hold more than one (1) diver’s license
- You have NOT been disqualified to drive or operate a commercial motor vehicle
How to Get a CDL in Alabama?
So you were able to meet the requirements above. Great!
Now it’s time to decide which vehicle you will drive and the types of loads you will carry.
This is an important step as it will dictate some of the requirements and conditions for CDLs in the State of Alabama.
For instance, the CDL Class you fall into will depend on the vehicle you will be driving. The same is true with the types of exams you will have to take.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we talk about that, let’s start from the very beginning.
Step 1: Get Your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
Your AL CLP authorizes you to practice your driving on public roads.
That said, you should always have a licensed Alabama CDL holder as your passenger.
To get your CLP, you will need to bring:
- Regular driver’s license (that has been valid for 1 year)
- Proof of age (birth certificate, valid I.D.s, etc.)
- DOT-approved medical card
- Completed affidavit of self-certification
- Proof of identity and U.S. legal presence
- Proof of residency
- Social Security Card
- Driving history/Driving records
Except for your DOT medical certification, your other documents will have to be submitted to your local Alabama DMV.
For your DOT medical certification, you can either:
- Fax it to 334-353-1980.
- Email to email@example.com
- Mail to CDL Unit, PO Box 1471, Montgomery, AL 36102
Important note: it may take around 10 business days for your medical information to be posted after being received by Public Safety.
Once you have all of these in place, you can now prepare to schedule your skills test, general knowledge tests, and other relevant tests for your CLP.
Don’t worry! You can use the AL CDL manual to prepare for your upcoming tests.
All applicants need to take skills tests and knowledge tests. And, as we mentioned, they will also have to take tests required for the class and type of vehicle they are applying for.
Here is a summary of the 3 class types:
- Class A: Any combination vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the gross vehicle weight of any towed vehicle exceeds 10,000 pounds. Holders of Class A CDLs can operate vehicles in Classes B, C, and D.
- Class B: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, as well as towing a vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 pounds. Holders of Class B CDLs can operate vehicles under Classes C and D.
- Class C: Any vehicle or combination vehicle that doesn’t meet the criteria of either Class A or Class B, but is designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or used to transport hazardous materials as classified by the Hazardous materials Transportation Act. Holders of a Class C license can drive vehicles under Class D.
Once you have decided which vehicle class you want, prepare:
- $25 testing fee
- $23.50 commercial learner’s permit fee
Step 2: Get Your Endorsements
This step does not apply to ALL applicants. But if you need or want to add endorsements for your CDL, here are some details:
- T – this is for Alabama double/triple trailers endorsement.
- P – this is for the Alabama passenger endorsement.
- N – this is the Alabama tank vehicle endorsement.
- H – this is the Alabama hazardous materials endorsement.
- X – this is the Alabama combination of tank vehicle and hazardous materials endorsement.
- S – this is the Alabama school bus endorsement.
- W – this is the tow truck endorsement (which you will be taking in the state of New York)
Expect to take the required written tests for each endorsement you are applying for.
Step 3: Get Your Commercial Driver’s License
Once you have passed all your required tests and held your CLP for at least 14 days, you can now get your AL CDL!
We know it was a wild ride, but it’s mostly smooth sailing from now on!
For your CDL, what you will need to do are:
- Pass a 3 part skills test: vehicle inspection test, basic controls test, and the road test. You can use the AL CDL manual to study.
- Bring an approved vehicle that is the same class as the CDL you are testing for
- Submit proof of your vehicle liability insurance
- Submit your affidavit of self-certification
- Prepare and pay the $20 Skills Test fee (no checks)
- Prepare and pay the $53.50 Class A CDL fee
- Prepare and pay the $43.50 Class B CDL fee
- Prepare and pay the $23.50 Class C CDL fee
- Prepare to get your photo taken for your commercial driver’s license!
And you’re done!
Once you’ve submitted your documents to the counter of your local DMV for processing, you will only have to wait for your official CDL to be given to you.
Sometimes, they give you your CDL on the same day you pass all your tests and requirements. Other times, you get it through the mail. So be sure to ask!
Alabama CDL Endorsements
If you are curious about your CDL endorsements, we’re going to give a few more details about the written tests.
To get your CDL endorsement, you will have to pass written CDL endorsement tests. You can refer to our list below:
- T – this is for Alabama double/triple trailers endorsement. It involves knowledge tests only.
- P – this is for the Alabama passenger endorsement. It involves both knowledge tests and skills tests.
- N – next is the Alabama tank vehicle endorsement. Here, drivers will have to take only the knowledge tests.
- H – this is the Alabama hazardous materials endorsement. It involves taking the knowledge tests only.
- X – next is the Alabama combination of tank vehicle and hazardous materials endorsement. Applicants will only need to take the knowledge tests.
- S – this is the Alabama school bus endorsement. Applicants will have to take both the knowledge tests and skills tests.
- W – finally, the tow truck endorsement which you will be taking in the state of New York.
What requires a CDL in Alabama?
You must have a CDL to operate:
- Any single vehicle with a gross weight rating (GVWR) that exceeds 26,001 pounds
- A combination vehicle that has a GVWR that exceed 26,001 pounds, or if the trailer/s has a GVWR that exceeds 10,001 pounds
- Vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers
- Any vehicle that requires hazardous material placards or carries materials listed as select agents or toxins in 42 CFR part 73
What disqualifies you from getting a CDL in Alabama?
The following reasons can make you disqualified from getting a CDL in Alabama:
- Driving a CMV with a blood alcohol concentration that is .04% or higher
- Driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol
- Refusing to undergo blood alcohol testing
- Leaving a scene of an accident involving a CMV
- Serious traffic violations such as speeding, reckless driving, erratic lane changes, traffic offense that lead to fatal traffic accidents
How much does it cost to get a CDL in Alabama?
The following are the rates of CDL in Alabama:
- Around $30 testing fee
- Around $70 to purchase class “A” licenses
- Around $60 to purchase class “B” licenses
- Around $40 to purchase class “C” licenses
- Around $40 to purchase commercial learners license
- Around $25 skills test fee
How many questions are on the CDL Alabama test?
Alabama CDL tests consist of 50 questions in total.
Can I get my CDL permit online?
No, you will have to go to the DMV to complete all of your tests and qualify for a CDL permit.
And there you have it! The complete guide to getting an Alabama CDL.
If you want to qualify for a CDL in Alabama, all you have to do is to comply with all of the requirements we mentioned above. If so, you won’t have any problems.
We know it’s a lengthy list, but it is necessary in order to determine if a driver is qualified to be handling large vehicles and long hours on different roads.
As you can see, the process can be pricey, so be sure to do some studying before the tests to increase your chances of passing. Having to retake tests can be annoying, expensive, and a hassle. So get on reading!
We hope all the information presented above helps you out when you’re filing for your commercial driver’s license.
Best of luck!
This article is part of our series on Alabama Driving Laws. You can view all these laws here!