Hawaii CDL Requirements (A Complete 2024 Guide)

Hawaii CDL Requirements 2022 featured image

Planning to get a CDL in Hawaii but don’t know where to begin?

Don’t know what the Hawaii CDL requirements are?

We’re here to help you with that. 

In this article, we’re going to give you a complete guide on how to get a CDL in Hawaii. We’ll give you all the details — from knowing which CDL class you need to going through the requirements and steps. 

Plus, we’ll also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about CDLs in Hawaii. 

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in. 

CDL CLasses in Hawaii 

Before anything else, you have to pick the CDL class you need. This will determine what type of CMV you can operate. 

In Hawaii, there are 3 CDL classes, namely: 

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C

Class A CDL

Class A CDL can operate combination vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of more than 26,001 pounds. The trailer should have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,00 pounds. 

Vehicles under this class are trucks, tractors, and semi-trailers, among others. This can also be a combination of vehicles in one primary vehicle (i.e., those that carry non-commercial vehicles). 

Because of the weight of the vehicles being driven, truck drivers with a Class A CDL are taught more driving skills during their training program. 

Also, with their skills, drivers with a Class A CDL are allowed to operate vehicles in Class B and C. 

Class B CDL

Next up is the Class B CDL. This license class is for those who drive single vehicles with a GVWR of more than 26,001 pounds. 

If the truck is being used for towing, the vehicle being towed should not exceed a GVWR of 10,000 pounds. 

Vehicles part of this classification include trucks, buses, and other heavy vehicles. 

Class B CDL holders are also allowed to drive Class C vehicles but not Class A vehicles. 

Class C CDL

Class C CDL holders are only allowed to operate single vehicles with a GVWR of less than or equal to 26,000 pounds.

If it’s towing a vehicle, the vehicle being towed should have a GVWR of less than or equal to 10,000 pounds. 

Vehicles under this classification are usually designed to carry 16+ passengers or transport hazardous materials. 

Since this is the lowest type of CDL class, Class C holders are not allowed to drive Class A and Class B vehicles. 

CDL Requirements in Hawaii

Hold up…

Are you even eligible to get a CDL in Hawaii?

Well, let’s do a quick rundown of the initial requirements to apply for a CDL in Hawaii: 

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must hold a valid driver’s license in Hawaii
  • You must pass the medical requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
  • You have proof of residency in Hawaii
  • You have proof of US residency or citizenship
  • You have a Social Security Number

How to Get a CDL in Hawaii

So you’re eligible to get a CDL — what’s the first step? 

Getting a CDL comes in 2 stages. The first is getting a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), and from there, getting your official CDL. 

Let’s go through these stages one by one. 

How to Get Your CLP in Hawaii

Much like the learner’s permit for a regular driver’s license, a CLP in Hawaii allows you to practice driving a CMV with supervision from someone who is 21 years old and already has a CDL. 

Now, let’s look at the steps on how to get your CLP in Hawaii: 

  • Go to the nearest licensing office and apply to take a knowledge exam. The number of exams will depend on the license class you plan to get. 
  • Take and pass the vision test
  • Pay the CLP application fee of $30 and the exam fee of $15. You pay an additional $5 for each endorsement exam you take
  • Take and pass the knowledge exam(s)

If you pass all the exams, you will receive your CLP. 

Once you have your CLP, you will be allowed to practice behind the wheel. 

NOTE: CLPs are valid for 1 year. 

How to Get Your CDL in Hawaii

After you have held your CLP for 14 days, you can start working towards your CDL. 

Here are the steps to do that:

  • Complete an FMCSA Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program
  • Schedule an appointment for your practical test at your nearest licensing office. The test fee is $50. NOTE: only drivers with prepaid appointments and proof of payment will be allowed to test. 
  • On the day of your practical test, submit the required documents:
    • Your CLP and valid driver’s license
    • Valid DOT medical certificate (Form MCSA-58760)
    • Original and valid Certificate of Registration
    • Original and valid DOT vehicle inspection
    • Original and valid CMV insurance card or self-insured certificate
  • Take and pass the practical test
  • Pay the CDL fee (see table below)
CDL validity Fee:
New license 1 year:$5
New license 2 years (for 72 years old and above):$10
New license 3 years (for 21 years old to 24):$20
New license 8 years (for 25 years old to 71):$40

Prices for Hawaii County only

And there you have it!

You are now the holder of a CDL in Hawaii. 


CDL Endorsements in Hawaii

To drive certain trucks or carry certain cargo, you need an endorsement to prove you have the specific skills for it. 

Here are the 6 types of endorsements you can get with your CDL in Hawaii: 

  • Double and Triple Trailers (T) – as the name suggests, you can operate double and triple trailers. Only those with Class A CDL can get this endorsement.
  • Tank Vehicle (N) – vehicles that transport liquids or gaseous materials. This endorsement can be given to all CDL classes.
  • Passengers (P) – vehicles that can carry 16 or more people. It can be driven by all CDL classes.
  • Hazardous Materials (H) – vehicles that carry hazardous materials as stated in 49 U.S.C 5103 or toxins under 42 CFR Part 73. A special written exam is required for any CDL holder wanting to get this endorsement.
  • Combination Hazardous Materials and Tank Vehicle (X) – vehicles that transport hazardous materials or waste. This is given to those who pass both the H and N endorsements.
  • School Buses (S) – for school buses only. This can be given to any CLP/CDL holder, but they should pass a special knowledge exam first. 

Frequently Asked Questions

As promised, we’re going to end by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about CDLs in Hawaii. 

Can you get a CDL with a DUI in Hawaii?

Yes, you can. However, you will have a 1-year disqualification. Also, DUI records can limit your driving career options. 

How many questions does the Hawaii CDL permit test have?

There are 50 multiple-choice questions. You need a score of 80% to pass. That means answering 40 items correctly. 

What vehicles require CDL in Hawaii?

A CDL is required to operate trailers, tractors, trucks carrying hazardous materials, school buses, and the like. 

The CMV should fall on either Class A, B, or C descriptions (see above for the class descriptions).

You don’t need a CDL if you’re driving farm tractors or any truck transporting farm equipment or materials. 


And that was your complete guide to the Hawaii CDL requirements. 

The first thing you need to do is pick a CDL class. From there, you need to pass a knowledge exam, as well as any other exam relating to your class or endorsements. 

Once you have held your CLP for 14 days and completed an ELDT program, you need to pass the practical test to finally get hold of your CDL. 

So now that you know all the requirements and steps, what are you waiting for?

Get started today!

Good luck!

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