Illinois CDL Requirements

In State Driving Age:
Driving Between States Age:
Hazardous Age:
Exams Required:
  • Written Test
  • Driving Test
IDs Required:
  • Driver's License
  • Social Security Card

All residents of Illinois who wish to operate a commercial truck must obtain a special driver's license. The requirements for a CDL are quite different than those for a license for operating a passenger vehicle. The State of Illinois has specific rules concerning the licensing process. These regulations deal with age, type of vehicle driven, health of the individual, and what products are being transported.

CDL License Classifications In Illinois
There are three distinct CDL classifications recognized by the State of Illinois:

  • Class A is a license for operating combination vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds with a trailer weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B is a license for operating single or combination vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds with a maximum trailer weight of less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C is a license for operating vehicles weighing 26,000 pounds or less, which carry 16 or more passengers, or which transport hazardous materials.

All licenses require the applicant to be age 18 or over and be in possession of a current, valid Illinois passenger vehicle driver's license. Interstate transportation of materials is regulated by the federal government. All drivers who transport materials across state lines must be at least 21 years of age.

Requirements For Obtaining A CDL in Illinois
All applicants must complete a physical examination and present a certificate from the attending physician. An approved commercial driver training course must be completed. Applicants can choose from a variety of schools offering courses and road testing. The actual course chosen may or may not cover all materials required. For example, the written test for a CDL will include questions regarding the use of air brakes. The driving school chosen by the individual will need to cover this information in detail in order to ensure certain knowledge is obtained.

A specialized school will offer courses for specific types of vehicles. The knowledge to pass a written test for operating a tanker truck or a school bus will be somewhat different than what is needed to understand the operations of a tractor-trailer combo.

The CDL applicant will be asked to take an extensive knowledge exam, complete a skills test that includes a pre-trip vehicle inspection, and road driving exam. The road test must be taken in a vehicle that matches the classification of license for which the individual is applying. Endorsements by the driving school or other authority will be required before the applicant will be certified to transport hazardous materials. In addition, a background check conducted by the TSA is required in order to obtain the endorsement. The written test is a multiple-choice test that will allow you to prove your general knowledge as related to truck driving.

The free Illinois CDL Manual covers the knowledge needed for the written test. The actual driving skills test will require you to show skills in pre-trip inspection, basic driving skills, and the actual road test itself.

There are special Illinois CDL requirements for those who are looking for special endorsements. Applicants must pass a background check to move hazardous materials and must pass knowledge tests to receive Tank Vehicle and Double/Triple endorsements.

Individuals who keep up with their renewals will need to retake their written test every-other renewal, unless their driving record is clean. Those who have let their license expire may be subject to re-testing to be eligible for truck driving jobs in Illinois.

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