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Truck Driving Requirements & Age Restrictions By State

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Trucking is a highly regulated industry. Laws and regulations made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are in a constant state of change in an attempt to make the roads a safer place for all drivers. On the table at the moment is whether or not 18 year olds should be allowed to drive across state lines, especially since there is an alleged driver shortage and the need for OTR drivers is growing. Find out more about truck driving age and other restrictions by reading on.

What Are The CDL Licensing Requirements?

No matter which state you live in, there are certain things essential to getting your CDL.

  • age (minimum 18 or 21, depending on the state)
  • picture ID
  • proof of citizenship
  • pass a DOT-issued physical exam
  • be able to read and speak English
  • pass a written exam
  • pass a hands-on skills and road test

All of these factors must be passed in order to get your CDL license. Without it, you will not be allowed to drive a truck.

CDL Restrictions

Restrictions on your CDL license will show authorities that you passed the CDL driving exam on a vehicle without certain components.

  • L: An L restriction is a no full-air brake restriction. This means you either did not pass this portion of the exam, were not able to identify or properly use the system, or you tested on a truck that did not have air brakes.
  • Z: A Z restriction means you are not permitted to operate a vehicle with full air brakes.
  • E: With an E restriction, you are only allowed to operate a vehicle with an automatic transmission. No manual transmissions until the E restriction is lifted.
  • O: O restrictions prohibit you from operating a CDL A with a 5th wheel.
  • M: If you have a CDL A, but have an endorsement to drive a passenger or school bus (Class B), then you will have an M restriction, which will only allow you to drive Class B and C passenger vehicles.
  • N: If you have an N restriction, you are only permitted to operate Class C passenger vehicles such as school buses.
  • V: A V restriction indicates you have a medical condition.

CDL Endorsements

Endorsements are always good to have, they broaden your scope of work and make you more marketable. Depending on which endorsements you have, you can also earn higher pay.

The following endorsements are available, each one can be achieved by passing an exam:

  • T: This endorsement will allow you to operate a double/triple trailer. This is a knowledge-only exam.
  • P: The passenger endorsement allows you to carry passengers. You will have to pass a written exam, plus a hands-on driving exam.
  • N: Allows you to operate a tank vehicle carrying liquids. You must pass a skills test.
  • H: The H endorsement will allow you to transport hazardous materials. You will have to pass a background test, as well as a hands-on driving exam.
  • X: This is a combination of the N and H endorsements. You are qualified to transport tank vehicles with hazardous liquids. This is a knowledge-based exam.
  • S: In order to drive a school bus, you must have the S endorsement. You’ll have to pass both a skills and knowledge-based test.

Not all states allow all endorsements.

Find a local CDL school now.

Truck Driver Age Restrictions By State

Each state has its own regulations and restrictions, above and beyond those enforced by the FMCSA. Across all states, it’s standard requirement that you must have had your driver’s license that’s in good standing for two years before being eligible to apply for a CDL. You’ll also have to have your actual social security card so, if you can’t find yours, a quick trip to the Social Security office will be necessary. You’ll also need to have the proper auto insurance.

The majority of states require extra documentation for applicants who aren’t originally from the state they’re applying for their CDL in. Check with the DMV or Secretary of State to find out what you’ll need to provide in order to get the CDL.

Driver age restriction by state:

Alabama: To drive intrastate, you must be 18 years old, and 21 to drive across state borders. You must provide proof of Alabama residency, along with U.S. citizenship when applying for your CDL. You must have your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) for 14 days before applying for your CDL license.

Alaska: Before you can apply for your CDL, you must have a valid driver’s license and your CLP for a minimum of 14 days prior to taking your exam. To drive intrastate in Alaska, you must be at least 19 years of age. To drive throughout the United States, you must be at least 21 years old. When applying for your CDL, you’ll need to provide proof of residency, have a valid driver’s license, supply your physical social security card, and have proof of insurance.

Arizona: You must be 18 years old to drive intrastate, and 21 years old to drive across state lines. You must provide proof of state residency, your current driver’s license, social security, and proof of insurance. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to provide documents showing your legal status. It’s a good idea to bring every supporting document you have when applying for your CDL. Your CLP is valid for six months.

Arkansas: You have to be 18 for intrastate driving, and 21 to drive across state borders. You must be able to prove Arkansas residency, along with a valid driver’s license, your social security card, and proof of insurance to apply for your CDL. You will also have to pass a background check and medical exam.

California: To get your CLP, you must be at least 18 years old with a clean driving record. You can only drive within the borders of California until you are 21. Once you hit 21, you can drive across the country. To apply for your CDL in California, you must have proof of California residency. In order to get your CDL, you must have a clean driving record and valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, pass a 10 year record check and a TSA screening.

Colorado: To drive within Colorado boundaries, you must be at least 18 years old. 21 and older, you are permitted to drive all over the country. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of Colorado residency, have legal identification, and a physical social security card. You may be required to provide a records check, and have a screening through the TSA.

Connecticut: You must have a driver’s license in good standing for two years prior to applying for your CLP. If you are 18 years old, you can only drive within Connecticut’s borders. 21 and over, you are permitted to drive across all state lines. To get your CDL, you must provide the following: a valid Connecticut driver’s license, your social security card, proof of proper insurance, and passing various medical, background, and physical screenings.

Delaware: To drive intrastate in Delaware, you have to be at least 18 years old and have held a driver’s license for a minimum of two years. If you are 21 or older, you are permitted to drive interstate, or across state lines. When applying for your CDL, you must prove Delaware residency, and have a valid social security number with the physical card. You also will need to show you carry insurance, and you may need to have a medical exam and a TSA background check.

Florida: As an 18 year old, you can only drive within the boundaries of Florida. Once you are 21, you can cross those state lines. To apply for your CDL, you need to present your valid driver’s license, your physical social security card, and proof of Florida-based auto insurance. You’ll need to pass a medical exam, and a TSA security background check. Out of state, or legal immigrants, you will be asked to show further documentation.

Georgia: You must hold a valid Georgia driver’s license with a clean record for two years, and pass a medical exam. To drive within Georgia, you must be at least 18 years old. To drive interstate, or over state lines, you must be at least 21 years old. On top of your driver’s license, you’ll also need your social security card, and proof of insurance. You may need to pass a background test through TSA.

Hawaii: 18-21 year olds can only drive in Hawaii, but over 21 allows you to drive in other states. To apply for your CDL, you must have proof of Hawaii residency, along with your social security card, and proof of insurance.

Idaho: 16 year olds may apply for a seasonal license which will allow them to drive agricultural vehicles. 18-21 year olds are only permitted to drive within the Idaho state lines. 21 and over, the country is yours to explore. To get your CDL, you will have to provide proof of residency, your social security card, and proof of insurance.

Illinois: To apply for a CDL, you must be 18 or older. At 18, you may only drive within Illinois borders. 21 and over, you can cross the state lines. To apply, you will have to provide proof of residency, a valid driver’s license in good standing, proof of passing a health and vision test, proof of insurance, and your social security card.

Indiana: To apply for a CDL in Indiana, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Indiana, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Indiana. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Iowa: If you are between the ages of 18-21, you are permitted to drive within Iowa borders. 21 and over, you will be permitted to drive interstate. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of residency, a valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, and pass a medical exam.

Kansas: To apply for a CDL in Kansas, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Indiana, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Kansas. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Kentucky: To apply for a CDL in Kentucky, you must be 18 or older. At 18, you may only drive within Kentucky borders. 21 and over, you can cross the state lines. To apply, you will have to provide proof of residency, a valid driver’s license in good standing, proof of passing a health and vision test, proof of insurance, and your social security card.

Louisiana: To apply for a CDL in Louisiana, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Louisiana, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Louisiana. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Maine: If you are between the ages of 18-21, you are permitted to drive within Maine’s borders. 21 and over, you will be permitted to drive interstate. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of Maine residency, a valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, and pass a medical exam.

Maryland: To apply for a CDL in Maryland, you must be 18 or older. At 18, you may only drive within Maryland borders. 21 and over, you can cross the state lines. To apply, you will have to provide proof of Maryland residency, a valid driver’s license in good standing, proof of passing a health and vision test, proof of insurance, and your social security card.

Massachusetts: To apply for a CDL in Massachusetts, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Massachusetts, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Massachusetts. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Michigan: If you are between the ages of 18-21, you are permitted to drive within Michigan’s borders. 21 and over, you will be permitted to drive interstate. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of Michigan residency, a valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, and pass a medical exam.

Minnesota: 18-21 year olds are only permitted to drive within Minnesota’s state lines. 21 and over, the country is yours to explore. To get your CDL, you will have to provide proof of residency, your social security card, proof of insurance. You must also pass a TSA screening.

Mississippi: To apply for a CDL in Mississippi, you must be 18 or older. At 18, you may only drive within Mississippi borders. 21 and over, you can cross the state lines. To apply, you will have to provide proof of Mississippi residency, a valid driver’s license in good standing, proof of passing a health and vision test, proof of insurance, and your social security card.

Missouri: To apply for a CDL in Missouri, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Missouri, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Missouri. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Montana: 18-21 year olds are only permitted to drive within Montana’s state lines. 21 and over, the country is yours to explore. To get your CDL, you will have to provide proof of residency, your social security card, and proof of insurance. You must also pass a TSA screening.

Nebraska: To apply for a CDL in Nebraska, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Nebraska, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Nebraska. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Nevada: As an 18 year old, you can only drive within the boundaries of Nevada. Once you are 21, you can cross those state lines. To apply for your CDL, you need to present your valid driver’s license, your physical social security card, and proof of a Nevada-based auto insurance. You’ll need to pass a medical exam, and a TSA security background check. Out of state, or legal immigrants, you will be asked to show further documentation.

New Hampshire: If you are between the ages of 18-21, you are permitted to drive within New Hampshire’s borders. 21 and over, you will be permitted to drive interstate. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of New Hampshire residency, a valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, and pass a medical exam.

New Jersey: 18-21 year olds are only permitted to drive within New Jersey’s state lines. 21 and over, the country is yours to explore. To get your CDL, you will have to provide proof of New Jersey residency, your social security card, proof of insurance. You must also pass a TSA screening.

New Mexico: To apply for a CDL in New Mexico, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in New Mexico, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of New Mexico. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

New York: In New York, you must be 21 to have your CDL. To get your CDL, you will have to provide proof of New York residency, your social security card, proof of insurance. You will have to provide a report of every state you’ve held a driver’s license within the past 10 years. You must also pass a TSA screening.

North Carolina: To apply for a CDL in North Carolina, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in North Carolina, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of North Carolina. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

North Dakota: To drive intrastate in North Dakota, you have to be at least 18 years old and have held a driver’s license for a minimum of two years. If you are 21 or older, you are permitted to drive interstate, or across state lines. When applying for your CDL, you must prove North Dakota residency, and have a valid social security number with the physical card. You also will need to show you carry insurance, and you may need to have a medical exam and a TSA background check.

Ohio: To apply for a CDL in Ohio, you must provide your birth certificate, proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Ohio, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Ohio. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Oklahoma: To drive intrastate in Oklahoma, you must be at least 18 years of age. To drive throughout the United States, you must be at least 21 years old. When applying for your CDL, you’ll need to provide proof of residency, have a valid driver’s license, supply your physical social security card, and have proof of insurance.

Oregon: If you are between the ages of 18-21, you are permitted to drive within Oregon’s borders. 21 and over, you will be permitted to drive interstate. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of Oregon residency, a valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, and pass a medical exam.

Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania you have to be 18 for intrastate driving, and 21 to drive across state borders. You must be able to prove Pennsylvania residency, along with a valid driver’s license, your social security card, and proof of insurance to apply for your CDL. You will also have to pass a background check and medical exam.

Rhode Island: 18-21 year olds are only permitted to drive within Rhode Island’s state lines. 21 and over, the country is yours to explore. To get your CDL, you will have to provide proof of Rhode Island residency, your social security card, proof of insurance. You must also pass a TSA screening.

South Carolina: As an 18 year old, you can only drive within the boundaries of South Carolina. Once you are 21, you can cross those state lines. To apply for your CDL, you need to present your valid driver’s license, your physical social security card, and proof of a South Carolina-based auto insurance. You’ll need to pass a medical exam, and a TSA security background check. Out of state, or legal immigrants, you will be asked to show further documentation.

South Dakota: If you are between the ages of 18-21, you are permitted to drive within South Carolina’s borders. 21 and over, you will be permitted to drive interstate. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of South Carolina residency, a valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, and pass a medical exam.

Tennessee: To apply for a CDL in Tennessee, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Tennessee, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Tennessee. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Texas: In Texas, you must be 18 years old to drive intrastate, and 21 years old to drive across state lines. You must provide proof of state residency, your current driver’s license, social security, and proof of insurance. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to provide documents showing your legal status. It’s a good idea to bring every supporting document you have when applying for your CDL.

Utah: If you are between the ages of 18-21, you are permitted to drive within Utah’s borders. 21 and over, you will be permitted to drive interstate. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of Utah residency, a valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, and pass a medical and vision exam.

Vermont: You must hold a valid Vermont driver’s license with a clean record for two years, and pass a medical exam. To drive within Vermont, you must be at least 18 years old. To drive interstate, or over state lines, you must be at least 21 years old. On top of your driver’s license, you’ll also need your social security card, and proof of insurance. You may need to pass a background test through TSA.

Virginia: If you are between the ages of 18-21, you are permitted to drive within Virginia’s borders. 21 and over, you will be permitted to drive interstate. To apply for your CDL, you must provide proof of Virginia residency, a valid driver’s license, your social security card, proof of insurance, and pass a medical exam.

Washington: As an 18 year old, you can only drive within the boundaries of Washington. Once you are 21, you can cross those state lines. To apply for your CDL, you need to present your valid driver’s license, your physical social security card, and proof of a Washington-based auto insurance. You’ll need to pass a medical exam, and a TSA security background check. Out of state, or legal immigrants, you will be asked to show further documentation.

West Virginia: In West Virginia you have to be 18 for intrastate driving, and 21 to drive across state borders. You must be able to prove West Virginia residency, along with a valid driver’s license, your social security card, and proof of insurance to apply for your CDL. You will also have to pass a background check, vision, and medical exam.

Wisconsin: To drive intrastate in Wisconsin, you have to be at least 18 years old and have held a driver’s license for a minimum of two years. If you are 21 or older, you are permitted to drive interstate, or across state lines. When applying for your CDL, you must prove Wisconsin residency, and have a valid social security number with the physical card. You also will need to show you carry insurance, and you may need to have a medical exam and a TSA background check.

Wyoming: To apply for a CDL in Wisconsin, you must provide proof of residency, along with your social security card. You will also have to present a valid driver’s license, and proof of insurance. To drive a truck in Wisconsin, you must be at least 18 years old. 18-21 year olds must stay within the borders of Wisconsin. 21 and over are permitted to drive interstate.

Is Truck Driving A Good Retirement Job

Truck driving is one of those careers that has a minimum entry age, but is open to any age after that. That’s including men and women who are retiring and are looking for something new to keep them busy.

Many retirees who become truck drivers do so as a way to bring in income, above and beyond their social security and pension. But also as a unique way to see the country. Very often they’ll have their spouse and pet in the cab with them, creating new life experiences together.

It doesn’t matter how old you are if you want to drive a truck, it just matters how young.

Reference: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/drivers

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