Commercial Drivers License Law and Legal Definition

People tend to associate a commercial license, or commercial driver’s license (CDL), with driving an eighteen wheeler or a school bus, but in many states, a commercial license is required for a variety of different reasons. Plus, some employers require a commercial license even if you aren’t transporting passengers or driving an unusually large vehicle.

In addition to a CDL, drivers may need special endorsements if they:

1. drive vehicles carrying passengers (buses);

2. pull double or triple trailers;

3. drive tank vehicles or

4. haul placarded hazardous materials.

Whether a state will recognize a conviction in another state varies by state laws. Some states have reciprocal compacts with other states, so if your state of licensure is a reciprocal state with the outside state under the compact, the outside state may notify your state of licensure of the conviction. Your license will then be dealt with in accordance with your state's law. However, the DMV may suspend the driver's license of any in-state operator if they are convicted of an offense in another state, which if committed in the state would be grounds for suspension or revocation of their license.

If you have an out of state license and commit an offense which is suspendible or revocable in the current state, the current state's DMV usually cannot suspend you driver's license but can suspend or revoke your privilege to drive in current state. They may also notify your licensee state, which may take additional action.

State laws govern requirements, disqualifications, and exemptions applicable to commercial licenses. Local commercial license requirements may vary from state to state, so local laws should be consulted for specific requirements in your area.