Mississippi CDL Requirements
With five distinct regions, driving through Mississippi is like taking a step back into historic America. Home to the birthplace of Elvis Presley, the Hills region of Mississippi is rich with outdoor and historical sights and adventures while the Delta means easy travelling with rolling cotton fields and beautiful towns. Mississippi's Pines region is lushly forested and full of authentic food, while the coast is home to the world's largest man-made beach and the best fishing in the South. Commercial and recreational drivers enjoy the southern courtesy found on the state's roadways - even on problematic roads like Mississippi's east-west I-20, and north-south I-55. It makes sense that where the two deadliest highways in the state meet, south of Jackson, truckers need to be extra careful; however, Mississippi is still a rewarding state in which to pursue your career as a CDL truck driver. Nestled between Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Alabama, Mississippi roadways are an integral part of the nation's transportation plan - good news for those starting their career as commercial truck drivers.
What CDL Licenses are Available in Mississippi?
Like every state in the union, Mississippi is under the governance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Mississippi is an active partner in training and enforcement of CDL drivers to meet the overall plan for safety of commercial and private motorists.
CDL Class A
This license class pertains to all vehicles classified as ‘combination' that have a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds. To meet these criteria, the trailer has to have a weight greater than 10,000 pounds. Class A licenses are covered for Class B and C, as long as there are no restrictions or extra endorsements or qualifications.
CDL Class B
B licence class pertains to all vehicles that are known as a ‘single' vehicle and that have a total weight or more than 26,000 pounds. Single vehicles can be driven independently but the license class makes allowance for trailers that weigh less than 10,000 pounds. Drivers with a Class B license can also drive Class C vehicles, as long as standard regulations apply and no special licensing conditions need to be met.
CDL Class C
C licence class pertains to commercial vehicles that require a placard due to the materials they carry, and vehicles designed to carry 15 passengers plus driver.
CDL Class D
Designed to encompass all other commercial vehicles that don't fit in to Classes A, B, or C, CDL Class D is a catchall to ensure the due diligences of state agencies and operators toward vehicle and motorist safety.
What Is a Class R License?
Personal vehicle licenses in the state of Mississippi are known as Class R or ‘Regular' licenses. Applying to 4-wheeled vehicles that are road-legal, a Class R license is issued to an individual who meets the criteria and is successful in passing the knowledge and road tests associated with the license. With a Class R license, individuals can pursue a CDL or motorcycle license if they choose.
CDL Eligibility in Mississippi
With continual improvement as its mission, Mississippi continually updates its regulatory base to ensure that safety and proactive management of CDL legislation is in line with federal minimums.
License and Permits
- To begin the CDL process, would-be drivers must show proof of holding a Class R license, which indicates a basic knowledge of road procedures and driving skills.
- Veterans of the branches of U.S. military may be able to have a portion of the Mississippi's CDL process waived through a partnership agreement with the state and US armed forces. Inquiries about veteran benefits in the CDL process are welcome at any Mississippi Department of Safety office.
- Mississippi CDL applicants must be 18 years of age or older in order to begin the process toward a Commercial Learner's Permit (also known as a CLP)
- CDL applicants who have successfully passed the written and practical tests are eligible to drive within the state of Mississippi - also called driving intrastate.
- At age 21 and older, drivers may legally drive from state-to-state - also known as interstate.
Proof of Residence in Mississippi
Like many other states, Mississippi's updated requirements indicate that CDL applicants require 2 pieces of identification as proof of their in-state residence - also called domicile. In most cases, documentation must be original, current, and clear; generally, photocopies or digital copies are not accepted.
CDL Requirements for Mississippi Residents
- Mississippi Class R driver's license in good standing
- Original social security information (card or official affidavit on letterhead)
- Proof of insurance
Mississippi CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers
Safety and transportation regulations throughout the country ensure that out-of-state CDL applicants are processed correctly. The following information is required to meet domiciliary regulations. Applicants should bring the following information:
- State ID card or out-of-state driver's license
- Out-of-state CDL if applicable
- U.S. birth certificate
Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Mississippi CDL
Non-U.S. citizens are welcome to earn their Mississippi CDL, though the process can be a little complicated depending on where the applicant is from. Mostly, this has to do with the documentation that he or she can provide. Non-U.S. citizens must meet the all requirements for obtaining a CDL, with the exception of a social security card. They are as follows:
- Personal driver's license in good standing
- Proof of insurance
- Valid immigration documents
- Birth certificate
- 1-94 documentation
- Proof of domicile documentation
- Alien resident card, if applicable
Officially-translated documents are to be provided by the applicant, and may have a cost associated with them. Translations may be procured through any state-run university or professional, state-approved translation service.
Do I Need a CDL?
Mississippi veterans can access the ‘Troops to Trucks' program in which military veterans who are within 90 days of honorable discharge can waive one of the tests of the CDL process - as long as their commanding officer will sign off as saying that the individual has had a safe military driving record over the past two years in the service.
Medical and Physical CDL Requirements
- To obtain a CDL, Mississippi applicants must start by scheduling a medical exam from the list of nationally published medical examiners. Once passed, the driver will be issued a federal medical card and must self-certify at each renewal period either online or at a Mississippi DPS office.
- If individuals do not pass their CDL physical requirements, the DPS will guide them as to next steps in filing a medical variance or CDL restriction as applicable.
- Depending on the conditions of your employment, many employers may cover all or part of the cost of your medical examination. Please confirm with your employer and prepare the necessary documentation if this is the case.
Background Check for CDL Applicants
Fingerprint background screening through the Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) is a requirement for many license classes and applicants. Federal screening times and processes vary slightly from state to state; it's important to double check timelines with any of Mississippi's DPS offices.
CDL Testing in Mississippi
Unless exemptions due to military experience apply, candidates trying for their Mississippi CDL are obliged to complete a knowledge test and a practical skills test in order to complete Mississippi CDL entrance testing.
CDL Knowledge Tests
Mississippi applicants for the CDL in any class are required by law to write and pass a test of knowledge before taking their practical road test. Based on the Mississippi CDL drivers manual as well as some practical elements, the test enables drivers to obtain their CLP (commercial learners permit) to begin the practical phase of their training.
CDL Skills Tests
After passing the knowledge test, candidates can schedule the road-testing portion of the CDL. Your road test must be scheduled a minimum of 2 days in advance - cancelling the test less than 2 days in advance will result in a 2-week waiting period.
Mississippi CDL Office Locations
Mississippi's Department of Public Services has locations for processing CDLs across the state. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the road-test and bring a Mississippi personal license, a valid CDL permit (CLP) for the class of vehicle you're testing for, a valid medical card, a vehicle that meets the requirements of testing, and cash to pay for the test.
Without the aforementioned documents and payment, your Mississippi CDL road test will be cancelled.
- State Highway Safety Patrol Troop C Building
3851 Highway 459
Pearl, MS 39208
- Greenviile CDL Office Building
3935 Highway 82 West
Greenville, MS 38701
- 22000 A Highway 35 North
Batesville, MS 38606
(662) 563-6400 x2
- 159 License Drive
Nesbit, MS 38651
- 1103 Bratton Road
New Albany, MS 38652
- 589 Coley Rd, Suite B
Tupelo, MS 38801
- Columbus-Lowndes COunty Administrative Building
17 AIrline Road
Lowndes, MS 39701
- 523 Coliseum Drive
Old Highway 15 North
Newton, MS 39345
- 35 Tatum Drive
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
For more information regrading individual hours and processes of each locations please visit - http://www.dps.state.ms.us/driver-services/new-drivers-license/district-one-locations/.
Mississippi CDL Endorsements
Commercial drivers in Mississippi can test for any one of the four commercial driving classes (A, B, C, or D) and additionally can test for additional ‘permissions' known as ‘endorsements'. These include the following types of situations, vehicles and equipment.
- H - Driver can transport placarded Hazardous Materials
- T - Driver can drive double or triple trailers
- P - Driver can transport passengers in an appropriate vehicle
- N - Driver can operate a tanker vehicle
- X - Driver can operate a tanker vehicle transporting liquid hazardous waste
- S - Driver can operate a school bus for students being conveyed to and from school-related functions
Mississippi CDL Disqualifications
As laws evolve, there is continual need to update CDL penalties to ensure the safety of the nation's motorways. Rule violation and consequent penalty can range from employer warning, legal warning, suspension from work, suspension of CDL or worse. The infractions listed here are not meant to form an exhaustive list:
- Excess emissions charges
- Excess length or width requirements for various trailer sizes
- Excess weight (GVWR or per-axle)
- Violation of right-of-way and slow-vehicle rules and courtesies
- Violation of driving-time and logbook rules
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Violation of immigration policies
- Additional traffic violations
- CDL fraud
- Violation of safety belt laws
- Felony violation while operating under a CDL
- "DUI" or suspected of "DUI" due to behavior for either controlled substances or alcohol
- Refusing to submit to a roadside testing ("breathalyzer" testing)
- Violation of safe vehicle operation
- Violation of level crossing laws
Please also bear in mind the following information:
- Repeat offences carry stiffer penalties both civilly and criminally
- Mississippi CDL laws are kept current and can be accessed online, via a printed manual, or through Mississippi's DPS
- Interstate drivers are responsible to understand and act on the laws from state to state as there is some variance within the legal framework
CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects
With the next decade in mind, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that CDL drivers in the state of Mississippi will continue to expand in their profession.
Mississippi CDL drivers make about $31,000 per year, on average. However, the top 10% of earners throughout the state pull in double that wage at $62,000 per year, or about $30 per hour. Generally, those commercial interstate truckers at the top of their salary range are able to participate in longer routes, and are committed to their professional development; they possess extra experience and certifications. Nationally, interstate truck driving is forecast to increase by 6%.
Small commercial trucks, delivery vehicles, intrastate transport, and ‘local runs' form a large part of the transportation network, and the BLS reflects that information accordingly. Short haul drivers in Mississippi earn about $25,000 per year and the employment rates for these drivers is expected to grow by 9% over the next decade - as opposed to 6% as the national average.
Passenger vehicles such school busses employ drivers who earn an average of about $19,000 per year or $9 per hour. Some senior drivers who have more flexibility, seniority and experience can make an additional $10,000 each year. Mississippi's rate of growth for these types of CDL drivers is projected to be about 4% annually, or ‘steady' according to the national Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mississippi recognizes the important contribution of school bus drivers on an annual basis.
Resources for Mississippi CDL Requirements
Learn more about Mississippi trucking schools.
Truck Driver Salary in Mississippi
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Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)