Illinois CDL Requirements
Many observers consider Illinois the microcosm of the USA as a whole. Divided between heavy industry in the north, agriculture in the center of the state and natural resources in the south, Illinois is a diverse state in many ways. The powerhouse in the northeast is Chicago - the state capital and one of the largest and most famous cities in the country. Due to its strategic position on Lake Michigan, Chicago is an international center of finance and commerce, and light and heavy industry (particularly technology and telecoms). The state's landscape lies solely on the Interior Plains, an enormous area covering the central part of the US and up to Canada. Illinois is mostly flat with only minor variation in its elevation. Illinois became a state in 1818, the 21st added to the Union.
Which CDL Licenses are Available in Illinois?
The state of Illinois offers the following driver's licenses. Applicants must pass all required tests before legally permitted to drive a CMV.
CDL Class A
Class A licenses apply to the heaviest vehicle class (those 26,001lbs or heavier) for trailers exceeding 10,000lbs
CDL Class B
Class B licenses apply to the heaviest vehicle class (those 26,001lbs or heavier) but for trailers not exceeding 10,000lbs
CDL Class C
Class C licenses apply to the lighter transport vehicles (those lighter than 26,001lbs). Applicants wishing to drive passenger vehicles for 16 or more persons, and/or hazmat vehicles, require a Class C
Class D License
Before any person is permitted to apply for A-C licenses, they require a standard state driving license for two or more years.
All applicants are required to pass a minimum requirement in all medical exams. Further, you must satisfactorily pass a general knowledge and a practical driving test. Extra endorsements will require further test sections.
CDL Eligibility in Illinois
Federal laws apply to Illinois with regard to CDL application and approval. All states are permitted to set their own standards with some criteria. These state regulated aspects are subject to regular review in line with industry needs, safety and the changing driving situation. All CDL applicants must submit to a series of medical tests, security checks and in some cases - TSA screening.
License and Permits
- All applicants, regardless of intended CDL class, is required to possess a license in good standing for a minimum period of two years
- All applicants must fulfil minimum levels of necessary health tests including eye tests
- Many organizations offer CDL education and training. The state of Illinois does not require applicants to complete these courses, but most will find it beneficial to do so
- Applicants must pass written exam(s) prior to the driving skills test
- In order to apply for a CDL, you must be 18 years and over
- However, 18-21-year-olds are limited to driving a CMV within the state of Illinois. You are also not permitted to drive hazmat vehicles
- Only 21+ age group are permitted to drive in other states
Proof of Residence of Illinois
- Proof of residence in the state of Illinois is required at the time of application. Any change of address must be registered within 30 days
- ID is required for all applicants as proof of eligibility
- You will also require you Social Security Number Card
CDL Requirements for Illinois Residents
- Your Class D driver's license must have been issued in the state of Illinois
- Your Social Security Number Card is a legal required
- Proof of insurance should be presented
- Depending on the required endorsements, you may require further TSA screening and other security checks
Illinois CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers
States are permitted to set requirements for applicants from other states. The requirements in Illinois are as follows:
- Transfers must hand over their licenses issued in the previous state and change it for an Illinois license
- Applicants may transfer out of date license so long as not more than two years have passed
- Proof of US citizenship or Permanent Resident status if you are a non-citizen will also be required
- You must provide proof of your Illinois address
- Your Social Security Number Card is required at application
- You will be required to submit for any medical tests required by the state of Illinois. If you have valid medical certification, you should present them
- Exemptions (if applicable) should also be provided
Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Illinois CDL
Applications from non-US citizens are permitted only for those with a right to reside in the US. You will be expected to provide further documentation:
- Your Permanent Resident Card and further paperwork asserting your right to live and work in the US
- Identification such as your foreign
- Proof of Illinois residency
- If you have an eligible driving license from your country of birth, you should present this. Application of an Illinois driver's license will require its permanent surrender
Do I Need a CDL?
The military waiver scheme known informally as "Troops to Trucks" is active in the state of Illinois. Military service personnel recently retired, and serving and about to retire, may skip the practical driving test. Applicants under this scheme are required to pass the written test and extra sections for endorsements. Driving convictions may mean you are not eligible for the scheme, even when fulfilling all other criteria. Convictions for DUI (both alcohol and controlled substances), speeding and leaving the scene of an accident, all make your application void. Any revocation, suspension or cancellation for any reason will also void your application. Any conviction for felonies involving motor vehicles will also render your eligibility void. Personnel able to drive heavy military vehicles may also be exempt in some cases. Firefighters and police drivers may also be able to skip parts of the process so long as they have a two-year clean record.
There are further waivers:
- Individuals eligible to drive small-volume hazmat vehicle
- When instructed by a peace officer to drive a CMV during an emergency
- Licensed RV drivers
- Individuals driving farm vehicles up to and including 150 miles from their place of work
- Emergency clearing vehicle drivers such as snow plows and those able to lift fallen trees
- Public service equipment such as those used for firefighting and military vehicles
Medical and Physical CDL Requirements
- Illinois requires applicants to submit for medical analyses. Our resources list provides a link to nationally authorized medical professionals
- Once the applicant clears the medical test, they will receive a Medical Examination Report Form and a Medical Examiner's Certificate
- Forward these documents by fax, in person or by postal mail to support your application. Always keep copies
- Applicants may apply for intrastate driving (within state border) or for interstate (to and through other states in the US)
- A Federal Medical Card is required for all interstate applications. This is issued once all other criteria have been satisfactorily complete
- If you fail medical testing, you may be eligible for restrictions
- The employer is responsible for the costs of your CDL medical testing in most cases. For queries, direct through the employer
Background Check for CDL Applicants
TSA screens are required of all CDL applicants. Should you require hazmat endorsement on your license, you will also be subject to fingerprint checking. Your right to live in the US must be ascertained - either as citizens or permanent residents.
CDL Testing in Illinois
Medical testing and TSA must be completed prior to the commencement of the knowledge exam and driving test.
CDL Knowledge Test
Illinois's Knowledge Test in Illinois consists of a series of 50 general knowledge multiple choice questions. Each additional endorsement has extra sections with 20 further questions.
CDL Road Skills Tests
Only when the Knowledge Test is complete will the applicant be permitted on the road.
- The vehicle's roadworthiness is recorded prior to the test. The examiner ensures it passes all safety checks
- Next, the examiner will require the applicant to show that they have the ability to work the vehicle's basic controls such as the mirrors and seating
- Then the applicant is permitted on the road to complete the Driving Test. Here, you will demonstrate the ability to drive and adapt to road conditions
Illinois CDL Office Locations
In Illinois, CDL licenses are issued by the Secretary of State. Office locations are as follows:
- Aurora Secretary of State Facility
339 East Indian Trail
Aurora, IL 60505
- Naperville Sec. of State Facility
931 W. 75th St. Ste. 161, Hobson Shopping Center
Naperville, IL 60565
- West Chicago Sec. of State Facility
1280 Powis Road
West Chicago, IL 60185
- Wheaton Secretary of State Facility
128 West Liberty Drive
Wheaton, IL 60187
- Elgin Secretary of State Facility
595 S. State St.
Elgin, IL 60123
- Belleville Sec. Of State Facility
400 W. Main St.
Belleville, IL 62220
- Waterloo Sec. of State Facility
1335 Jamie Lane
Waterloo, IL 62298
- Edwardsville Sec. of State Facility
1502A Troy Road
Edwardsville, IL 62025
- Bloomington Sec. Of State Facility
1510 W. Market St.
Bloomington, IL 61701
- Clinton Sec. of State Facility
1255 State Route 54 East
Clinton, IL 61727
- Roanoke Sec. of State Facility
106 West Broad St.
Roanoke, IL 61561
- Lincoln Sec. of State Facility
2200 N. Kickapoo St.
Lincoln, IL 62656
- Pontiac Sec. of State Facility
507 Crane St.
Pontiac, IL 61764
- Melrose Park Sec. of State Facility
1903 North Mannheim Road
Melrose Park, IL 60160
- Des Plaines Secretary of State Facility
1470 Lee St.
Des Plaines, IL 60018
- Secretary of State Facility
650 Roppolo Drive
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
- Sec. Of State Facility - North
5401 North Elston Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630
- Diversey Sec. of State Facility
4642 West Diversey St. The Hall Plaza
Chicago, IL 60641
- Lombard Sec. of State Facility
837 South Westmore Road B27 Eastgate Shopping Center
Lombard, IL 60148
In East Saint Louis
- Granite City
Granite City, IL 62040
- East St. Louis Facility
8750 Church Lane
East St. Louis, IL 62203
- Bethalto Sec. Of State Facility
20 Terminal Drive Suite 103
East Alton, IL 62024
- Joliet Secretary of State Facility
201 S. Joyce Road
Joliet, IL 60435
1029 - 31 E. 9th St.
Lockport, IL 60441
- Orland Park Sec. of State Facility
14700 S. Ravinia Ave.
Orland Park, IL 60462
- Midlothian Sec. of State Facility
14434 S. Pulaski Road Midlothian Plaza
Midlothian, IL 60445
- Morris Secretary of State Facility
2413 Sycamore St.
Morris, IL 60450
- Schaumburg Sec. of State Facility
1227 E. Golf Road Woodfield Commons Shopping Center
Schaumburg, IL 60173
- Secretary of State Office
951 S. Rand Rd
Lake Zurich, IL 60047
- Deerfield Sec. of State Facility
405 Lake Cook Road A6-9
Deerfield, IL 60015
- Peoria Sec. of State Facility
3311 N. Sterling Ave. #12, Sterling Bazaar Shopping Plaza
Peoria, IL 61604
- Pekin Sec. of State Facility
200 S. 2nd
Pekin, IL 61554
- Lacon Sec. of State Facility
127 Prairie St.
Lacon, IL 61540
- Canton Sec. of State Facility
1015 West Locust St.
Canton, IL 61520
- Wyoming Sec. of State Facility
111 East Williams St.
Wyoming, IL 61491
- Rockford Express
3214 Auburn St.
Rockford, IL 61101
- Rockford Sec. of State Facility
3720 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108
- Rockford CDL
4734 Baxter Rd.
Rockford, IL 61109
- Roscoe Secretary of State Facility
10631 Main St. Village Hall
Roscoe, IL 61073
- Belvidere Sec. of State Facility
425 Southtowne Drive Rd.
Belvidere, IL 61008
- Oregon Secretary of State Facility
1302 Pines Road
Oregon, IL 61061
- Springfield Howlett Facility
501 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62756
- Springfield Klein & Mason Facility
316 North Klein
Springfield, IL 62702
- Springfield Dirksen Pkwy. Facility
2701 S. Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, IL 62723
- Taylorville Sec. of State Facility
1400 East Park St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
Learn mroe about CDL facility locations:
Illinois CDL Endorsements
The CDL endorsements in the state of Illinois are as follows:
- H: applies to vehicles carrying Hazardous Material (HazMat)
- N: applies to tank vehicles
- P: applies to passenger vehicles
- S: applies to school buses
- T: applies to double and triple trailer transport vehicles
- X: applies to combination tank vehicles for carrying fluid or gas
CDL license holders are expected to adhere to higher standards of driving quality. Therefore, any conviction will incur more severe penalties than to holders of the standard Driver's License.
Illinois CDL Disqualifications
The following offences will incur penalties under Federal and state law:
- Where the driver records blood alcohol at 0.04% or above when driving a CMV
- Where the driver records blood alcohol at 0.08% or above when driving any other vehicle
- Where the driver refuses a test for alcohol and controlled substances, even when the result is a negative
- Where the driver registers positive for controlled substances
- Failing to report any accident where you are involved, either in your CMV or any other vehicle
- Leaving any accident scene where you have been involved
- Using any CMV for non-traffic felonies
- Reckless, neglectful or otherwise dangerous driving resulting in any fatal accident
- Driving any CMV when you are not legally permitted to do so such as your license is revoked, canceled or suspended
Each of these offences carries a 12-month disqualification for first offences. Second offences carry a life suspension of your CDL. In addition, state courts may apply additional penalties. Hazmat offences incur greater penalties: three-year disqualifications for first offences. Using your or any other CMV for any offence involving controled substances such as illegal drugs is a life suspension. Alcohol tests that register below .04%, will incur a 24-hour suspension.
Below is a list of lesser offences. First offences incur no penalty but a second within three years is a 60-day suspension. A third in the same three-year period is a 120-day suspension:
- Excess speed more than 15mph over the limit
- Reckless/dangerous driving
- Risking road safety through erratic driving and improper lane changes
- Tailgating or driving too close to vehicles before you
- Failing to adhere to Illinois state laws on procedures during fatal accidents
- Driving any CMV with no CDL privileges
- Driving any CMV with inadequate CDL privileges
- Driving any CMV with no or inadequate endorsements on your CDL
- Not being in possession of your CDL when driving a CMV
Penalties for Out of service (OOS) violations include 90-day disqualifications for a first offence and ten years for a second offence. The equivalents for hazmat vehicles include a two-year disqualification for a first offence and a third offence is a 3-10 year disqualification.
Railroad violations are as follows in Illinois:
- If driving a vehicle not required to stop at a crossing, the driver fails to stop when tracks are unclear
- If driving a vehicle not required to stop at a crossing, the driver fails to slow through the crossing when track is clear
- Failing to stop before entering the crossing if driving a vehicle required to stop
- Driving through a crossing and failing to leave sufficient space to drive completely through
- Ignoring instructions of enforcement personnel and traffic control equipment
- Failing to negotiate a crossing due to insufficient undercarriage clearance
Offences incur 60-day disqualifications for a first offence and a 120-day penalty for second railroad offences within three years. Any third offence in that period carries a 12-month suspension (minimum).
CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects
BLS examines employment data for every industry in the US. Data from 2016-2017 suggests that commercial driving employment will grow 5% in the period 2014-2024. This is against a national average of 7%, making commercial driving lower than average. The main reason for this includes new ways of journey planning through GPS and other technologies moving the industry towards efficiency.
The national average salary for heavy truck driving was recorded at $41,340 in the BLS report. Hourly paid employees reported pay of $19.87ph. The lowest 10% earners earned $26,920 and the highest a reported salary of $63,140. Heavy truck drivers in Illinois enjoy higher than average pay with a median salary of $46,970 and hourly rates of $21.86 (median) and $22.58 (mean).
National averages for light trucks and delivery jobs have a national average of $34,790 for those paid a salary and $16.73 for hourly paid employees. In contrast to heavy truck jobs, Illinois only has slightly higher averages. The average salary is $34,910 in the state and hourly paid employees recorded $14.88 (median) and $16.89 (mean). National growth for this type of role is a predicted 4% in the 2014-2024 decade. Independent and self-employed carriers in the "gig economy" is likely to account for lower general employment levels.
Bus driving and other passenger vehicles that carry 16+ persons is a stable career option. There is a projected 6% increase in employment over the next decade, around the national average. The salary average across the country is presently $31,920 with hourly paid employees earning $14.96. Bus drivers in Illinois enjoy higher than average pay much like the heavy truck workers. Equivalent average pay is $51,190 with hourly rates of $23.70 (median) and $24.71 (the mean).
BLS Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_il.htm
Resources for Illinois CDL Requirements
Learn more about Illinois trucking schools.
Truck Driver Salary in Illinois
|Location||25th Percentile||75th Percentile||Annual Salary|
|Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan Division||$35,690||$60,760||$46,450|
|Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan Division||$32,430||$51,430||$40,690|
Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)