Louisiana CDL Requirements
Criss-crossing the deltas of the Bayou State, Louisiana's roads, rural routes and byways allow travellers and truckers to witness and experience ways of life and culture in each of the state's 64 parishes. Ranging from cosmopolitan cityscapes to fierce and isolated bayou, there's much to see from the Gulf of Mexico north to Arkansas, include New Orleans, Shreveport and Baton Rouge. Running through the southwest, Louisiana's Cajun Corridor Byway takes visitors on a tour of many great places to eat. Low-lying and flat Louisiana is home to North America's longest bridge, which can be intimidating to professional drivers and visitors both. Stretching from New Orleans to Mandeville, Louisiana, the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway Bridge is routinely included on lists of the most remarkable bridges in the world due to its proximity to water and its 24-mile length.
What CDL Licenses are Available in Louisiana?
People who want to pursue a career as a commercial driver in the state of Louisiana have a number of tests to pass in addition to the basic driver's licence skill and knowledge testing.
CDL Class A
Combination vehicles - that is, those consisting of a tractor unit and a trailer unit - are Class A vehicles. Together, both parts must weigh more than 26,001 pounds with the pulled vehicle exceeding 10,001 pounds. Interstate CDL truckers commonly have Class A licenses, and are also certified to drive Class B and Class C vehicles as long as no additional restrictions apply.
CDL Class B
Single vehicles weighing greater than 26,001 pounds are called Class B vehicles. Generally the power portion is attached to the towed portion and can't be separated, however any trailer attachment must weigh less than 10,000 pounds. Usually driven by intrastate CDL license-holders, this class often contains vehicles for construction and local delivery. Class B license holders are also certified to drive Class C vehicles as long as no additional restrictions or endorsements are required.
CDL Class C
Single vehicles designed to carry 15 or more passengers plus the driver are classified as Class C vehicles, as are those designed to transport hazardous materials. Class C vehicles may be of any commercial weight and may include both passenger transport and student transport vehicles. Some restrictions and endorsements apply and vary from state to state.
Class D License
Most states designate Class D licensing as a personal driver's license, however this is not the case in Louisiana. A Class D license in Louisiana is also known as the ‘chauffeur license' and can be obtained by anyone age 17 and older, depending on work restrictions. The license allows individuals to operate all class E (personal) vehicles in addition to any vehicle that is used to commercially transport passengers or property, as long as the vehicle and towed portion (if applicable) fall between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds. The two most common examples of Class D licensing in Louisiana are private EMS drivers and professional chauffeurs.
Class E License
Class E licensing in Louisiana is a personal license used to drive personal, recreational, agricultural, military and emergency (excepting private EMS) vehicles or vehicles for work purposes. This license is available to those age 17 and older who show proof of having taken the state's knowledge test and to whom professional restrictions do not apply.
CDL Eligibility in Louisiana
Louisiana has a straightforward system of licensing and enforcement that is on par with the rest of the states and overseen at the federal level. Federal laws are minimum standards for enforcement throughout the state, but interstate drivers are responsible for understanding and obeying the laws for the state that they are driving in as they differ from place to place.
License and Permits
- To begin the licensing process for a commercial driver's license, the applicant must have a Class E license in good standing.
- Individuals must be 18 years or older to drive intrastate vehicles and 21 years or older to drive interstate vehicles. This applies to all CDL classes.
Proof of Residence in Louisiana
CDL applicants must provide proof of residence in Louisiana before the application can be considered valid. Please bring applicable, original personal documentation that is found on the below lists:
- A statement on letterhead from the postmaster verifying the address and stating that the applicant receives mail at the address in question
- W-2 Form
- A current insurance policy of any kind that verifies the applicant's identification and address
- Voter's registration card
- Property tax receipt that verifies the applicant as property owner
- Lease or rental agreement in the applicant's name
- Utility or telephone statement in the applicant's name and verifying the address
CDL Requirements for Louisiana Residents
In order to being the CDL process, Louisiana residents must present the following documents:
- Long form physical documentation (form DPSMV 2219) completed and signed by a state-approved medical examiner.
- Current Class E driver's license
- Original social security card or original documentation on letterhead from the SSA which states your SSN
- Proof of insurance
- $15 application fee (cash only)
Please ensure that you are prepared to complete the application office at the office that you choose. Offices will not fax documents or partially completed applications between locations.
Louisiana CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers
Transferring your CDL from another state to Louisiana is an important process. You will require:
- Current out-of-state photo CDL, or
- A letter of clearance, or
- A copy of your official driving record (obtainable online - have a printer ready)
- ID in accordance with those items listed above, in original format - copies are not acceptable.
- Proof of Social Security Number
- Long form CDL physical with accredited medical examiner's signature and certificate
- Proof of insurance
- Book a vision exam at the OMV office
- Cash to pay for transfer fees, vision exam, and endorsement testing as required
If you were a prior citizen of Louisiana who held a valid driver's license (Class D, E or CDL) at the time, and the documentation is digitally retrievable and is identifiable as you, parts of the transfer process may be waived.
Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Louisiana CDL
Born outside the U.S.? You can become a successful commercial driver if you are a legal citizen of the United State. Please bring substantial, original documentation in order to support your application:
- Current U.S. Passport
- Report of Birth Abroad
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
- Certified birth certificate as filed with your original country
Additionally, non-U.S. CDL applicants must provide:
- Social security number (card or certified letter of attestation)
- Current, valid personal photo identification
- Proof of date of birth (U.S. issued)
- Proof of Louisiana residence
Do I Need a CDL?
As a member or former member of the military, you may be eligible to waive the basic road skill testing for a Louisiana CDL. Ensure that you have the appropriate paperwork; understand that the process must be completed within 12 months of separation or honorable discharge. Please bring the following when you come to a state OMV location:
- Proof of Louisiana domicile
- Louisiana driver's license
- Proof of military operator's permit confirmed by your Commanding Officer
- OMV military waiver form completed by you and your Commanding Officer
- Proof of service/military ID card
- Proof of discharge
To apply, obtain a copy of Louisiana's Military Skills waiver form online or at any Louisiana OMV office.
Medical and Physical CDL Requirements
All CDL applicants need to have a valid, signed medical form for their first-time application. Subsequent renewals are able to self-certify online, permitting there hasn't been any change in medical information. Drivers are responsible to make sure that their medical standing does not lapse.
Background Check for CDL Applicants
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ensures that nationwide, any individual that wishes to transport placarded hazardous material submits to a fingerprint security check.
All applicants that wish to transport hazardous materials must be age 21 or older.
CDL Testing in Louisiana
Commercial Driver's licensing in Louisiana requires both a knowledge test and a practical test that must be successfully passed after a personal driving test has been taken. Applicants have a number of locations as options to visit in order to complete the testing requirements, including Lafayette, Madisonville, Fort Polk and Broussard among many others. Some locations test for specific classes of CDL and may or may not have a vehicle to rent for testing so it is best to inquire by phone regarding specific costs and arrangements to be made.
CDL Knowledge Tests
Louisiana CDL applicants are required to pass a General Knowledge test for Class A, B, and C licensing.
CDL Skills Tests
With a ‘pass' for the CDL General Knowledge test, candidates are then able to practice subsequently book an appointment for practical testing at an OMV office or third party facility. Arrangements for the testing vehicle must be made in advance, as some facilities do not have rentals available. Payment must be in cash.
Louisiana CDL Office Locations
Louisiana OMV Locations
- Parish - Arcadia
1710 West Second Street
Crowley, LA 70527
- Parish - Allen
333 8th Street
Kinder, LA 70648
- Parish - Allen
229 S. 10th Street
Oakdale, LA 71463
- Parish - Ascension
413 Williams St.
Donaldsonville, LA 70346
- Parish - Ascension
1056 E. Worthey St. Suite A
Gonzales, LA 70737
- Parish - Assumption
105 Martin Luther King
Napoleonville, LA 70390
- Parish - Avoyelles
1136 Shirley Rd.
Bunkie, LA 71322
- Parish - Avoyelles
311 North Monroe
Marksville, LA 71351
- Parish - Beauregard
2366 Hwy 190 West
DeRidder, LA 70634
To learn more about the various services, operating hours, and management contacts please refer to: http://dpsweb.dps.louisiana.gov/omvfielddirections.nsf/$parish?openview
Louisiana Third-Party Testing Offices
For an approved list of all third party OMV providers for CDL please refer to:
Louisiana CDL Endorsements
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the regulatory body that oversees CDL endorsements throughout the United States including Louisiana. The state's endorsements include:
- Air Brakes
- Combination Vehicles
- Hazardous Materials
- Passenger Transport
Other demographics of professional drivers (emergency services, military, agriculture, etc) rely on professional training from industry-specific service providers - most generally do not require a CDL to drive as part of their job.
Below are the most common restrictions that must be noted:
- Seat Cushion Required
- Automatic Transmission Only
- Knob/Power Steering
- Intrastate Only
- Bus restriction
- Except Class A and Class B Bus
- Combination vehicles
- Intrastate Only
- Special Restriction
- Hearing Impairment
- Air Brakes restriction
- Corrective lenses
- Additional mirrors
- Medical Condition(s)
- Custom Controls Required
Louisiana CDL Disqualifications
Law enforcement throughout the state is also responsible for CDL road law compliance. That means that being caught violating road laws by a state trooper or police officer may result in having your license suspended or with arrest. Additionally, you may be subject to fines or additional employer-sanctioned penalties. Major offenses fall into 6 categories:
Louisiana General Driving Laws
Disqualification under any circumstances means that you may not operate a commercial vehicle in Louisiana; also it's possible that your CDL may be permanently revoked, and likely that you will be terminated if you work for an enterprise CDL company.
Louisiana DUI and Fleeing Laws
Suspension or revocation is what may happen if you cause any of the following types of offenses. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and in recent years, law enforcement has not be lenient with these types of offences:
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Committing a felony
- BAC: Testing or ‘acting' as though you are over the limit
- Breathalyzer refusal (roadside)'
- Controlled substances: Testing or ‘acting' as though you have used controlled substances
- Traffic moving violations committed in a vehicle other than your commercial rig
Louisiana ‘Out of Service' Laws
- Operating without a commercial driver's license
- Working or operating a commercial rig while CDL is under suspension
- Driving recklessly or more than 15 mph over the legal limit
- Found not wearing a seatbelt at any time
- Railroad laws require truckers to possess situational knowledge that applies to their class of vehicle. Violating railroad crossing laws can result in serious harm or loss of life to other motorists and are viewed seriously under the law.
Additional Laws in Louisiana
Illegal entry or domicile in the U.S. or Louisiana, fraud, outstanding warrants for arrest and other such offenses disqualifies you from being a CDL driver.
Louisiana CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the trucking industry is preparing for above-average growth and development. A snapshot of salary and employment information specific to Louisiana truck drivers; you can find the information below
Forecasted to grow by 7% over the next few years, the intrastate industry is growing in Louisiana - faster than the national average. Per year, it's predicted that more than 600 jobs will open up for those individuals who pursue their Class A licence. Extra endorsements like air brakes and doubles/triples may make CDL drivers more employable. On average, the salary for tractor-trailer drivers is over $35,000 per year - with lots of opportunity for advancement and overtime. At the peak of their career, select truckers can make close to $60,000 annually.
Commercial vehicles, also called light truck or delivery rigs, generally stay in-state. Nonetheless, the BLS forecasts that these types of positions will more than double their expansion compared to national averages until the 2020s - resulting in more than 300 new jobs created each year. With a median hourly wage of over $13 per hour, full-time drivers generally make more than $27,000 per year. Drivers at the top of their game can make more than $50,000 annually.
Though lower than national averages, school bus drivers in Louisiana are still experiencing strong growth within the field at 4% per year. This means that Louisianan children and special clients are going to see 130 new faces every year as the field continues to expand. While the beginning wage for bus drivers is over $16,000 per year, drivers with experience, credentials and endorsements can earn more than $28,000 per year.
Resources for Louisiana CDL Requirements
Learn more about Louisiana trucking schools.
Truck Driver Salary in Louisiana
|Location||25th Percentile||75th Percentile||Annual Salary|
|Baton Rouge, LA||$31,580||$45,770||$36,520|
|Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA||$27,870||$45,270||$34,720|
|Lake Charles, LA||$28,990||$46,330||$35,450|
|New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA||$33,490||$47,110||$40,620|
|Shreveport-Bossier City, LA||$32,130||$44,230||$36,510|
Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)