Massachusetts CDL Requirements
One of six states making up New England, Massachusetts is the most populous state of northeast USA. Its major city Boston is steeped in American history and culture with a world-famous harbor known for the beginning of the American Revolution. But that's not all the city is famous for; it's a cosmopolitan city with a great tradition of academia and recently in biotechnology, engineering and maritime trade. The city's greater metropolitan area holds around 80% of the Commonwealth's population. Massachusetts is named after the Native American tribe who inhabited the land. Massachusetts is the home to the first European settlement at Plymouth - named after the city in England from where the Pilgrim Fathers set off. Today, the population of Plymouth is just short of 60,000, overshadowed by the behemoth that is Boston. Despite Massachusetts relative small size, its topography is varied between Atlantic coastal plain, rural hills of the center, Berkshire Hills and the river valley of Connecticut.
Which CDL Licenses are Available in Massachusetts?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is required to accept Federal law on CDL licensing. Each CDL class listed below requires drivers to pass medical testing and proficiency exams before they are permitted to drive professionally.
Class A CDL
For prospective drivers wishing to transport goods in the heaviest CMV (weight 26,001lbs or above) to pull the heaviest trailers (10,000lbs or above) the Class A License is required.
Class B CDL
For prospective drivers wishing to transport goods in the heaviest CMV (weight 26,001lbs or above) to pull lighter trailers (lighter than 10,000lbs) the Class B License is required.
Class C CDL
For prospective drivers wishing to transport goods in lighter transport vehicles (lighter than 26,001lbs), hazmat vehicles and passenger vehicles for 16+ persons, the Class C is required.
Class D License
Before applicants are able to apply for any A-C license, they must already hold a standard driver's license - the Class D - in good standing.
You must hold a Class D and fulfil all requirements of the application process including medical testing and proficiency prior to CDL permissions being granted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Should you require further CDL endorsements, further tests are required.
CDL Eligibility in Massachusetts
Laws on licensing criteria are set down by the Federal government and Massachusetts is required to adhere to these laws. However, some flexibility is permitted. Massachusetts may occasionally review these standards for such requirements as safety, industry and changing technology. All applicants must submit to TSA screening to ensure good security standing, and to medical testing to ensure good health eligible for driving a CMV.
License and Permits
- Law requires all applicants hold a Class D license prior to application for any CDL class. Penalties on your existing driver's license may invalidate the application
- Health checks are required for eyesight and potentially dangerous health conditions ahead of CDL authorization
- Many companies offer training courses to learn to drive a CMV. You are not required to learn, but such courses are strongly advisable
- Only when the health checks and security screening is passed will the applicant be able to enter the examination process of a written exam and driving skills test
- CDL applicants must be aged 18 years or older
- CDL applicants in the 18-20 age group are only permitted to drive within Massachusetts
- CDL applicants 21 or older may apply for interstate driving (to and through other states)
- Hazmat applications are only permitted from those aged 21 and over
Proof of Residence of Massachusetts
- You must provide proof up to date Massachusetts residence with any valid form of ID
- Valid ID and an SSN are required to prove you have a right to live and to work in the United States
CDL Requirements for Massachusetts Residents
- Massachusetts requires CDL applicants to provide valid and current address details. If you have recently changed address, you are required to update the new details within 30 days
- Your SSN card is required to prove your eligibility to work in the US
- Eligible proof of relevant insurance is also required
- Please note that all applicants are required to go through TSA screening
Massachusetts CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers
Out of state applicants who have recently moved to Massachusetts are required to submit to further checks:
- Your out of state license must be switched for a Massachusetts license
- Licenses not more than two years out of date require only a straight swap
- US citizenship must be proven
- You will require proof of your address in Massachusetts address including SSN card
- If you have any medical paperwork relevant to a CDL application, you should present it
- Any exemption paperwork you hold must be presented also
Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Massachusetts CDL
Foreign nationals with a right to live and work in the United States may apply for a CDL on the presentation of their legal documentation. You will require the following:
- Your current and valid Permanent Resident Card
- Further relevant paperwork should also be presented such as refugee status paperwork. Anything that declares your right to work in the US is relevant
- Please also present your foreign passport or Consular Report of Birth Abroad paperwork
- Any foreign driver's license you still hold may require surrender to Massachusetts RMV
Do I Need a CDL?
If you are presently serving in the military and due to retire with an honorable discharge within the next 90 days and have not retired more than one year ago, you may be eligible for the "Troops to Trucks" scheme. Here, you are not required to take the practical driving skills part of the process for Class A and B but not C class CDL. You must still complete the written sections of the test including endorsements. Others retiring from other qualifying careers may also be eligible to bypass the driving skills test. Others eligible to skip the driving test include:
- Small volume hazmat drivers
- In situations where a peace officer requires that you drive a CMV in an emergency
- Those experienced and qualified to drive RVs
- Farm workers not more than 150 miles from their place of work radius
- In situations where any officer instructs any person to drive an emergency clearing vehicle following a flood, tornado, rock slide or another event
- Ambulance drivers, retired or retiring firefighters and police drivers
Certain driving convictions (pending or actual) will render your application ineligible. These include DUI for controlled substances and alcohol, speeding and leaving an accident scene of which you were a part. Should your standard driver's license have been revoked, this could mean your CDL is rejected. Any felony involving a motor vehicle will also void your CDL application.
Medical and Physical CDL Requirements
- You must submit to medical testing to determine your health is sufficient to drive a CMV. Eyesight checks will take place and your medical record will be examined for conditions that could be detrimental to your driving such as epilepsy. See our resource list for a medically authorized list of examiners
- Only when you have passed medical checks will you receive the authorizing documentation of a Medical Examination Report Form and a Medical Examiner's Certificate
- These are required for your CDL application. You will also need to explain whether you are applying for an intrastate or interstate license. You will receive a Federal Medical Card at this time
- Failing a medical test may not mean the end of the application; under some conditions, you may be eligible for certain restrictions
- Employers will nearly always pay for the application process. If this is the case with your process, always direct queries through the employer
Background Check for CDL Applicants
Every person applying for a CDL must pass TSA screening. Therefore, only US citizens and permanent residents may apply for a CDL. Deeper checks may be required of some applicants. Finger print checking, for example, is necessary for hazmat vehicle applicants.
CDL Testing in Massachusetts
Only when medically authorized to proceed will the TSA screening take place. Then the applicant may proceed to the Knowledge Test and Driving Skills examination.
CDL Knowledge Test
The legally required Knowledge Test consists of 50 multiple choice questions designed to test your knowledge of state and Federal driving laws. Each additional endorsement section consists of 20 further multiple-choice questions.
CDL Road Skills Tests
Once the applicant has completed the Knowledge Test will they be able to advance to the driving test.
- Before the driving test begins, the examiner will check that the vehicle is both eligible for the test and safe
- The examiner will then request that the CDL applicant demonstrates how to adjust controls within the vehicle
- Once satisfied with this, the examiner will begin the test in which the applicant must demonstrate their driving proficiency during normal road driving conditions
Massachusetts CDL Office Locations
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles operates out of the following CDL offices:
- Boston RMV
136 Blackstone St.
Boston, MA 02111
- Everett CDL Test Site
80 Broadway Route 99
Everett, MA 02149
- Revere RMV
9c Everett Street
Revere, MA 02151
- Watertown RMV
550 Arsenal St.
Watertown, MA 02472
- Cambridge Armory Road Test Site
450 Concord Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
- Dorchester Armory Road Test Site
70 Victory Road
Boston, MA 02122
- Roslindale RMV
4210 Washington Street
Roslindale, MA 02131
- Natick RMV Eastbound Service Center
Natick, MA 01760
- Milford RMV
14 Beach St.
Milford, MA 01757
- Lynn Road Test Site
325 Broad Street
Lynn, MA 01901
- Dartmouth CDL Test Site
266 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747
- New Bedford RMV
212 Theodore H Rice Blvd
New Bedford, MA 02740
- Fall River RMV
1794 North Main Street
Fall River, MA 02721
- Taunton RMV
1 Washington St.
Taunton, MA 02780
- Lawrence RMV
73 Winthrop Ave. Plaza 114
Lawrence, MA 01843
- RMV Branch Office
10 Plain St.
Braintree, MA 02184
- Springfield RMV
1250 St James Ave
Springfield, MA 01104
- Chicopee RMV
1011 Chicopee St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
- Westfield Road Test Site
59 Court St.
Westfield, MA 01085
- Worcester RMV
611 Main St.
Worcester, MA 01608
- Sterling CDL Test Site
14 Chocksett Road
Sterling, MA 01564
- Southbridge RMV
6 Larochelle Way
Southbridge, MA 01550
Massachusetts CDL Endorsements
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles allows the following endorsements for CDLs issued in the state:
- Hazardous material (H)
- Air Brakes (L)
- Tank vehicles (N)
- Passenger vehicles (P)
- School buses (S)
- Hazmat tank vehicles (X)
- Double and triple trailers (T)
Massachusetts CDL Disqualifications
CDL holders are now subject to stricter driving laws than those to which other drivers are subject.
- Blood alcohol readings at 0.04% or higher when driving a CMV
- Blood alcohol readings at 0.08% or higher when driving any other type of vehicle
- Controlled substance testing records a positive result
- Refusing to supply a blood or breath sample for alcohol or controlled substances
- Involvement in an accident and failing to report it to the relevant authorities
- Involvement in an accident and leaving the scene
- Using any registered CMV for non-vehicle crime offences
- Dangerously driving that causes a fatality
- Operating a registered CMV when you have lost permission to drive said vehicle either through cancelation, revocation or suspension
The list above incurs a 12-month suspension in the case of a first offense. Second offences incur a life suspension of CDL privileges. Courts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may set further punishments. Any such offense in a hazmat vehicle is a disqualification period of no less than three years. Using a CMV for controled substances is life suspension. For blood alcohol testing registering a positive of a percentage.04% or under, a 24-hour suspension will apply.
Below is a list of secondary offences incurring less stringent punishments. Each comes with a mandatory 60-day suspension for a second offence. A mandatory 120-day suspension applies to third offenses:
- Speeding more than 15mph over the road's legal limit
- Dangerous and reckless driving as adjudged by a law officer
- Erratic lane changing and other dangerous maneuvers
- Driving too closely to fellow road users - also known as "tail gating"
- Generally failing to comply with Massachusetts minor driving laws
- Where you are found unqualified to drive a CMV
- Where you are found unqualified to drive the CMV vehicle in which you are presently in control (Class B license holders must not drive Class A vehicles)
- Where you are driving a vehicle that needs endorsements but you do not possess the relevant permissions
- Where you are driving a CMV that you are licensed to drive but not in possession of that CDL
Out of Service violations are applied for vehicles deemed unsafe to drive. When an inspector places an OOS, the CLD holder is not permitted to drive it. Doing so means penalties. Should you be caught doing so, you will incur a minimum 90-day disqualification for a first violation. For a second OOS violation, a ten-year disqualification applies. Hazmat vehicles are 3-10 years for a first offense.
Drivers are subject to separate punishments for railroad violations in Massachusetts. Any first offense from the list below is a 60-day suspension of CDL privileges. Any second offence in a 3-year period is a suspension of 120 days. A 12-month ban is incurred for third offences in the same period:
- At junctions where the vehicle is not expected to stop, failing to slow to check the tracks for oncoming trains
- At junctions where the vehicle is not expected to stop, failing to stop when the tracks are not clear of either a train or traffic on the other side
- At junctions where the vehicle is expected to stop, failing to do so even when the tracks are clear
- At junctions where the vehicle is not expected to stop, failing to allow sufficient space to carry the vehicle right through
- Ignoring the instructions of law officers or electronic equipment
- Failing to negotiate a railroad junction due to the vehicle having insufficient undercarriage clearance
Massachusetts CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects
Updated information from BLS released in May 2017 demonstrated that commercial driving can expect a 5% growth between 2014 and 2024. The average of all jobs is 7%, meaning commercial haulage will be slower than normal.
Heavy truck drivers traditionally receive higher pay than other delivery roles due to long distances and hours. The average pay for heavy truck drivers is presently $41,340 for salaried employees and $19.87ph for those paid by the hour. At the lowest paid end of the scale is $26,920 and those in the highest paid 10% salary bracket earn around $63,140. Heavy truck drivers in Massachusetts have a higher than average salary at $49,920 and equally higher than average hourly pay at $23.10 for the median rate and $24 for the mean.
Light truck and local delivery driving jobs are conventionally lower pay. It is also going through a slow period with growth of 4% between 2014 and 2024, around half the national average of all jobs. The main reason is the rise of GPS making route planning more efficient and the growth of second jobs in the gig economy. National average salary is presently $34,790 for salary pay and $16.73 for hourly employees. Light truck drivers in the state enjoy higher pay at $37,320 for those paid a salary and $16.51 hourly paid (median) and $17.94 (mean).
Public transportation driving is a stable occupation with constant demand for drivers. BLS projects a 6% growth between 2014 and 2024. This reflects the national average of all jobs. Pay is presently $31,920 salary and $14.96 hourly across the US. Massachusetts public transport drivers also earn higher than average pay. The average salary in the state is $33,730 and equivalent hourly rates are $15.23 (the median hourly) and $16.21 (the mean hourly).
BLS Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm
Resources for Massachusetts CDL Requirements
Learn more about Massachusetts trucking schools.
Truck Driver Salary in Massachusetts
|Location||25th Percentile||75th Percentile||Annual Salary|
|Barnstable Town, MA||$34,440||$46,370||$40,410|
|Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA NECTA Division||$40,640||$56,450||$46,120|
|Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, MA NECTA Division||$38,670||$57,720||$45,310|
|Framingham, MA NECTA Division||$35,900||$50,920||$42,410|
|Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, MA-NH NECTA Division||$31,320||$47,470||$39,960|
|Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, MA-NH NECTA Division||$37,090||$65,020||$46,860|
|Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, MA-NH NECTA Division||$39,010||$55,230||$45,840|
|New Bedford, MA||$38,460||$49,860||$43,640|
|Peabody, MA NECTA Division||$39,360||$74,470||$47,850|
|Taunton-Norton-Raynham, MA NECTA Division||$37,020||$52,000||$44,040|
Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)