Nebraska CDL Requirements

Nebraska has many unique features, the first being that it is the only triple-landlocked state. That means a traveler must pass through three states to reach the coast. It straddles an area between two major topographical features: The Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. The second unique feature is its system of state government. It is the only state with a single legislative chamber. Admitted into the union as the 37th state in 1867, it is also ranked 37th in terms of population. Nebraska's climate is split on an east-west divide with the eastern side being humid and continental and the western half a semi-arid climate. Despite this divide between dry and humid, rainfall and snowfall are fairly even. It also means Nebraska is one of several states making up Tornado Alley, with twisters common through spring and summer and sometimes into the fall.

Which CDL Licenses are Available in Nebraska?

Nebraska must comply with Federal regulations on licensing allocation but is permitted some flexibility. Licensing allocation in Nebraska is explained below:

Class A CDL

This is the license type required for drivers of the heaviest vehicles, those weighing 26,001lbs or greater for vehicles designed to haul the heaviest trailer types, those weighing 10,000lb or more

Class B CDL

This is the license type required for drivers of the heaviest vehicles, those weighing 26,001lbs or greater for vehicles designed to haul the lighter trailer types, those weighing 10,000lb or less

Class C CDL

This is the license type required for drivers of lighter commercial vehicles, weighing 26,000lb or less, for drivers pursuing a role in passenger transport vehicles, or hazmat vehicles

Class O

This is the standard driver's license type. All CDL applicants required it prior to applying for Classes A-C.

Your Class O license must be current and have no pending or prior convictions. This must be the case for a two-year period before the CDL application. Regardless of class, all applicants will be expected to receive medical clearance to apply for any CDL class. The driving test will consist of two parts; the knowledge exam is mandatory. Some drivers are permitted to bypass the practical driving skills test. Details on which exceptions apply are below.

CDL Eligibility in Nebraska

While Federal regulations apply to all states, there is some degree of autonomy based on local conditions, industry requirement and road safety based on the state's unique situation. All applicants are required to go through TSA screening.

License and Permits

  • A Class O license is required of all CDL applicants. Any motoring convictions in the previous two years may void the application
  • A series of mandatory medical steps are required, including eye test and record checks to ensure you do not suffer from conditions that could make driving dangerous
  • Applicants are not required to engage in a CMV driving course, but in most cases, they will be highly recommended by the state

Age

  • Applicants under the age of 18 are not permitted to apply for a CDL
  • Applicants under the age of 21 are not permitted to apply for interstate driving (to and through other states). Applicants in the 18-20 age group can only drive within Nebraska
  • Applicants under the age of 21 are not permitted to apply for the hazmat endorsement

Proof of Residence of Nebraska

  • Applicants require valid ID with the application. It must contain a current a valid home address
  • Applicants also require a valid Social Security Number to prove their right to work in the USA

CDL Requirements for Nebraska Residents

  • When presenting ID for examination with your CDL application, it must have your present address. If you move, you must notify Nebraska DMV before 30 days have passed
  • Your SSN is required to prove your right to work in Nebraska. This means only US citizens and Permanent Residents may apply for a CDL
  • Insurance is required at application, you must bring proof of this
  • TSA screening will be required of you no matter which class you are applying for

Nebraska CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers

Further checks and requirements apply to residents from out of state:

  • Your out of state driver's license must be surrendered and transferred for a Nebraska license
  • This will require only a simple change over should your out of state license expired not more than two years ago
  • You must provide proof of your US citizenship to the DMV in Nebraska
  • Any medical condition that could affect your application must be declared with the application
  • Should you possess exemption paperwork, this too must be presented

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Nebraska CDL

  • Only non-US citizens with legal Permanent Resident status is permitted to apply for a CDL in Nebraska. You will require your Green Card and any other eligible documentation
  • Refugees presently residing in the US with Permanent Resident status should also bring proof of this
  • Eligible Permanent Residents must show the passport issues in their country of birth. Should you also possess a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, this too will help your application
  • If you still have a current driver's license from your home country, you should supply this as part of your CDL application. Nebraska DMV may require its surrender while you remain in the US
  • Permanent Residents are not permitted to apply for the hazmat endorsement

Do I Need a CDL?

Only US citizens and legal Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders) may apply for a CDL in Nebraska. Retiring military personnel with less than 90 days service and those who have retired within the last 12 months may apply for a waiver under a scheme called "Troops to Trucks". You will not be required to take the practical part of the CDL examination process. However, you must pass the written test and any required endorsement sections. In some cases, retirees from other areas of public services could be eligible.

Any pending or current driving convictions could mean disqualification of your application. Typically, you can expect refusal if you have DUI convictions (applying to both alcohol and controlled substances), any speeding convictions, or leaving an accident scene of which you are a part. Any rejection or cancelation of you license could lead to rejection of your CDL application.

There are other CDL waivers which include:

  • Eligible drivers of small volume hazmat vehicle
  • In a situation where an authorized peace officer is authorized to request any person drive a CMV during an emergency
  • In a situation where an authorized peace officer is authorized to request any person drive emergency clearing equipment following such events as landslide, tornado etc
  • Eligible drivers of recreational vehicles
  • Eligible agricultural workers operating equipment within a radius of 150 miles of their farm or ranch
  • Eligible drivers of public service equipment such as firefighting vehicles, ambulances, police drivers and medical transportation

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

  • All applicants must submit to the mandatory medical testing. This process includes an eye test and a record check to determine whether or not you suffer from potentially dangerous medical conditions
  • Once complete to the satisfaction of the medical examiner, the applicant will receive two reports: a Medical Examination Report Form and a Medical Examiner's Certificate
  • Both are required in the CDL application process and should be submitted to the relevant DMV office
  • At this stage, the applicant should state whether they require interstate or intrastate CDL privileges. See above for age restrictions
  • You will then receive a Federal Medical Card
  • In some cases, the applicant may fail medical testing and checks. If so, this is not the end of the process. You may be eligible for CDL restrictions
  • It is normal for the employer to pay the cost of the CDL application. If this is the case with your application, speak to the relevant workplace contact

Background Check for CDL Applicants

Only US Citizens and Permanent Residents may apply for a CDL. TSA screening is mandatory in all cases. Further checks including fingerprint testing are required of applicants seeking hazmat privilege. Only US Citizens may apply for the hazmat endorsement. Should you revoke your citizenship, you will automatically lose hazmat privileges.

CDL Testing in Nebraska

All steps already discussed must have been completed before the applicant is permitted to enter for the Knowledge Test and Driving Skills exam.

CDL Knowledge Test

This is a multiple choice exam consisting of 50 questions. If the applicant is also applying for one of Nebraska's endorsements, they will also be expected to complete a further 20 multiple choice sections per endorsement.

CDL Road Skills Tests

The applicant must pass the Knowledge Test before being allowed onto the road for the Road Skills examination.

  • The examining officer will check the vehicle's eligibility and safety, ensuring it is the right type of vehicle for the class
  • Once this is complete, the examining officer will require the applicant to demonstrate that they understand how to adjust the vehicle's interior controls
  • Then the Road Skills Test will begin in which the applicant should demonstrate their awareness of normal road conditions and ability to adapt

Nebraska CDL Office Locations

In Nebraska, there is a dedicated Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Their offices are as follows:

  • Adams County Treasurer
    500 West 4th Street, Room 106
    Hastings, NE 68901-2067
    (402) 461-7124
  • Buffalo County Treasurer
    1512 Central Avenue
    PO Box 1270
    Kearney, NE 68848
    (308) 236-1250
  • Cherry County Courthouse
    365 N Main St
    Valentine, NE 69201
    (402) 376-1580
  • Dakota County Courthouse
    1601 Broadway
    Dakota City, NE 68731
    (402) 494-8260
  • Dawes County Courthouse
    451 Main Street
    PO Box 790
    Chadron, NE 69337
    (308) 432-0105
  • Dawson County Courthouse
    700 N Washington
    Lexington, NE 68850
    (308) 324-5466
  • Dodge County Courthouse
    435 N Park
    Fremont, NE 68025
    (402) 727-2902
  • Douglas County
    7414 N 30th St
    Omaha, NE 68112
    (402) 595-2040
  • Fillmore County Courthouse
    900 G St
    Geneva, NE 68361
    (402) 759-3492
  • Gage County Courthouse
    612 Grant St
    Beatrice, NE 68310
    (402) 223-1350
  • Hall County
    121 S Pine
    Grand Island, NE 68801
    (308) 385-5047
  • Holt County: Cubby's
    204 E Hwy 20 (Meeting Room)
    O'Neill, NE 68763
    (402) 336-1864
  • Lancaster County
    500 West "O" St
    Lincoln, NE 68528
    (402) 471-2823
  • Lincoln County
    311 N Vine St, Suite 1
    North Platte, NE 69101
    (308) 535-8326
  • Madison County Courthouse
    1313 N Main St
    Madison, NE 68748~
    (402) 454-3311 ext 131
  • Otoe County Courthouse
    1021 Central Ave
    Nebraska City, NE 68410
    (402) 873-4944
  • Phelps Ag. Center
    1308 2nd St, East Rm
    Holdrege, NE 68949
    (308) 995-8103
  • Platte County Courthouse
    2610 14th St
    Columbus, NE 68601
    (402) 563-4907
  • Red Willow County Courthouse
    502 Norris Ave
    McCook, NE 69001
    (308) 345-4139
  • Saunders County Courthouse
    433 N Chestnut
    Wahoo, NE 68066
    (402) 443-4970
  • Scotts Bluff County
    Administration Bldg
    1825 10th St
    Gering, NE 69341
    (308) 436-6597
  • York County Courthouse
    510 Lincoln Ave
    York, NE 68467
    (402) 362-3471

Nebraska CDL Endorsements

Nebraska Secretary of State permits the following endorsements for CDLs issued in the state:

  • Hazardous material vehicle (H)
  • Tank vehicle (N)
  • Passenger transport (P)
  • School bus (S)
  • Double/triple (T)
  • Combination Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials (X)

Nebraska CDL Disqualifications

There are higher driving expectations for CDL holders compared to regular license holders. CDL holders will incur higher punishments for equivalent infractions. An automatic 12-month driving suspension (minimum) will apply to any first offense from the below list. Second offenses will lead to a life suspension. Should any below first offense take place while driving a hazmat vehicle, an immediate three-year disqualification applies. If the CDL holder uses any CMV for the transportation or sale of controled substances, an immediate lifelong suspension applies. In some cases, Nebraska courts are at liberty to impose further penalties, fines and license restrictions.

  • Where an official alcohol blood or breath test records 0.04% or above when the driver is operating a CMV
  • Where an official alcohol blood or breath test records 0.08% or above when the driver is operating a non-CMV motorized vehicle
  • When a law officer requests the driver submit to a breath or blood test and the driver refuses
  • The CMV driver fails to report an accident where they are involved
  • The CMV driver fails to stop at an accident where they are involved
  • The CMV driver causes a fatality at an accident where they are involved, caused through negligent driving
  • The CMV driver uses a CMV for non-vehicle related crime
  • The CMV driver's CDL privileges are suspended, canceled or revoked for any reason but continues to drive this type of vehicle

Where instructed to take a breath or blood test for alcohol, should the test register a result below.04%, the driver will receive a 24-hour suspension.

Small penalties apply to the below list which are minor infractions. For a first offense, the license holder will incur no penalty. Where a second offence occurs, the license holder will receive a suspension of 60-days. A 120-day suspension will be imposed for a third offense:

  • Driving at more than 15mph over the limit on any given road
  • Erratic, dangerous or reckless driving not leading to an accident
  • Erratic maneuvering such as dangerous execution of a lane change
  • Failing to maintain adequate distance to vehicles in front and putting other road users at risk
  • Any other failure to obey Nebraska driving laws that apply to CMVs
  • Driving any CDL class vehicle but not having CDL privileges
  • Driving a higher class of CMV vehicle than the CDL permits
  • Not possessing the correct endorsements for your CMV
  • Failing to carry your CDL documents during CMV operation

A different set of penalties applies to Out of Service Orders. This is where a vehicle is classed as unsafe to drive. Repairs must be completed before the vehicle is permitted back on the road. Any CDL holder guilty of violating OOS a first time will incur a 90-day disqualification penalty. Should the driver be guilty of a second OOS violation, they will incur a disqualification of ten years. If the vehicle is designated hazmat, it is a ban anything between 3 and 10 years.

Railroad violations are a 60-day suspension in the case of a first offense and a 120-day suspension in the case of a second offense. Third railroad offenses lead to a minimum of a 12-month ban:

  • For junctions where drivers are not always required to stop, failing to slow enough to check that the tracks are clear (on the tracks and the road ahead)
  • For junctions where drivers are not always required to stop, failing to stop when the passage ahead is not clear - either a train on the track or traffic on the other side of the junction
  • If the junction has a stop sign, all drivers must stop even when the tracks and road ahead are clear
  • All drivers must ensure that the road ahead has sufficient space to drive fully through within stopping on the tracks
  • Where technology or traffic officers are present, all instructions must be obeyed
  • Where the CMV does not have sufficient undercarriage clearance to pass through the junction

Nebraska CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a body of the Federal government for monitoring working trends, pay and growth. Every few years BLS publishes a report to update this information. The most recent report was in May 2017 based on the analysis of 2016 data. According to that report, commercial driving expects a 5% increase in the decade 2014-2024 inclusive. The average job growth incorporating all industries is 7% at present. Commercial driving is slower on average compared to others.

Heavy Trucks

Jobs involving haulage using heavy trucks are responsible for transporting goods across the country. It is higher paid than most other driving jobs due to unsociable hours and distances required. The average pay for heavy trucking in the US is $41,340 for salary paid employees, and $19.87 for hourly paid. Those at the lowest end of the salary scale earn around $26,920 whereas those at the highest end of the scale earn around $63,140. Averages in Nebraska are slightly higher than the national picture at $42,590 as a salary, and $18.90 (median) and $20.48 (mean) for hourly rates.

Light Trucks

Employees in light trucking jobs transport goods a short distance often on standard working hours and rarely work long distance. The national growth for this type of role is presently 4%. The reason for this low growth is largely explained through technology making the job more efficient. Pay for light truck roles is $34,790 salary at present and $16.73 for those paid hourly. In Nebraska, employees in the light truck industry earn an average of $33,800 as a salary, or for hourly paid employees the averages are $14.21 (median) and $16.25 (mean).

Passenger Vehicles

Driving public passenger vehicles is a relatively stable job role. Applicants for bus driving roles require a Class C license. Nationally, the expected growth is a 6% increase in the period 2014-2024. The national average salary is $31,920 and the national average hourly pay is $14.96. In Nebraska, these averages are $35,060 as an average salary and respective hourly averages of $16.86 for both the median and the mean averages.

BLS Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ne.htm

Resources for Nebraska CDL Requirements

Learn more about Nebraska trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in Nebraska

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
Nebraska $30,780 $50,310 $40,350
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA $30,640 $47,140 $37,730

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)