New Mexico CDL Requirements

Beginning life as New Spain following the conquest of the New World, New Mexico would change changes between Spain and Mexico before becoming a US Territory and then one of the modern 50 states. Admitted as the 47th state in 1912 and therefore a relative latecomer, it is one of the most extensive states in terms of size - the 5th largest by area - but only 36th in terms of population size. It's one of the border states of Mexico, which lies to its southwest. To the west is Arizona with which it shares part of the Mexican border. Texas is to the east and south with a small portion of Oklahoma border to the northeast. Colorado lies to the north. New Mexico is considered one of the mountain states although its topography varies between open desert, flat-topped mesas and snow-capped peaks. It's home to some famous archaeological and natural wonders including Chaco Canyon, the Rio Grande and six national forests.

Which CDL Licenses are Available in New Mexico?

Federal regulations determine criteria for who may or may not drive certain types of vehicle. States are permitted to determine their own system of classification. New Mexico's license system has some differences compared to other states.

Class A CDL

Vehicles classified as the heaviest (weighing in at over 26,000lb) designed for towing the heaviest types of trailer (weighing in at over 10,000lb) are Class A vehicles

Class B CDL

Vehicles classified as the heaviest (weighing in at over 26,000lb) designed for towing lighters types of trailer (weighing in at under 10,000lb) are Class B vehicles

Class C CDL

Smaller transportation vehicles (weighing in at under 26,000lb), passenger transport vehicles designated for 16 persons or more and hazmat vehicles require Class C

Class D

Before any driver is permitted to apply for Class A-C CDL license in New Mexico, he or she must hold Class D license. This is for all other types of vehicle weighing 26,000lb or lower

All drivers must hold a valid and current Class D license for consideration of their CDL application. It must be free of convictions or penalties for a period of two years prior. All drivers must submit to TSA checking and medical examination.

CDL Eligibility in New Mexico

The Federal law known as Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act imposes universal standards regarding commercial licensing. The state will also consider local needs on licensing, but are required to remain within Federal regulations on classes, driving requirements and law.

License and Permits

  • All applicants must hold a Class D at the time of application. Refusal will result should the applicant have pending or current motoring convictions on any license for the two year period prior to application
  • Medical testing is required of all applicants. This will consist of a medical records check and eye tests to ensure your safety on the roads
  • You will find there are many third-party organizations offering CMV driver training courses. You are not required to study such a course, but most prospective CDL holders should do so

Age Restrictions

  • The minimum age for a CDL applicant is 18
  • The minimum age to drive a hazmat vehicle is 21
  • 18-20-year-olds may only drive intrastate (within New Mexico). A minimum age of 21 applies to interstate driving

Proof of Residence of New Mexico

  • Applicants for all classes must provide valid ID with their address details. This must be up to date
  • All applicants must provide their Social Security Number

CDL Requirements for New Mexico Residents

  • Address details must be current with any change of address registered within 30 days of the move
  • Your SSN must be provided to demonstrate right to reside and work in the USA
  • You must have sufficient, current and valid insurance
  • TSA screening is mandatory for all classes

New Mexico CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers

New Mexico authorities may require further checks for new residents to the state:

  • If you hold a license from another US state, this must be presented at the application. If it is not more than two years out of date, only a simple exchange is required
  • All US citizen must prove their status
  • You are legally required to declare any medical condition that may impinge your driving
  • If you have previously declared this in another state and hold restrictions, please present the New Mexico MVD with this information

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for New Mexico CDL

  • Non-citizens are permitted to apply for a CDL but only those who hold Permanent Resident status. You will require your Green Card with the application
  • Any refugee paperwork you presently hold should be presented at this time
  • The passport from your country of birth is also required, as it any Consular Report of Birth Abroad documentation
  • Any driver's license you hold from the country of your birth must be presented. Its permanent surrender may be requested when completing the CDL application process
  • Hazmat applications are for US citizens only

Do I Need a CDL?

There is presently a government scheme in place allowing recently retired (no more than one year) or retiring (no less than 90 days away) military personnel to become a CMV driver. This fast track system permits relevant personnel to bypass the driving skills test; the written test is still a required step. Applicants will require their military ID card and documentation from their unit such as a Certificate of Driving Experience from the CO. A Certificate of Release will be required to prove eligibility.

Any applicant with present convictions or pending cases for speeding, DUI (covering both drugs and alcohol), and leaving an accident will find their application is rejected. If the applicant had previously been subject to rejection, refusal or cancelation of their license, the present CDL application will also be refused.

There are several other categories and conditions under which a driver will not need a CDL:

  • Where a hazmat vehicle is designated small volume
  • In a situation where an authorized peace officer has the power to instruct any person to operate a CMV during an emergency
  • In a situation where any authorized person has the power to instruct any person to operate an emergency clearing vehicle
  • Recreational vehicle drivers do not need a CDL
  • Any person able and authorized to drive agricultural machinery, so long as they are not more than 150 miles from their workplace
  • Qualified police drivers, firefighters, ambulance drivers and any other relevant public service vehicle

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

  • Medical checks are mandatory including eye test and medical records check. It is necessary to assess your safety and good health
  • Two documents will be transferred to your possession once the medical step is complete. These are a Medical Examination Report Form and a Medical Examiner's Certificate. The CDL office will require these to issue your Federal Medical Card
  • The driver will need to explain whether they require intrastate or interstate driving. Proof of age will be required for the latter
  • Applicants who do not successfully complete the medical checks may be eligible for certain restrictions
  • It is usually the case that the employers pay for the CDL application. Any queries should first go to the employee's contact

Background Check for CDL Applicants

Only US citizens and foreign-born residents with Permanent Resident status in the US are permitted to apply for a CDL. All applicants are required to complete TSA screening. Hazmat privileges are for US citizens only and they will be required to undergo fingerprint checking.

CDL Testing in New Mexico

All previously discussed steps must be completed before the applicant may proceed to test.

CDL Knowledge Test

This is the first step in the testing process and consists of 50 multiple-choice questions testing the applicant's knowledge of New Mexico and Federal driving regulations and laws. If the applicant is seeking endorsements for their class of license, they will be expected to complete a further 20 multiple-choice questions for each endorsement.

CDL Road Skills Tests

When the applicant has correctly answered a minimum number of questions, permission to advance to the road skills test is then granted.

  • The examiner must ensure the vehicle is suitable for the CDL class and roadworthy before the test begins
  • The applicant must then demonstrate understanding and control of interior adjustable features
  • The Road Skills Test will then commence, during which the applicant must demonstrate understanding of normal conditions and laws in practice

New Mexico CDL Office Locations

The New Mexico Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC) operates CDL services from the following locations.

In Albuquerque

  • First Financial CU (Title Services)
    601 Tijeras NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87102
    (505) 766-5600
  • Metro Court MVD
    801 4th Street NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87102
    (505) 764-6650
  • Albuquerque-Kirtland AFB
    1451 Fourth Ave. Kirtland AFB Building #20245
    Albuquerque, NM 87117
    (505) 846-8390
  • In & Out MVD Services
    909 Bridge SW Ste. B
    Albuquerque, NM 87105
    (505) 842-1000
  • Busy Bee MVD
    1205 Coors Rd SW
    Albuquerque, NM 87121
    (505) 242-0288
  • In & Out MVD Services
    110 Coors Blvd NW Ste. D
    Albuquerque, NM 87121
    (505) 831-6800

In Clovis

  • Clovis MVD
    814 W. Sixth St.
    Clovis, NM 88101
    (575) 762-3732
  • National Truck Services Group
    2300 Main St Ste 7
    Clovis, NM 88101
    (800) 466-5999
  • Roadrunner Title Services
    2905 N Prince St D1
    Clovis, NM 88101
    (575) 935-7787
  • Clovis-Complete Compliance Services
    5307 N. Prince St.
    Clovis, NM 88101
    (505) 762-3077
  • Portales MVD
    1410 S. Avenue O
    Portales, NM 88130
    (575) 356-8711
  • First Financial CU (Title Services)
    700 W 2nd St
    Portales, NM 88130
    (505) 462-1601

In Espanola

  • Quick MVD Services
    628 N Riverside Drive Ste D
    Espanola, NM 87532
    (505) 747-4926
  • Espanola MVD
    1121 Santa Clara Peak Road
    Espanola, NM 87532
    (505) 753-4681
  • Los Alamos MVD
    997 Central Ave.
    Los Alamos, NM 87544
    (505) 662-4243

In Farmington

  • Farmington MVD
    3501 E. Main St. #N
    Farmington, NM 87402
    (505) 599-9712
  • First Financial CU (Car Title Services)
    4919 E Main St Ste 103
    Farmington, NM 87401
    (505) 766-5600
  • Complete Compliance Services LLC
    540 CR 350
    Farmington, NM 87401
    (505) 632-2159
  • Blue Sky VIN Inspections
    119A CR 3566
    Flora Vista, NM 87415
    (505) 486-5797

In Gallup

  • Gallup MVD
    1710 E. Aztec Ave.
    Gallup, NM 87301
    (505) 863-3847
  • First Financial CU (Title Services)
    1383 N Hwy 491
    Gallup, NM 87301
    (505) 462-1601
  • Grants MVD
    1016 Nimitz Ave.
    Grants, NM 87020
    (505) 287-8892

In Hobbs

  • Hobbs CDL Office
    300 N. Turner
    Hobbs, NM 88240
    (575) 397-9213
  • Hobbs MVD
    4800 Jack Gomez Blvd.
    Hobbs, NM 88240
    (575) 397-9213
  • Eunice MVD
    1101 Ave. J
    Eunice, NM 88231
    (575) 394-3232 ext.108
  • Lovington MVD
    1211 S. Main
    Lovington, NM 88260
    (575) 396-5358
  • Tatum MVD
    122 E. Broadway
    Tatum, NM 88267
    (575) 398-2478

In Las Cruces

  • Las Cruces MVD
    505 S. Main St., Suite 357
    Las Cruces, NM 88001
    (575) 524-6215
  • Coronado Finance (Title Service)
    1475 N Main Ste C
    Las Cruces, NM 88001
    (575) 523-5647
  • Alamo MVD
    225 E Idaho Ave, Suite 3
    Las Cruces, NM 88005
    (575) 523-4683
  • Las Cruces MVD Express
    3961 East Lohman Suite 20
    Las Cruces, NM 88011
    (575) 373-1367
  • Las Cruces Del Rey MVD
    3291 Del Rey Blvd. Suite 10
    Las Cruces Del Rey, NM 88012
    (575) 647-2044

In Rio Ranch

  • Rio Rancho MVD Express
    4000 Southern Blvd SE Suite 103
    Albuquerque, NM 87120
    (505) 340-3520
  • Rio Rancho MVD
    4114 Sabana Grande
    Rio Rancho, NM 87124
    (505) 891-5014
  • Albuquerque MVD Express
    3410 Highway 528 Suite 112
    Albuquerque, NM 87114
    (505) 796-5679
  • Albuquerque MVD Now
    10660 Unser Blvd NW Albuquerque
    Albuquerque, NM 87114
    (505) 897-4683
  • AAA New Mexico (MVD Services Offered to Members Only)
    9231 Coors NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87114
    (505) 792-1938
  • Albuquerque-Express Office
    6271 Riverside Plaza Lane N.W. Suite A
    Albuquerque, NM 87120
    (505) 792-5020

In Roswell

  • DMV Title Service Express
    1707 SE Main St
    Roswell, NM 88203
    (575) 622-5213
  • Roswell MVD
    200 E. Wilshire Blvd.
    Roswell, NM 88201
    (575) 624-6062
  • Alamo MVD
    104 E Linda Vista, Suite A
    Roswell, NM 88201
    (575) 623-9233
  • Dexter MVD Field Office
    204 E. Second
    Dexter, NM 88230
    (575) 734-0042
  • Artesia MVD
    602 S. First St.
    Artesia, NM 88210
    (575) 746-1323

In Santa Fe

  • Santa Fe-Express Office
    850 St. Michaels Drive
    Santa Fe, NM 87505
    (505) 474-0337
  • AAA New Mexico (MVD Services Offered to Members Only)
    3517 Zafarano Dr
    Santa Fe, NM 87507
    (505) 471-6620
  • Santa Fe MVD
    2546 Camino Entrada
    Santa Fe, NM 87507
    (505) 476-1599
  • Pecos MVD
    Highway 63 Municipal Building
    Pecos, NM 87552
    (505) 757-6591

New Mexico CDL Endorsements

The following CDL endorsements are available in New Mexico:

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

New Mexico CDL Disqualifications

Due to higher driving standards expected of CDL holder, higher penalties will apply to driving related convictions. The list below is of serious offenses. Each conviction results in a penalty of a 12-month suspension. Any subsequent second offense results in a life suspension of your CDL. If any of the below offenses took place in a hazmat vehicle, you will receive a suspension between 3 and 10 years. Any CDL holder who uses their CMV to transport, distribute or sell controled substances will receive an immediate life suspension. State courts may impose further penalties on top of this.

  • Where instructed to take a blood or breath test for alcohol while driving a CMV, the reading comes back at .04% or higher
  • Where instructed to take a blood or breath test for alcohol while driving any other type of vehicles, the reading comes back at .08% or higher
  • The driver refuses to take a breath or blood sample for alcohol testing when directed by an officer of the law
  • The failure to report any road accident that the CDL driver has caused
  • The failure to stop any road accident that the CDL is involved
  • Dangerous or negligent driving that leads to a fatality
  • The use of a commercial vehicle in any crime not related to vehicle crime
  • When the driver has had CDL privileges removed through cancelation, revocation or suspension and continues to drive their CMV

If the driver is instructed to take a blood or breath alcohol test and the result comes back lower than.04%, he or she will be subject to a 24-hour suspension only.

New Mexico holds a number of lesser offences that come with smaller penalties.Each of the below-listed infractions incurs a 60-day suspension following a second offense that takes place within three years of the first. Should the driver break a third in the same three-year period, he or she will receive a 120-day suspension. There is no penalty for a first offense:

  • Speeding where the driver is recorded at traveling greater than 15mph above the road's speed limit
  • Driving deemed erratic or dangerous
  • Erratic maneuveres including ignoring road instructions on passing and dangerous and improper lane changing
  • The vehicle drives too close to other vehicles in front. This is typically known as "tail gating"
  • Other instances of dangerous driving not listed here
  • Operating any vehicle requiring a CDL but not possessing that type of license
  • Driving a vehicle class higher than the CDL privileges you presently hold (drivers with a Class B license may not drive Class A)
  • Driving a CDL class vehicle requiring endorsements and failing to possess them on your license
  • Driving a CDL class vehicle while not possessing CDL documentation

Vehicles are occasionally subject to orders removing them from active service for repairs and safety checks. This is called Out of Service (OOS) order. When an OOS is imposed on the vehicle, the driver may not use the vehicle in the course of their work until repairs and checks are complete. Once the order is lifted, the driver can resume service. Using the vehicle while it is subject to an OOS will result in a disqualification of 90 days. Any second OOS violation is a disqualification of ten years. Violation of an OOS while driving a hazmat vehicle Is a ban of 3-10 years.

Railroads violations are separate from above and have their own criteria and disqualifications. A 60-day suspension is applied to any first offense. A 120-day suspension is applied to any second offense. If the driver commits a third offense, a year-long ban is imposed:

  • Failing to slow enough to check the tracks are clear at junctions where the driver is not required to stop
  • Failing to stop when the tracks are not clear at junctions where the driver is not required to stop
  • Failing to stop when the tracks are not clear at junctions where the driver is always required to stop, even when the tracks and road ahead are clear
  • If the tracks and road ahead are not clear, the driver is required to always stop, even at junctions where normally not required to do so
  • Failing to obey given instructions of a traffic officer or traffic control technology at any junction
  • Failing to ensure that the vehicle has sufficient undercarriage clearance before passing through a junction

New Jersey CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

Every few years, the Federal government body responsible for monitoring employment data (Bureau of Labor Statistics) releases a new set of data. It presents the state of each industry included skills shortage and growth areas. The most recent data set was released in May 2017. It highlighted that commercial driving should grow around 5% between the years 2014 and 2024. The accumulated average of all jobs in the US is presently 7%. This means that jobs requiring a CDL are experiencing lower than normal growth.

Heavy Trucks

Drivers of heavy trucks are responsible for the major haulage across the country and into Mexico, Canada and beyond. This means long distance and long hours, time away from their main home. Drivers in this category experience some of the highest commercial driving salaries. BLS data from May 2017 demonstrated a national average pay of $41,340 (salary) and $19.87 (per hour). The lowest 10% pay range was $26,920 and the highest 10% range was $63,140. Pay in New Mexico for heavy truck driving is slightly above the averages at $42,610 (salary) and $19.02 (median) and $20.49 (mean).

Light Trucks

While heavy trucks are responsible for cross-country driving, light truck driving primarily serves a local area - in big cities and rurally - for short distance delivery. Pay in this area is lower on average, more closely in line with typical office hours. Growth in the decade 2014-2024 is slow at 4%. Reasons include new technology driving efficiency such as GPS reducing the number and need for delivery drivers. Pay averages nationally are $34,790 (salary) and $16.73 (hourly). Pay is lower in the state of New Mexico at $33,050 (salary) and $14.38 (median) and $15.89 (mean).

Passenger Vehicles

Public transportation will always have a demand for CMV drivers. Drivers for this class require CMV Class C. Demand for this role is expected to grow around 6% between 2014 and 2024 with a salary of $31,920 and hourly pay averages of $14.96. In New Mexico, public transport drivers earn considerably less than residents in other states. The averages are a salary of $23,270 and $10.37 (median hourly) and $11.19 (mean hourly).

BLS Source:

Resources for New Mexico CDL Requirements

Learn more about New Mexico trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in New Mexico

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
New Mexico $31,060 $47,370 $37,820
Albuquerque, NM $31,620 $45,850 $37,900
Farmington, NM $32,340 $45,870 $38,280
Las Cruces, NM $23,960 $30,870 $27,460
Santa Fe, NM $22,240 $30,850 $24,870

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (