New York CDL Requirements
The major transportation hub on the eastern seaboard is New York City. From Albany to Buffalo, and Montauk to Canada, truck drivers in New York State perform an important role for the nation's economy. Through the Catskills through New York City, driving in New York presents a significant challenge, however well trained and professional CDL drivers make those challenges look easy. Winter driving throughout the state can present problems, especially in infamous Buffalo, however oftentimes the state's beautiful fall foliage makes up for winter's grim driving struggles. With more than 1,500 miles of interstate routing throughout the state, prepare yourself for miles of adventure. Read more about how to become a New York CDL driver.
What CDL Licenses are Available in New York?
Due in no small part to the constraints of owning and operating a vehicle in New York City, New York State has amended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) nationwide minimum legislation of vehicle classes. In addition to CDL Classes A, B, and C, the state has a non-commercial C Class, as well as D and E class licensing available to interested parties. New York State's regulations for operating a vehicle on a CDL are consistent with the rest of the country, which means that interstate drivers from New York and beyond are able to drive with no real adjustments between the states.
CDL Class A
Class A CDL licenses in New York require the driver to be certified in manoeuvring a vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds with the pulled portion (trailer) weighing 10,000+ pounds. For truckers that choose to build their profession driving interstate routes, CDL Class A certifications are common. Once licensed, the driver can also operate Class B, C, D and E vehicles as long as no additional restrictions or endorsements apply.
CDL Class B
Class B CDL license-holders in New York State mean that the driver must be adept at operating a vehicle where the total weight is 26,000+ pounds, and the towed portion (if any) is less than 10,000 pounds. While Class B CDL vehicles are often classified as 'single' vehicles, there may be a towed portion depending on the industry that the vehicle is used for. Class B vehicles may tow a trailer where weighing less than 10,000 pounds, or ensure that between the tractor and the trailer, the total combined weight is less than 26,000 pounds. Class B operators are welcome to drive Class C, D, and E vehicles as long as no other restrictions apply and no additional endorsements are required.
CDL Class C
Class C vehicles are classified as a 'single' unit like a truck or a bus that is designed to transport 15+ passengers, falls under Article 19-A, or transports materials that are considered 'hazardous' and must be placarded as such. Additionally, Class C vehicles may tow a hind portion as long as the complete vehicle weight does not exceed 26,000 pounds. Under Article 19-A in New York state, CDL Class C drivers must:
- Complete a pre-employment medical examination, updated every 2 years
- Submit a per-employment summative Document
- Complete a road test every other year
- Complete knowledge testing every other year
- Complete an annual audit of defensive driving skill
- Submit to an annual driver's license check
- Have a fingerprint background and criminal history check through the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Non-CDL Class C
The non-commercial Class C license includes single vehicles such as farm vehicles that weigh less than 26,000 pounds. As is frequently the case, the vehicle in question may tow a trailer that is less than 10,000 pounds. Alternatively, the trailer may exceed this weight as long as the total of both portions do not exceed 26,000 pounds.
Class D License
In New York, all citizens become eligible for Class D license testing, learner's permit and license as early as age 17. Drivers can use a variety of personal vehicles, such as vans, oversized vans, cars, light trucks and SUVs, and perhaps for jobs such as pizza delivery. The Class D license forms the basis of further professional driving as it tests all drivers' basic knowledge of road signage, vehicle operation, and environmental conditions.
Class E License
Specific to New York City, Class E licensure is specifically for NYC taxi drivers, limo drivers, and livery drivers that operate in the city. Applicants must be 18 years or older, and already possess a D license. Vehicles must weigh less than 26,000 pounds and designed for hire in order to transport less than 14 passengers. Vehicles that fall under Article 19-A are not eligible. Class E vehicles may tow, but the trailer must weigh less than 10,000 pounds, the combined portions must total less than 26,000 pounds.
CDL Eligibility in New York
During the 1980s, change from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) made its way throughout the country, including the state of New York. Due to the partnership between New York City and New York State, the state's regulators strive to exceed the federal minimum standards in order to ensure the safety of motorists who live or visit the state. Any CDL trucker that visits or resides in New York must follow state regulations.
Having a suspended or revoked Class D or Class E license may affect a candidate's eligibility for CDL.
License and Permits
Bring your New York State driver's license for Classes D, E, or non-CDL C t the nearest DMV office, where you can arrange for the written test of knowledge. Application fees are due at this time or payable ahead of time online.
CDL drivers must be 21 years of age or older to drive classes A, B, and C in the state of New York. This is slightly different from the majority of other states, where Class B and C vehicles can be driven by those individuals age 18 or older, but presents no conflict to drivers who visit from out of state. Generally Class B and C vehicles don't travel out of state anyway.
Proof of Residence in New York
Applying for the first time for an NY state CDL means you must affirm that you have lawful domicile within the state. You must report every state where you held a driver's license over the preceding 10 years.
CDL Requirements for New York Residents
- Current D, E, or non-CDL C class driver's license
- Original Social Security information
- Minimum 6 original proofs of identity with current address. All proofs options are found on form ID-44CDL. Please note that P.O. Boxes are not considered valid for proofs.
- Disclosure of other states you have held a driver's license in during the last 10 years
- Federal medical examination certificate
New York CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers
Applying for the first time for an NY state CDL means you must attest to all the states that you have resided in over the past decade. Please note that these claims require original documentation that matches with your record from the Proofs of Identity chart that accompanies Form ID-44CDL. Following this, you must confirm your domicile is now New York State and provide additional original proofs of identity.
Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for New York CDL
Not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and New York state? People from other countries who are in the United States as temporary visitors can be issued a CDL that is marked as ‘Non-Domiciled' or ‘Temporary Visitor', along with the date at which it expires. In addition to the proofs of identity documentation, you may be required to bring the following:
- Birth certificate
- Current immigration paperwork
Please make all documents available with a certified English transliteration.
Do I Need a CDL?
As a member of the military or retiree, you may be eligible to waive the NY CDL driving test if you meet the criteria and the timeline, and your commanding officer agrees to sign off on your abilities. Depending on your military qualifications and heavy equipment training during recent years of service, you may be able to participate in the accelerated process. Current military personnel or veterans should enquire at their local DMV office for a clear set of directives, as well as to obtain forms and timelines.
Medical and Physical CDL Requirements
Whether or not you need to comply with federal medical requirements depends on your exempted or non-exempted state. Those who drive a commercial vehicle or heavy equipment for the following reasons, either interstate or intrastate are often qualified as exempted and do not need to comply with federal medical requirements, however additional training may be required by the organization in question.
- To transport corpses
- To transport students and staff between home and school
- As a government employee
- To transport people who are sick or injured
- To drive an emergency vehicle during emergencies
- To transport heating fuel during the winter months in the case of an emergency
- In response to a fuel pipeline leak
- In custom agriculture, harvest, or transport (non-combination vehicle; within 150 mi of home location)
- As a beekeeper or apiarist
- To transport farm workers
- To transport individuals in an RV or similar private carrier, non-commercially
- Performing Non-Exempted commercial operations commencing before Sept 9, 1999.
Background Check for CDL Applicants
Some classes of CDL, especially those who transport hazardous materials and waste require a TSA fingerprint background check to be performed and considered ‘satisfactory' in order to carry on with the CDL application process. Your local NYS CDL office will have the appropriate forms and procedures available, and will be able to advise on federal timelines, which do vary.
CDL Testing in New York
NY State CDL applicants must complete a test of knowledge and a practical test - in that order - prior to being issued a CDL. You must pass each test successfully in order to continue with the process. Testing is available throughout the state, including offices in Clinton, the Bronx, Erie, and Genesee. Applicants should make sure that they are on time for each testing appointment, and have payment ready or have prepaid with a receipt to validate their claim. Applicants are also responsible for booking and arriving with the same class of vehicle that they wish to be tested on.
CDL Knowledge Tests
In addition to basic knowledge testing that precedes every practical CDL test, New York CDL drivers can undergo additional testing depending on their professional goals or the mandate of carrier that they work for. CDL drivers may wish to study for and schedule these additional modules, known as endorsements. You must pass the knowledge test in order to be eligible for the next phase of testing.
CDL Skills Tests
Candidates who pass their knowledge testing are eligible - after a brief waiting period - to engage in practical road testing. Candidates must provide or arrange for their own rig of the same CDL class that they are trying for.
New York CDL Office Locations
To learn more about the operating hours and available process at each location please visit - https://dmv.ny.gov/offices. Use the zip code search application to find a local location.
New York CDL Endorsements
The FMCSA has instituted a mandatory ‘endorsement' or additional skills system for truckers. New York State has gone beyond the federal minimum standards in this regard, due to the state's population and geographical diversity.
- Class A Farm Vehicles (F)
- Class B Farm Vehicles (G)
- Hazardous Material (H)
- Metal Coil (M)
- Tank Vehicles (N)
- Passenger Transportation (P)
- RVs weighing 26,000+ lbs (R)
- School Busses (S)
- Doubles/Triples Trailers (T)
- Tow Trucks (W)
- Tanker/Hazardous Materials (X)
- Farm/Hazardous Materials (Z)
Some personal conditions or employers may have restrictions about where you can drive, what vehicles you can drive, or other restrictions. In addition to Class D license restrictions, here are the restrictions that apply specifically to CDL drivers. Restrictions can be applied at any time, and failure to adhere to them can be a punishable offence.
- Medical Certification Exempted (A3)
- No Manual Transmission (E)
- Intrastate Only (K)
- No Airbrake (L)
- No Class A Passenger (M)
- No Class A or B Passenger (N)
- No Vehicle Designed for 15+ Adult Passengers (N1)
- No Vehicle Designed for 8+ Adult Passengers (N2)
- No Tractor/Trailer (O)
- No Tractor/Trailer or Truck over 26,000+ pounds (O1)
- Medical Variance (V)
- No Full Airbrake (Z)
New York CDL Disqualifications
New York, like every state, supports federal regulations as well as upholding additional state laws regarding motor vehicle transport. State police, state troopers, or federal agents can issue a ticket or suspension in situ (at the roadside) or via other means. Caught violating state or federal laws? Look forward to a CDL suspension or revocation in addition to work suspension by your employer - especially if you work for a fleet. We have included some common disqualifications here, but this is not meant to be an exhaustive list:
New York Serious Driving Infractions
- You leave the scene of an accident in which you were involved (under CDL)
- In your commercial vehicle, you commit a felony crime
- You are under the influence - or act as though you are under the influence - of alcohol or other controlled substances
- You refuse roadside alcohol testing
- You have unresolved traffic violations under either your Class D, Class E or commercial license
Careless Driving Infractions
- You drive a commercial vehicle while under CDL suspension
- You drive a commercial vehicle recklessly
- You're caught speeding by more than 15 miles per hour
- You fail to wear your seatbelt
- You do not adhere to railroad crossing laws and applicable level-crossing laws as they affect CDL drivers. Please note that this general statement is intended to encompass various laws as they influence the class of vehicle, endorsements and restrictions of particular drivers.
- You have committed a felony action
- You have outstanding convictions
- You have been deemed a safety risk as per TSA
- You are suspected of committing CDL fraud
- You are in the U.S. - or in the state of New York - illegally
- You have committed CDL fraud
New York CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects
Commercial vehicle driving in New York is projected to climb at a rapid pace as compared to national figures. Those thinking of entering the profession are doing so at a great time!
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that interstate truck driving is trending upward at a rapid rate compared to the rest of the country. Numbers are expected to grow by an estimated +14% throughout the next decade - or by 1,870 jobs per year. Contrary to some expectations, trucking requires excellent skills in a variety of job areas, including time management and critical thinking. CDL truck drivers in New York State earn more than the national average, with about 50% earning $21 per hour or over $40,000 every year.
Economists and industry experts are also anticipating that intrastate truck driving roles will climb by as much as 11% (8% more than national averages) over the upcoming decade. With a projected employment growth figure of more than 1,300 jobs annually, light truck drivers start at about $19,000 per year, and can make over $60,000 per year depending on hours, responsibilities and professional accreditation.
With a challenging set of responsibilities, New York state school bus drivers must command order during transportation while adhering to rigorous safety rules. NY State rewards them well, however, as the median bus driver in the state makes about $37,000 per year, or about $8,000 more than the national average. Annual job openings are projected to increase by 870 jobs per year, or steady
Resources for New York CDL Requirements
Learn more about New York trucking schools.
Truck Driver Salary in New York
|Location||25th Percentile||75th Percentile||Annual Salary|
|Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY||$34,070||$48,610||$40,030|
|Glens Falls, NY||$30,410||$41,350||$35,340|
|Nassau-Suffolk, NY Metropolitan Division||$38,680||$64,970||$49,990|
|New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division||$33,660||$56,690||$43,620|
Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)