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Commercial Driver Skills Test

PennDOT has phased in requirements for Commercial Driver Skills Test (CDST) as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration. PennDOT testing centers began using the new test the week of June 15, 2015.   

Requirements for the three different segments of the test can be found below.  

Any current CDL holders who have a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) to remove the air brake restriction will no longer be required to complete all three test segments of the CDST.  CDL holders will only be required to conduct the vehicle inspection segment of the CDST to remove the airbrake restriction.


Act 49 signed into law October 22, 2015, with an effective date of December 21, 2015, made numerous changes to the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code regarding Commercial Driver’s Licenses, affecting both license and permit holders.  The majority of these changes are in response to changes to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. The more significant changes highlighted in Act 49 are as follows:
-    The annual physical and vision examination requirements for school bus drivers have changed.  The time period for having the examinations completed has been extended from every 12 months to every 13 months.
-    Codes used to describe CDL classifications, endorsements and restrictions have changed as of December 21, 2015.  A listing of the new codes can be found here (PDF).
-    If a driver applicant wants to remove any of the restrictions on their current license, the applicant may not have to retake the complete skills tests. The state may administer a modified test which will include a knowledge test and/or skills test depending on the restriction to be removed.  A chart listing the new requirements for CDL testing can be found below:

​Knowledge Test Vehicle Inspection​ Basic Control Skills​ On-Road Test​
Class B
X​ X​ X​
​Class A
​X ​X ​X ​X
Air Brake/Air over Hydraulic
​X X​
Passenger ​X ​X ​X X​
​School Bus ​X ​X ​X ​X
​Remove C/N ​X ​X ​X
Manual Transmission​ ​X ​X
​No Tractor-Trailer ​X X​ ​X
-    All new CDL applicants and current holders required to renew or make any changes or upgrades to their CDL will need to do so in person.  The FMCSA final rules require license holders to prove citizenship or legal presence in the form of a birth certificate with a raised seal (U.S.-issued by an authorized government agency, including U.S. territories or Puerto Rico), passport, naturalization documents or current immigration documents in-person (Please note that non-U.S. birth certificates will not be accepted.  No other birth documents will be accepted). The requirement to prove citizenship or legal presence for permanent residents and citizens will only need to be done once as a notation will be made on the customer’s record confirming the verification was made and the date it was made.  Once the date of proof has been provided to PennDOT, commercial applications may be submitted through mail service channel. 
-    Residency documents are required initially, at renewal and anytime an address change occurs.  Proof of residency can be accomplished by providing: tax records, lease agreements, mortgage documents, a W-2 Form, current weapons permit, current utility bills (water, gas, electric, cable, etc), a letter from the Department or current Pennsylvania license. 
-    Additionally, if a permit expires or was renewed once and needs to be renewed again, all knowledge tests must be retaken. 
-    Training Permits (a precursor to the learner’s permit) are no longer be issued to school bus drivers.
-    The 15 day training period will be reset any time an endorsement or restriction removal is added to a permit, if it also requires a skills test.  This includes existing CDL holders.
-    A CLP will not be issued to anyone who does not hold a current and valid driver’s license.  Individuals will be required to obtain a non-commercial driver’s license prior to making application for a commercial learner’s permit.