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Commercial Driver Skills Test

PennDOT has phased in requirements for the 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.  
 

Beginning August 28, 2023, PennDOT will begin administering a new Modernized Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Skills Test to all CDL applicants at branch offices statewide and third-party testing programs.

Prospective applicants scheduled to take the test after August 28, 2023 are encouraged to review the below updated materials.

Vehicle Inspection (PDF)

Basic Controls Skills Test (backing maneuvers) (PDF)

On the Road Skills Test (PDF)

Any current CDL holders who have a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) to remove the air brake restriction only will be required to conduct the full vehicle inspection and complete on-road segments of the CDST to remove the air brake restriction.

 

Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT)

Effective February 7, 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established federal regulations requiring entry-level drivers to complete entry level driver training (ELDT) when they are seeking a Class A or B Commercial Driver License (CDL) for the first time, upgrading to a Class A or B CDL or obtaining a passenger (P), school bus (S) or a hazardous material (H) endorsement for the first time. FMCSA’s Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations set the baseline for minimum training requirements for entry-level drivers.
 
Entry-level driver applicants must obtain training from a training provider listed on the Training Provider Registry (TPR).  The training requirements are not retroactive and do not apply to individuals holding a valid CDL or an H, P, or S endorsement issued prior to February 7, 2022.  Individuals who passed required knowledge tests and obtained a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) before the compliance date of February 7, 2022 are also not subject to ELDT requirements as long as they obtain a CDL before the expiration date of the CLP or renewed CLP.  Customers who applied for a Pennsylvania Knowledge Test Authorizations (KTA) that did not successfully complete required core knowledge testing prior to February 7, 2022, are subject to and must comply with ELDT requirements. 

Any individual who meets one of the exceptions for taking a skills test in 49 CFR Part 383Opens In A New Window is also exempt from the ELDT requirements.
 
For the most updated information regarding ELDT federal regulations, please visit the FMCSA websiteOpens In A New Window.  The information above is subject to change based on guidance from the FMCSA or any amendment to the federal rules and regulations.

For a complete list of federal requirements, visit the FMCSA’s ELDT main pageOpens In A New Window for details.

For organizations that train entry-level CDL drivers, see the Entry-Level Driver Training Rule Implementation ChecklistOpens In A New Window.

For more information regarding required training, visit the FMCSA’s ELDT Curriculum SummaryOpens In A New Window.


Act 49 Changes Affecting CDL License and Permit Holders

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​ 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.