CDL Licensing Information FAQs
NOTE: If you are applying for a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) for the first time, upgrading your existing CDL, or adding an endorsement you must first obtain a Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) by taking a CDL Knowledge Test (written exam). The permit must be held for 14 days before road testing in your commercial vehicle.
1. How do I determine which type of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation I should self-certify to the DDS?
View the CDL Medical Certification and Self-Certification Process for more information.
2. Do all CDL drivers have to complete a self-certification form or only the drivers that operate in interstate commerce?
All CDL holders must complete and submit a self-certification form to the Department of Driver Services.
3. If I completed a self-certification form incorrectly and now have an ‘intrastate commerce’ restriction on my CDL license what do I need to do to get the restriction removed?
You will have to visit a DDS Customer Service Center to complete a new self-certification form and be issued a new CDL license without the restriction.
4. What should I do with the medical examiner’s certificate?
Provide the medical examiner’s certificate to DDS and your employer within 15 days after issuance. Your medical examiner’s certificate will be recorded on your driving record. It will become the valid version of your medical certification.
5. What should I do to make my medical certification part of my CDL driving record?
You will be able to make your medical certification a part of your CDL driving record when you:
- Apply for a CDL
- Renew a CDL
- Apply for a higher class of CDL
- Apply for a new endorsement on a CDL
- Transfer a CDL from another State
You will be required to self-certify to a single type of commercial operation on your driver's license application form. Based on that self-certification, you may need to provide DDS with a current medical examiner’s certificate and show any variance you may have to obtain or keep your CDL.
6. After I provide DDS with my unexpired medical examiner’s certificate, do I still have to carry an original or copy of my medical examiner’s certificate?
Yes. DDS encourages CDL drivers to keep a copy of their valid medical information with them at all times.
7. What if I do not provide DDS with my self-certification and if required, my medical examiner’s certificate and any required variance document?
Your medical status will be changed to "not certified" until your new medical certifications and applicable variances are provided. DDS will remove all your CDL privileges from your license and you may be required to retest if you remain in a downgraded class for a long period of time.
8. What should I do when my medical certificate and/or variance is about to expire?
You must have a new medical examination and provide DDS a new medical examiner's certificate. You are also responsible for applying to FMCSA for a renewal of your variance. If you have a variance issued by DDS, you must apply for renewal of that variance prior to its expiration.
9. What happens if my medical examiner’s certificate or variance expires before I provide the DDS with a new one?
The DDS will notify you that you are no longer medically certified to operate a CMV in non-excepted Interstate commerce. The DDS will then remove all your CDL privileges from your license.
10. If my existing Medical Certificate does not have a doctor’s Medical Registry number, is it still valid?
If you already have a medical certificate, it will be valid until it expires. However, if you obtain a medical certificate after May 21, 2014, you will need to go a certified Medical Examiner. Visit the National Registry Website to locate a Certified Medical Examiner.
11. Can I transfer an out-of-state CDL to Georgia?
Yes. All endorsements recognized by FMCSA that are currently on your CDL will transfer with the exception of Hazmat. To keep the hazardous materials endorsement, you will be required to take and pass the hazardous materials knowledge test.
If your previous state was not a TSA participating state, you will have to complete an application through TSA and be fingerprinted.
You can check to see if your state was a participating state on the TSA web site.
12. What if I am an existing CDL holder who does not have a license renewal, upgrade?
You are responsible for providing DDS with your self-certification of operating status. If required, you must also provide your current medical examiner’s certificate and any variance documents.
13. If I am a diabetic on insulin can I still drive a commercial motor vehicle?
Only if you are granted a waiver from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). FMCSA will only grant waivers to drivers that operate in interstate commerce. The State of Georgia does not issue diabetic waivers.
14. If I have a class A CDL license what do I need to do to add a Passenger endorsement?
You need to obtain a new CLP by taking the CDL Knowledge test. You are also required to take the CDL Road Skills test in a commercial passenger vehicle. The road test includes vehicle inspection, basic skills and on-the-road driving test. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle will determine the Class of CDL passenger vehicle that you will be allowed to operate. For example, for a Class B Bus, the GVWR must be more than 26,001 pounds.
15. If I have an automatic transmission restriction on my CDL license what do I have to do to get that restriction removed?
You need to obtain a new CLP by taking the CDL Knowledge test. You are also required to take the CDL Road Skills test in a commercial vehicle equipped with a manual transmission. The road test includes vehicle inspection, basic skills and on-the-road driving test
16. If I have an air brake restriction on my CDL license what do I have to do to get the restriction removed?
You need to obtain a new CLP by taking the CDL Knowledge test. You are also required to take the CDL Road Skills test in a commercial vehicle with airbrakes. The road test includes vehicle inspection, basic skills and on-the-road driving test.
17. How do I upgrade from a Class B CDL to a Class A CDL?
You need to obtain a new CLP by taking the CDL Knowledge Test. You are also required to take the CDL Road Skills test in a Class A commercial vehicle. The road test includes vehicle inspection, basic skills and on-the-road driving test.
18. How would I get a ‘no tractor-trailer’ restriction removed on my Class A license?
If you took the skills test in a combination vehicle for a class A CDL with the power unit and towed unit connected with a pintle hook or other non-fifth wheel connection, you are restricted from operating a tractor-trailer combination connected by a fifth wheel that requires a class A CDL. You need to obtain a new CLP by taking the CDL Knowledge Test. You will also be required to take the CDL Road Skills Test again in a tractor-trailer combination connected by a fifth wheel. The road skills test includes vehicle inspection, basic skills and on-the-road driving test.
19. What do I need to do to add a Hazardous Materials Endorsement to my CDL license?
- You must complete the application. The application is on TSA web site.
- Get Fingerprinted. A list of all TSA fingerprint locations are on the TSA website. DDS web site has a list of the fingerprint sites located in Georgia only.
- Go to any DDS Customer Service Center and take the hazardous materials knowledge test.
NOTE: The results from the fingerprint background check results must be received from TSA before the endorsement can be placed on your license. This process can take approximately 60-90 days.
20. Is there a fee for CDL Road Test skills testing?
A $50.00 testing fee will be required for each CDL Road Skills testing attempt.
21. How can I get back my CDL privileges?
If the medical examiner’s certificate has expired, you must obtain a new one and provide it to the DDS. If the variance has expired, you must renew it with FMCSA. If the variance was issued by the DDS then you must renew it with the DDS. Failure to provide valid medical certificates and/or variances may require retesting and additional fees to get back your CDL privileges.