What is a CDL?
An Arkansas Commercial Drivers License (CDL License Arkansas) is required by any driver wishing to operate any motor vehicle classified by the COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1986. The act ensures that drivers in all states meet a certain level of knowledge and skill before operating a commercial vehicle.
(Note: These are the Arkansas CDL Requirements, click here to see your state’s CDL requirements.)
Do I Need An Arkansas CDL?
To help you determine if you need an Arkansas CDL instead of your regular drivers license, see if the type of vehicle you want to drive falls into any of the following classifications:
CLASS A – Describes any combination vehicle with a Gross Combination Weight Rating of 26,001 lbs or more, provided that the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the vehicles being towed is in more than 10,000 pounds. There is a minimum age of 18 to drive intrastate (inside Arkansas) or 21 to drive interstate.
For Example: Tractor-trailer semi trucks, 18 wheelers, logging trucks etc.
CLASS B – Describes any single vehicle that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more with any vehicle in tow not in exceeding 10,000 pounds. Minimum age of 18 for intrastate (inside Arkansas) and 21 for interstate.
For Example: Box trucks, certain types of buses.
CLASS C – Describes any single motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GWVR) of less than 26,001 pounds or any single vehicle towing a trailer or vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of less than 10,000 pounds which ALSO falls into one of two categories:
- The vehicle is designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including driver;
- The vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials which must be placarded.
For Example: Some buses that weigh under 26,000 pounds but carry more than 15 passengers including the driver,OR Trucks used to transport hazardous materials.
Requirements For Arkansas CDL Endorsements
Endorsements are used to make sure commercial drivers knowledgeable and authorized to drive certain vehicles under specific circumstances. Endorsement testing and fees are separate from your general knowledge, air brakes, and pre-trip inspection materials. If you’d like to apply and test for any of the following endorsements, be sure to study for them in the Arkansas CDL Handbook.
Arkansas CDL Endorsements include:
(H) – Hazardous Materials – A hazardous materials endorsement is required to transport any placardable amounts of hazardous materials as outlined by Section 49 CFR 100-185 in the code of federal regulations. (Requires knowledge test and TSA background check)
(N) – Tank Vehicles – Required for operating tanker trucks rated for more than 1,000 gallons. (Only requires a knowledge test)
(P) – Passenger – Required to operate any motor vehicle which is designed to carry more than 15 passengers including the driver. (Requires knowledge and road/skills test)
(S) – School Bus – Required to operate any vehicle used to transport any number of children to and from school for compensation. (Requires knowledge and skills test)
(T) – Doubles/Triples – Required to operate any commercial vehicle that has a double or triple trailer rig. (Requires knowledge test.)
(X) – Tanker/Hazardous Materials – Required to operate any tanker vehicle which also transports hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding.
IMPORTANT: You must study and pass the knowledge, air brakes endorsement, and pre-trip inspection materials covered in sections 1, 2, 3, 5*, 6, 10, 11, 12 AND the sections covering any of the endorsements you want to include to qualify for an unrestricted Class A Arkansas CDL.
*The air brake section (5) is required to have a Class A license with no restrictions.
Arkansas CDL Requirements
In order to obtain a new Arkansas Commercial Drivers License, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old to apply for an intrastate Arkansas CDL (inside Arkansas only) and 21 years or older to drive interstate (nationwide). Drivers over 18, but under the age of 21 are also prohibited from transporting hazardous materials or operating passenger vehicles designed to carry more than 15 people (includes driver).
- You must hold a valid Arkansas Class D (operators) drivers license, or equivalent license from out of state.
- You must be physically capable of obtaining a valid DOT medical examiner’s card before applying for your CDL permit or taking any CDL skills test. See MCSR 49 CFR 391.41 Physical Qualifications for Drivers.
- A valid social security card.
- Two forms of acceptable identification.
How To Get A CDL License In Arkansas
The following are the steps you must follow required by the FMCSA and the state of Arkansas to apply for your Arkansas Commercial Drivers License.
1. Study sections 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12 of the official Arkansas Commercial Drivers License Handbook AND any sections corresponding to the endorsements you’d like to receive.
2. Once you have obtained your your DOT medical examiner’s card, you may go to your local DMV office for the written examinations. Be sure to bring with you:
- A current valid Class D license (must be valid for 1 year prior).
- Your social security card.
- Your DOT medical examiner’s card.
3. After passing all of your knowledge tests and receiving your Arkansas CDL Permit, you may begin training to pass your road and skills test. This can be done privately with a licensed CDL holder or any authorized third party testing facility near you.
4. Pass your road/skills test at the DMV testing site with your own tractor and trailer, or at an authorized third party testing site.
- Pre-Trip Inspection – You will be tested to make sure you know your vehicle is safe to drive. (See sections 10, 11, and 12 of the Arkansas CDL Handbook)
- Basic Vehicle Control – You will be tested on operating skills driving the truck and trailer forward, backwards, and making turns within a defined area.
- On-Road Test – Your examiner will take you on the public roads to test your ability to safely maneuver the vehicle in a variety of traffic circumstances and situations.
How Much Does A CDL In Arkansas Cost?
The cost of getting your CDL License Arkansas can vary depending on where you receive your DOT medical exam as well as the endorsements you choose to acquire. Additionally, your out of pocket could substantially increase if you choose to train at a private testing facility.
The fees for a CDL in Arkansas are:
- DOT Physical Card – $50-100 dollars depending on the location/insurance.
- CDL Class A – $42.00 (Non-Refundable)
- Testing Fees – $50.00*
TOTAL: $142 – 192.00 DOLLARS
*Endorsements may cost extra.
Official Arkansas CDL Handbook: http://www.asp.state.ar.us/divisions/hp/pdf/cdl_manual_2003.pdf
Arkansas Department Of Finance and Administration- Driver Services: http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/driverServices/Pages/default.aspx
FMSCA Guidelines: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration-licensing/cdl/cdl.htm
Arkansas CDL Help Line: 501-682-1400