Friday, June 12, 2015
Contact: Kristen Muszynski

New federal rules for commercial driver?s licenses will go into effect July 8

AUGUSTA ? New federal regulations for commercial driver?s licenses will go into effect next month, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced Friday.

Effective July 8, 2015, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles will complete full implementation of the amended federal rules regarding commercial driver?s license (CDL) knowledge and skills testing standards and newly established standards that states must comply with when issuing a commercial learner?s permit.

The changes are as follows:

  • All commercial learners? permits issued after July 7, 2015 will be valid for 180 days. Currently, commercial learner?s permits are valid for up to 18 months. Any permits issued prior to July 8, 2015 will be valid for the term at the time they were issued.
  • A person will no longer be allowed to apply for a commercial driver?s license as their first license; they must have a base license of some class before they may obtain a commercial learner?s permit. (Current law allows any person 16 years of age or older to obtain a commercial license as their first license, with a permit that is valid for 18 months.)
  • Upon obtaining a commercial learner?s permit, the applicant will now be required by federal rule to wait 14 days to apply for a commercial skill and road exam.
  • To obtain a commercial permit or license, a person must provide documentation indicating they have lawful presence in the United States. Only a citizen, naturalized citizen or a lawful permanent resident with no conditions may be issued a commercial learner?s permit or license.

Additionally, codes will change on all licenses in order to facilitate the use of new endorsement and restriction codes applicable to commercial licenses, and to conform to federal standards. The new codes will be applied to any credential issued after July 7. For example, a person who wears glasses currently has an ?A? restriction on their license. Upon reissuance, that ?A? will be a ?B.?  Credentials issued prior to July 8 will maintain the information contained in the credential at the time it was issued and will remain in effect until expiration.