Rhode Island CDL Requirements

You must get an Rhode Island commercial driver’s license (CDL) to be able to drive commercial vehicles in Rhode Island. For Federal CDL Requirements applicable to every state, click here.

Rhode Island adopted the Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, and is part of a nationally uniform system of classifying, testing, and licensing commercial vehicle drivers.

When is an Rhode Island CDL Required

You need an Rhode Island CDL when you operate the following vehicles:

CLASS A – Applies only to “combination” vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) more than 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Class A CDL (plus any appropriate endorsements) can also operate all vehicles included in Class B, C, and D (below)

CLASS B – Includes single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being pulled must not be more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with an Rhode Island Class B CDL (plus appropriate endorsements) can also legally operate all vehicles in Class C or D.

CLASS C – Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that meets neither the definition of Group A nor that of Group B as contained in this section, but that either is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F).

CLASS D – Private passenger, regular operator.

Rhode Island CDL Age Requirements

You must be at least 18 years of age to drive within state lines (intrastate).

You must be at least 21 years old to:

  • drive commercial vehicles across state lines (interstate)
  • haul hazardous materials

How to Apply for an Rhode Island CDL

To qualify/apply to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP):

  • You must present a valid Medical Card or Certificate.
  • Possess a valid operator’s license
  • Provide proof of identity and proof of residency
  • Complete an Application for Commercial Driver’s License and Affidavit for CDL History Check
  • Pass a CDL General Knowledge Test
  • Pass a CDL Combination Test
  • Pass a CDL Air Brakes Test
  • Pass a CDL Skills Test (Road Test)

More information from Rhode Island DMV about Getting a CDL or CLP.

Documentation Requirements

You will need to provide proper identification when you apply for your CDL. Some acceptable forms are:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card (or proof of the number)
  • U.S. Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • A Rhode Island driver license
  • Other state’s driver license (if transferring from another state)
  • Military ID card

How much does the Rhode Island CDL cost?

Commercial Driver’s License Services Fees

  • Application $10.00
  • License(CDL) Chauffeur License $26.50
  • License(CDL) Duplicate License $26.50
  • License(CDL) License Renewal 70 and older (2 years) $29.50
  • License(CDL) License Renewal (5 years) $71.50
  • License(CDL) Permit Renewal/Duplicate $21.50
  • License(CDL) Test (each) $11.50
  • License(CDL) Transfer License (out of state) $49.50
  • License(CDL) Update License $6.50

More information about fees from RI DMV.

Official Rhode Island CDL Manual
Rhode Island DMV/DPS
FMSCA Guidelines