Commercial Driver's License

A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) allows a person to operate certain classes of commercial motor vehicles, with appropriate endorsements, as defined by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. The CDL is a new distinctive drivers license that is issued to a resident of Colorado who is 21 years of age or older, and who has met the State of Colorado requirements to operate a commercial motor vehicle. The Colorado CDL will be for interstate operation except for the two groups of drivers which are restricted to operating a commercial motor vehicle only within the State of Colorado for the following reasons: 

(a) Individuals between the ages of 18 and 21. (If you are 18 years of age, you can possess a CDL, but you must only drive in Colorado.) 

(b) Medically disqualified interstate drivers who hold a valid medical waiver from the Colorado State Patrol. 

A Commercial Motor Vehicle is defined as any self propelled or towed vehicle bearing an apportioned plate or having a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 10,001 pounds or more, which is used in commerce on a public highway. 

You must get a CDL if you would like to drive the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more; provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. Holders of a CDL class A license, may with the appropriate endorsements, operate vehicles within the CDL B, CDL C, basic driver's license and motorcycle classes. 
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, which may tow another vehicle that is not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR. This group includes vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver. Holders of a CDL class B license may, with the appropriate endorsements, operate vehicles within the CDL C, basic driver's license and motorcycle classes. 
  • Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles with a GVWR or a GCWR of 26,000 or less pounds that:
    • Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver; or
    • Transports hazardous materials in quantities sufficient to require placards under DOT regulations.
    • Holders of a CDL Class C license may, with appropriate endorsements, operate vehicles within the basic driver's license and motorcycle classes. 

Links to more information

What are the requirements for getting a CDL?

How do I get a Commercial Driver's License Handbook?

How do I manage my log book?

What permits do I need?

How do I register with the FMCSA to get a USDOT number, Operating Authority (MC/FF/MX number), or CT number (Cargo Tank Facility)?

Where can I get various registration forms?

What are the Federal Size Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles?

What are the Federal Weight Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles? 

Who are some Commercial Vehicle Contacts?

Vehicle Definitions 

A Commercial Motor Vehicle is defined as any self propelled or towed vehicle bearing an apportioned plate or having a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 10,001 pounds or more, which is used in commerce on a public highway. 

A Farm Vehicle Driver is a person who drives only a commercial motor vehicle that is controlled and operated by a farmer as a private motor carrier or property, and being used to transport either agricultural products, farm machinery or farm supplies. A farm vehicle driver is also a person who drives only a commercial motor vehicle that is also not being used in the operation as a for hire motor carrier, not carrying hazardous materials of a type or quantity that requires the commercial motor vehicle to have placards according to the regulations, and being used within 150 miles of the farmers farm. 

A Farmer is any person who operates a farm or is directly involved in the cultivation of land, crops or livestock, which are owned by that person or are under the direct control of that person. 

A nurse tank meets the definition of a cargo tank. Nurse tanks used in agricultural operations for the transportation of anhydrous ammonia must be repaired by a facility that maintains an 'R' stamp issued by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (National Board). This 'R' stamp authorizes the facility to perform welded repairs on cargo tanks built to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) code. 'Repair' means any welding on a cargo tank wall done to return a cargo tank or a cargo tank motor vehicle to its original design and construction specification, or to a condition prescribed for a later equivalent specification in effect at the time of the repair. Only facilities that have been issued an 'R' stamp by the National Board are authorized to perform repairs to nurse tanks. 

An implement of husbandry is every vehicle that is designed, adapted or used for agricultural purposes. It also includes equipment used soley for the application of liquid, gaseous and dry fertilizers. Transportation of fertilizer, in or on the equipment used for its application, shall be deemed a part of application if it is incidental to such application. It also includes hay bailers, hay stacking equipment, combines, tillage and harvesting equipment, agricultural commodity handling equipment, and other heavy movable farm equipment primarily used on farms or in a livestock production facility and not on the highways. Trailers specially designed to move such equipment on highways shall, for the purposes of this definition, be considered to be a component part of such implements of husbandry. 

Intrastate: A farm vehicle driver operating an articulated commercial vehicle with a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. is required to possess a medical card. A farm vehicle driver operating a straight truck is exempt from Part 391. 

Interstate: A farm vehicle driver operating an articulated commercial vehicle with a GCWR of more than 10,000 lbs. is required to possess a medical card. A farm vehicle driver operating a straight truck is exempt from Part 391.