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Who doesn't need a CDL?

By law, the following types of drivers don't need a commercial driver license (CDL):

  • Farmers transporting farm equipment, supplies, or products* to or from a farm in a farm vehicle are exempt if the vehicle is:
    • Operated by the farmer or a farm employee.
    • Not used in the operation of a common or contract motor carrier.
    • Used within 150 miles of the farm (in an air-mile radius).
  • If farmers meet all requirements of the farm exemption, they may operate farm-exempt vehicles between the states of Idaho and Oregon.
  • *Farm products include Christmas trees or wood products transported by vehicles weighing no more than 40,000 pounds licensed gross vehicle weight. This weight restriction applies only to Christmas trees and wood products.
  • Firefighters and law enforcement personnel are exempt when operating emergency equipment if they carry the certification card proving they have completed the Emergency Vehicle Accident Prevention Program (EVAP).
  • Recreational vehicle (RV) operators are exempt when driving an RV for non-commercial purposes. This exemption includes 2-axle rental trucks and horse trailers.
  • Military commercial drivers are exempt only when they are operating the proper military vehicle under a military license issued by their branch of the service. Military members who want to obtain a CDL and are currently active duty or those within one year of discharge, see Military experience waiver.
  • Drivers of vehicles with air brakes that don't otherwise qualify as a commercial vehicle. Even though a vehicle is equipped with air brakes, it doesn't automatically mean the driver must have a CDL. If the vehicle doesn't meet the criteria listed under Types of vehicles that require a CDL, the driver is exempt.

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