How Long are CDL Valid in Each State

How Long are CDL Valid in Each State

Different states and regions have different regulations that may affect your career in trucking. These differences may lead you to ask, “how long are CDL valid in each state?” If this question has been bugging you, or you’re just learning that differences in CDL regulations may be an issue in the future, look no further. Truck Driver Institute is here to break down the differences from state to state and ensure that you understand the guidelines specific to your region. Read on to learn more about CDL validity state to state.

How Long are CDL Valid in Each State? It Varies

When you’re looking to earn your commercial drivers’ license, it’s important that you take into consideration the state you reside within. Typically, a CDL will remain valid from anywhere between 4 to 8 years. This is a large difference, and may influence your decision to earn your CDL, or may influence you to go out-of-state for your CDL training. 

For example: If you receive an Illinois CDL, your license will be valid for 4 years before it requires renewal. On the other hand, recipients of a CDL in Virginia have the luxury of being able to wait 8 years before their license requires renewal. Different renewal times can severely impact your livelihood, as operating under an expired CDL can have consequences that can derail or potentially end your career. 

If you do not live in one of the aforementioned states, it is recommended that you visit your state’s official government or government-affiliated website to obtain the best and most up-to-date information regarding the question “how long are CDL valid in each state?”

Consequences of an Expired CDL

As mentioned previously, there are consequences to driving while using an expired CDL.

To start with: it is forbidden to operate a commercial vehicle with an expired commercial drivers’ license. Violating this rule can lead to severe fines and penalties, or potentially the loss of your CDL altogether. 

Regaining your CDL after having been found in violation of your state’s guidelines can be a pain. While it differs from state to state and from violation to violation, you generally must wait out a prescribed suspension period after losing it, and then you must also pay the assigned fines and penalties while also completing any extra requirements such as court, classwork, or other tasks. Because of these reasons, it is immensely beneficial to you to get ahead of your CDL renewal before it becomes an issue.

Other Ways You May Lose Your CDL

Losing your CDL isn’t always a result of driving on an expired license. Other ways you may lose or be disqualified from your CDL include:

  • Medical Disqualifications: If you are found to have a medical condition that significantly impacts your driving ability, you may lose or become disqualified from gaining your CDL. Medical conditions may include vertigo, epilepsy, hearing issues, and other conditions.
  • Traffic Violations: While the specifications differ state by state, serious traffic infractions can lead you to lose your CDL. Excessive speeding, at-fault collisions, or other reckless behavior can lead a driver to lose their CDL. We recommend that drivers curious about these regulations visit their state-specific department of transportation websites.
  • Specific Violations: There are plenty of violations that can be found in the fine print of your state’s CDL guidelines. Issues such as driving on roads not graded for your vehicle’s weight or driving with oversized loads without the proper certifications or permission to do so can land you in hot water with your state. 

To avoid losing your CDL, it’s important that you stay up-to-date with the guidelines and regulations specific to your state. For more information regarding violations and disqualifications, read our blogs titled “What Disqualifies a CDL Driver,” and “What Are Truck Driver Violations.”

It’s also important to understand that infractions against you unrelated to your CDL may impact your ability to gain or retain your commercial drivers’ license. Traffic violations when driving your personal vehicle, felonies unrelated to work, or other transgressions could possibly encroach on your career as well. Again, be sure to check your state-specific laws to ensure that you are not in violation of anything that may harm your career.

How to Regain Your CDL

If you have used a CDL past its validity date or otherwise had your CDL suspended, there are ways to have it reinstated. Some of these ways include:

  • Waiting a predetermined amount of time. Most of the time, suspended commercial drivers’ licenses have a prescribed amount of time they cannot be renewed for. Drivers must wait out this period of time before attempting to regain their license.
  • Complete assigned tasks. Some states and legislatures may assign classwork or other tasks for drivers to complete before having their licenses reinstated. This is particularly common when licenses are lost as a result of traffic violations or other errors made while driving under the license. Completing the assigned coursework is necessary to regain your license in these situations.
  • Attending Court Dates. Just like regular traffic violations, violations that cause the suspension of your CDL may involve appearances in court. Being present for these dates is essential to ensure that your requirements for reinstatement can feasibly be met.

Regaining your CDL is essential for continuing your career as a truck driver as you cannot legally drive commercial vehicles without one. Ensure that you follow all local regulations necessary to regain your CDL as quickly as you are allowed to.

Refresh Your CDL Knowledge With Truck Driver Institute

Whether you’re looking for a refresher, you’ve been assigned coursework as a result of a CDL suspension, or you’ve never touched a commercial vehicle in your life, Truck Driver Institute has a spot for you. With 11 campuses nationwide, Truck Driver Institute is focused on supplying the best CDL instruction the nation has to offer at the most reasonable time commitment and price point. If you’re starting from scratch, you can begin driving for some of the largest trucking companies in the world in just 3 weeks with TDI. Visit our website or contact us directly to learn more.

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Get your Class A CDL in our friendly, supportive CDL training program. TRAIN with experienced instructors – multiple good-paying, secure job choices with benefits available for eligible graduates. EARN $700 – $1000+ / week to start as a truck driver. Get started today by filling out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!