How Many Times Can You Fail Your CDL Test?

Even if you feel prepared to get your commercial driver’s license, you probably still want to know the answer to the question, “How many times can you fail your CDL test?” Regulations vary state to state, and while there’s not a maximum for the number of times you can take the written and driving tests, in most states you have to wait before taking the test again.

There are three parts to most CDL exams: a pre-trip inspection, a basic skills test, and a road test. All three are crucial to getting your commercial driver’s license. You’ll generally take the written portion before you’re allowed to test your skills on the road. While each state develops its own exams, each basic knowledge test covers 20 general areas, and you need to get 80 percent of the questions correct to pass. The skills test requires you to perform a list of necessary skills under the supervision of a representative.

While many people feel anxious about taking exams, the CDL test is straightforward and courses like Truck Driver Institute’s three-week training program will help you get on the road in no time.

If you fail your CDL test on the first try, don’t worry. You are able to take the test again after a waiting period that is usually only a few days. If you don’t pass on your second attempt, the waiting period is generally a little longer. You may also have to pay an additional fee to take the test again after three tries.

Tips to Help You Not Fail Your CDL Test

  1. Avoid putting off your studying. While the CDL written tests aren’t exceptionally rigourous, you can still be caught off guard by some of the questions if you haven’t been paying attention or didn’t study enough. Going into the exam feeling prepared will ensure you don’t fail your CDL test.
  2. During the CDL road test, remember that the basics of driving any vehicle are also important for driving a tractor-trailer. Some actions that automatically look bad include not wearing your seatbelt, stopping on railroad tracks, going over the speed limit, and not coming to a full stop at a stop sign.
  3. Poor backing skills can also lead to a deduction of points. As this will be one of the more complicated skills to learn in a large vehicle, give yourself some extra practice time backing up during training.




Accelerate Your Future

truck icon

What Else You Might Need to Know to Pass Your CDL Test

There are three different classes of CDLs that you can test for, depending on what kind of vehicle you want to drive: Class A, Class B, and Class C. TDI offers Class A and Class B CDL training.

If you’re getting ready to pass your CDL test, there are also specific endorsements that require an additional exam. If you’re looking to get into a particular part of the trucking industry, you may need to take one of more of these:

  • Passenger Transport Endorsement – Required if you plan on driving 16 or more passengers. There is also a specific endorsement for school bus drivers.
  • Doubles/Triples Endorsement – Necessary if you’re going to be hauling double or triple trailers.
  • Tank Vehicle Endorsement – Required if you plan to haul liquids in bulk in a tanker.
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement – An endorsement for drivers carrying hazardous materials or waste. There is also a two-in-one tanker and hazmat endorsement.

You will also need to take an additional exam to drive commercial vehicles with airbrakes or combination vehicles.


To avoid having to retake your CDL test, make sure to renew it before its expiration date. Depending on your state, CDLs typically lasts between 5 and 8 years. You can renew online, by mail, or in person, generally up to six months before the expiration date. If your license expires, you will not be able to work, and driving without a license can come with severe penalties.

If you have waited too long to renew your CDL, you may need to completely retest, including the written and driving tests and paying application fees.


So, how many times can you fail your CDL test and how likely is it to happen? Truck Driver Institute’s three-week-long course is designed to teach you everything you need to know before taking your CDL test. You’ll get the best classroom instruction, behind-the-wheel experience, and mechanical knowledge, all of which you’ll need to succeed on test day.

If you are interested in learning more about earning your CDL, visit our FAQ page or contact us today.

Jon and Tammy Walker

Truck Driver Institute was the best choice for us. TDI allowed us to explore all carriers opportunities. The instructors were top notch, caring supportive and patient. We would recommend TDI to anyone interested in a career in the trucking industry.

Partner With the Best. A Few of Our Carrier Partners:

We have 11 Locations to Choose From:


100 Industrial Park Drive
Forsyth, GA 31029


4939 U.S. 78
Oxford, AL 36203


20214 Highway 49
Saucier, MS 39574


3542 East 500 North
Whiteland, IN 46184


1523 Avco Boulevard
Sellersburg, IN 47172


6201 Epps Mill Road
Christiana, TN 37037


3700 St Johns Pkwy
SanfordFL 32771


5750 E. Milton Road
Milton, FL 32583


3425 Lancaster Highway
Richburg, SC 29729


24645 S.R. 23
South Bend, IN 46680


341 East Franklin Street
Tupelo, MS 38802

CALL US TODAY AT 800-848-7364

You can also contact us by filling out this quick and easy contact form. Once submitted we will be in contact with you as soon as we can.

*For Post 9/11 GI Bill® (Ch 33) students and VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch 31) students, our tuition policy complies with 38 USC 3679(e) which means Post 9/11 and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment students will not be charged or otherwise penalized due to a delay in VA tuition and fee payments.  For eligibility consideration, a Post 9/11 GI Bill® student must submit a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and a Vocational Rehabilitation Student must provide a VAF 28-1905 form. Students must provide school with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) prior to beginning class, but not later than the first day of training. A print screen of Statement of Benefits page will be accepted in lieu of COE and verification of benefits will be required.  Please see 38 USC 3679(e) for complete details. GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at