How to Get an Illinois Commercial Driver’s License

Home » Blog » Truck Accidents » How to Get an Illinois Commercial Driver’s License

If your goal is to drive commercial vehicles in the state of Illinois, you will need to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Commercial driver’s licenses are required for anyone operating a vehicle that weighs 26,001 pounds or more, transports hazardous materials, or is designed to transport 16 or more passengers.

This guide was prepared by the truck accident attorneys at The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers. We will discuss how to get an Illinois commercial driver’s license.

Steps to Obtain an Illinois CDL

  1. Obtain an Illinois Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) – Before you can take the commercial driver license and skills/driving test, you must first obtain a CLP by passing the written test. Study the Illinois Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide and take practice tests to prepare.
  2. Practice Driving with a Licensed CDL Holder – While operating a commercial vehicle with a CLP, you must have a licensed CDL holder accompanying you at all times. This will give you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with commercial drivers and practice for the skills/driving test.
  3. Schedule and Take the Skills/Driving Test – Once you feel confident in your abilities, schedule an appointment with a certified testing facility to take the skills/driving test. This will include a pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic control skills test, and an on-road driving test.
  4. Obtain Your CDL – If you pass the skills/driving test, you will be issued your Illinois’ CDL license with the necessary endorsements.

How to Get a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) in Illinois

What is a CDL in Illinois?

A CDL is a special license for drivers operating commercial vehicles like trucks, buses, and trailers. Issued by the Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois CDL requirements include specific training and tests in order to drive a commercial motor vehicle on public roads.

What Medical Certification is Required in Illinois?

To operate a commercial vehicle, you must pass a medical examination (Section 15.2 of the Study Guide) and hold a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate. This certificate must be renewed every two years.

What Are My Options for Taking CDL Training?

To prepare for the CDL exam, you can choose to enroll in a CDL school through a third-party facility or seek out an employer-sponsored program. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which method works best for your needs and schedule.

What Are the Different Classes of CDL in Illinois?

Class A — Combination vehicles have a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. E.g., tractor-trailers, tankers, livestock carriers, and flatbeds.

Class B — Single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds. E.g., straight trucks, large buses, box trucks, and dump trucks.

Class C — Single vehicle with a GVWR of at least 16,001 pounds but less than 26,001 pounds. E.g., small buses and hazmat vehicles.

Class D — Single vehicle with a GVWR of less than 16,001 pounds.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible, Illinois CDL holders must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age (21 years old for interstate driving)
  • Hold a valid Illinois driver’s license
  • Have a clean driving record with no major traffic violations
  • Pass a physical examination to ensure that you are physically and medically fit to operate a commercial vehicle
  • Provide proof of legal presence in the United States
  • Pass a written knowledge test and a skills/driving test

What Happens If I Do Not Pass My Skills or Driving Test?

The Third-time Fail Rule applies, according to the Illinois Secretary of State. After failing an exam three times, a 30-day wait is required to retake it. Six total failures lead to a 90-day wait, and nine total failures require a one-year wait.

Additional fees apply after each three-fail interval to continue testing.

Do I Need Any Special Endorsements on My Illinois CDL?

Each endorsement requires passing additional written and skills/driving tests.

  • Hazardous Materials (H)
  • Passenger (P)
  • School Bus (S)
  • Tanker (N)
  • Double/Triple Trailers (T)
  • Combination Vehicles (X) for driving combination vehicles with both air brakes and hazardous materials.

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL in Illinois?

The time it takes to get a CDL in Illinois varies depending on the individual’s ability to pass the necessary written and skills/driving tests. On average, it can take anywhere from 1-3 months to complete the required training and testing.

Renewing Your Illinois CDL

CDL drivers must be renew their licenses every four years. In order to renew your CDL, you must pass a vision test and pay the required fee. If you have any endorsements on your CDL, these may also need to be renewed separately.

Additional Tips and Information

  • It is important to thoroughly study the Illinois CDL Study Guide and take practice tests before attempting the written test.
  • Be sure to bring all necessary documents to the testing facility: your current driver’s license, proof of legal residency, and any applicable medical certifications.
  • Once you obtain your CDL, it is important to continue maintaining a clean driving record and staying up-to-date with endorsements or medical certifications.
  • If you are applying for a job as a commercial driver, check with your potential employer to see if they have any specific requirements or training programs that you must complete.

Getting Help If You’re In a Truck Accident

If you’re seriously injured in a trucking accident, report the accident to your employer and follow their procedures. Contact an attorney at The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers to discuss your case and understand your legal options.

How to Get an Illinois Commercial Driver's License
If your goal is to drive commercial vehicles in the state of Illinois, learn how you will need to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL).

Do I have a case?

Get In Touch With Us
The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers, 134 North LaSalle St. Suite 1515 Chicago, IL 60602
Get Directions
Call us Today
(312) 598-1012

    Phone Number (312) 598-1012
    134 North LaSalle St., Suite 1515
    Chicago, IL 60602 Get Directions

    Settlements & Verdicts

    $7.5 Million Recovered for a Construction Worker Injured on Site
    $3 Million Recovered for the Family of a Person Struck by a Garbage Truck
    $2.2 Million Recovered for a Salesperson Injured in an Automobile Collision
    $2 Million Recovered for a Person Struck by a Speeding Vehicle While Waiting for the CTA Bus
    $1.4 Million Recovered for a Computer Programmer Injured in a Slip and Fall
    Phone (312) 223-1700