New CDL testing and commercial learner permit (CLP) standards


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has amended commercial driver license standards.  This regulation is referred to as the 'CDL Permit Rule' and mandated compliance by July 8, 2015.  The New York State DMV implemened the rules in phases, from April through July of 2015.

We refer to the Commercial Learner Permit as "CLP", and the Commercial Driver License as "CDL."  The changes are listed in order of implementation by the New York State DMV.



Phase 1 - April 2015

CDL skills testing changes

When you schedule or update a CDL Skills Test (road test) appointment, you will not be able to schedule an appointment within the first 14 days from the issuance of the CLP.

National suspension and revocation screening

The CDL Permit Rule broadens the criteria used during CLP and CDL license applications to check for open suspensions and revocations in other states. New York State will reject any application where a driver has any open suspension or revocation in any state.



Phase 2 - May 2015

Medical Certification changes

The New York State DMV will send CLP holders a notification if their medical certification status becomes "Not Certified." Once we send the notification, we will cancel the CLP if the CLP holder does not re-certify within 55 days.  We can send employers a notification of these status changes if they subscribe to the NY State License Event Notification Service (LENS). We will send passenger carriers enrolled in the 19-A system notifications of CLP cancellation events.



Phase 3 - June 2015

Endorsement and restriction changes

New CDL restrictions defined below by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may affect CLP holders when taking a Skills Test in a vehicle without full airbrakes and/or a manual transmission.

  • E - No Manual Transmission Equipped CMV
  • L - No Airbrake Equipped CMV
  • Z - No Full Airbrake Equipped CMV restrictions

If the vehicle used for your skills test has:

  • An automatic transmission, and this is your first road test in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you will be given an E restriction.
  • No form of airbrakes, and this is your first road test in a CMV, you will be given an L restriction.
  • Air over hydraulic brakes, and this is your first road test in a CMV, you will be given a Z.
    • If you have a CDL with an L restriction and you test in a vehicle with air over hydraulic brakes, you will be upgraded from an L to a Z restriction.

Also, please note that:

  • CLPs will no longer be issued with the Double / Triple Trailer (T) endorsement. The T endorsement can be issued only to a driver holding a CDL.  
  • CLPs issued with a Passenger (P) or School Bus (S) endorsement will automatically get a new federally mandated "No Passengers in CMV Bus" (P) restriction. 
  • CLPs issued with a Tank Vehicles (N) endorsement will automatically get a federally mandated "No Cargo in CMV Tank Vehicle" (X) restriction.
  • The P and X restrictions are issued for the CLP only.  The CDL that is issued after all required tests have been passed will not have the P or X restrictions.

The CDL Permit Rule added 5 new restrictions, which required New York State to change the letter assigned to existing restrictions.  

CDL Restriction Changes
No Manual Transmission Equipped CMV-ENew
Outside Mirror-FNew
No Passengers in CMV Bus-PNew
No Cargo in CMV Tank Vehicle-XNew
No Full Air Brake Equipped CMV-ZNew
Automatic TransmissionEE1Re-Lettered
Hearing Aid / Full-View MirrorFF1Re-Lettered
Power BrakesPP1Re-Lettered
Full Hand ControlXX1Re-Lettered
Wheel SpinnerZZ1Re-Lettered
No Air Brakes Class A VehicleL1-Removed
No Air Brakes Class B VehicleL2-Removed

These restriction changes go into effect June 4, 2015.  We will send drivers a new CLP and/or CDL document with these changes printed on them after their next CLP or CDL application. 

Application requirement changes

1) All CLP and CDL transactions, with the exception of replacements (duplicates) will require proof of legal presence in the United States. 

  • Drivers who can prove U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency will only need to provide this proof on the first application on or after June 18, 2015. A record of this verification will be retained on the driver’s record. 
  • Drivers with temporary visitor status will need to provide proof of legal presence in the U.S. with every application

CLP and CDL documents for drivers who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (i.e., temporary visitors) will have the legend “NON-DOMICILED” printed on documents issued on or after June 18, 2015.  The legend “TEMPORARY VISITOR” and the expiration date of their legal status documentation will continue to be displayed on the CLP and/or CDL document.

2) For all CLP and CDL transactions, with the exception of replacements, we will require proof of New York State residence.  Proof of residence is required every time for all drivers. The DMV Document Guide lists all acceptable legal presence and New York State residence proof documents.


Commercial document changes

The following federally mandated changes will be made to commercial documents

  • CL documents will have the warning "VALID ONLY WHEN ACCOMPANIED BY A NYS LICENSE” printed on them
  • interim (non-photo) licenses and permits will only be valid for 60 days from the date they are issued



Phase 4 - July 2015

Suspensions and revocations (sanctions)

New York State is now required to apply federally mandated commercial suspensions and revocations to CLP holders.  Federally mandated commercial suspensions and revocations that affect a driver's commercial privilege will now run consecutive (one to follow the other) with any other open commercial suspension or revocation on record.

New revocations

New federally mandated one year commercial revocations will be issued for drivers that are found guilty, or convicted of, falsifying, misrepresenting, or fraud in connection with

  • an application for a CLP/CDL
  • self-certification driving type
  • Medical Examiner's Certificate

Commercial document changes

The following federally mandated changes will be made to commercial documents

  • CLPs will be valid for only 180 days with one renewal for an additional 180 days, after which the holder will have to apply for a new CLP, including retaking any required knowledge tests
  • New York State will void and return an applicant’s current CLP or CDL document when issuing a new CLP/CDL document

Employer responsibilities expanded to CLP

Section 140(2)(c) of the New York State Transportation Law is amended to provide that no employer will allow an employee to operate a commercial motor vehicle during any period in which the operator

  • does not have a valid CLP or CDL
  • does not have a CLP or CDL with the proper class or endorsement
  • violates any restriction on the CLP or CDL
  • has a suspended, revoked, or disqualified CLP or CDL
  • has more than one CLP or CDL


CDL Permit Rule

You can find the 'CDL Permit Rule' in its entirety in 49 CFR Parts 383, 384, and 385 and as posted on the Federal Register (Vol. 76, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2011 / Rules and Regulations).

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