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MICHIGAN TRUCK DRIVER TRAINING

Commercial Drivers License
2020 CDL License TEST Requirements
Home Study Course
For Tests Beginning November 1, 2020

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DO I HAVE TO PASS ANY EXAMS TO GET A MICHIGAN CDL?

Yes . . . You will have to pass written exams and skills exams. Just how many exams you will have to take and pass will depend upon the type(s) of commercial vehicles you will be driving and what type of "cargo" you will be transporting.

WHAT ARE THE MICHIGAN CDL WRITTEN EXAMS?

The "written" exams consist of the knowledge portion of your Michigan CDL exams. There are seven different written exams. Which ones you will be required to take and pass depends upon the type of commercial vehicle that you will be driving. A description of these written exams follows . . .

  • General Knowledge Test . . . Must be taken and passed by ALL CDL applicants no matter what Class of CDL or Type of Endorsement(s) are needed. You WILL take this written test. You WILL pass this written test if you are to obtain a CDL.
  • Air Brakes Test . . . Must be taken and passed if any vehicle you drive has air brakes.
  • Combination Vehicles Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you drive combination vehicles requiring a Class "A" CDL.
  • Passenger Transport (P) Test . . . Must be taken and passed by all bus driver applicants. An additional written test may be required if transporting children to and from school.
  • Hazardous Materials (H) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you transport hazardous materials requiring "placarding".
  • Tank Vehicles (N) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you drive a "tank" with a capacity of more than 1000 gallons.
  • Doubles & Triples (T) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you pull double or triple trailers.
WHAT ARE THE MICHIGAN CDL SKILLS EXAMS?

The "skills" exams consist of the practical portion of your Michigan CDL exams. They consist of three parts as follows . . .

  • Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test . . . You will be tested to see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to drive. The examiner will score each item that you correctly inspect and explain.
  • Basic Vehicle Control Test . . . You will be tested on your basic skills in controlling the vehicle . . . including moving your vehicle forward, backward, and turning within a defined area. You will be scored on how well you stay within the exercise boundaries and how many pull-ups you make.
  • On-Road Test . . . You will be tested on your skill to safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations.

The skills exams are taken in the same "type" vehicle that you will be licensed in.

AFTER I PASS ALL OF MY CDL EXAMS . . . THEN WHAT?

You can apply for your CDL. You must provide proof that you possess a valid DOT medical certificate (you will need to get a physical in accordance with MCSR 49 CFR 391.41. . . . the medical forms are included with the CDL Course package), fill out the forms, provide documentation, and pay the appropriate fees.

HOW DO I FIND SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR Michigan?

We are including the following links to information that is specific to Michigan. We try to include all available official links, however the State of Michigan often change their webpages and/or the addressing of those webpages. We constantly update these links, but from time to time they are not available due to recent changes. If you are having problems with any of these links, try typing "Michigan Official Website" into your Google, Bing or Yahoo search engine and you should be able to find your "starting point" on their website. You should be able to find the Commercial Drivers License information by typing in "CDL" into their internal search (if available) or by following the Drivers License Services links within their website. This is a great source of Michigan regulations, forms, locations, contacts, etc.

Quickly Access Official Michigan CDL Information

Michigan CDL Information
Access to official web pages maintained
by the State of Michigan
Who Needs a Michigan CDL?

Any Michigan resident who intends to operate the following commercial vehicles is required to have a commercial driver license:
  • Single Vehicles - Having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)* of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Combination Vehicles - Towing a trailer or other vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more when the gross combination weight rating (GCWR)** is 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people (including the driver)
  • Vehicles carrying hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding
*Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the recommended maximum total weight of the vehicle and load as designated by the vehicle manufacturer. The GVWR label is usually found on the driver side door post of the power unit and on the front left side of the trailer. The GVWR should not be confused with the elected gross vehicle weight (GVW) which is declared by the vehicle owner for registration purposes.

**Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) means the value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a combination vehicle. In the absence of a label, the GCWR can be calculated by adding the GVWR of the power unit to the GVWR of the vehicle(s) or trailer(s) being towed.

Exemptions

The following people do not need a Michigan CDL:
  • Active Duty Military (including National Guard): With military licenses operating military vehicles.
  • Police Officers and Firefighters: Meeting approved training standards and operating authorized emergency vehicles.
  • Farmers: Operating vehicles within a 150 mile radius of their farm.
    • An F-endorsement is needed by farmers operating combination vehicles whose towing vehicle has a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more. A knowledge test, but no skills test, is required to obtain the F-endorsement.
    • However, farmers who carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding while operating combination vehicles whose towing vehicle has a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, or a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, need a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement.
  • Individuals: Operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for non-business purposes.

Obtaining a Michigan CDL

When ready to apply for your first CDL, come to a local Michigan Secretary of State branch office to:
  • Show proof of Social Security number (Social Security card, payroll check stub, W-2 Form).
  • If you are applying for a hazardous materials endorsement, you must present proof of the following:
    • Federal Security Threat Assessment
    • U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Complete an application which includes a statement certifying that you meet medical and driver qualifications.
  • If you have had any change in your physical condition since your last driver license renewal which may affect your ability to drive, you may need a special form from the branch office for your physician to fill out before you can apply for your license.
  • Meet driver record eligibility requirements as determined by Secretary of State branch office personnel.
  • Pass the required knowledge and vision tests. You must pass all required knowledge tests to obtain a CDL Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP). This allows you to practice driving under supervision of a driver who has a CDL for the type of vehicle you wish to drive. A CDL TIP is also required for taking the CDL skills tests. If you do not pass a knowledge test on your first attempt, you must wait one day to retake the test. There is a one-day wait period for any subsequent retest.
  • Pay your CDL fees.
  • Schedule your CDL skills test.
You must take the skills tests through an approved third party tester. Third party testers are public and private agencies authorized by the state to conduct Michigan CDL skills tests. You should contact a tester well in advance of when you want to test. Once you have passed your Michigan CDL skills tests, you must return to the Secretary of State branch office to:
  • Pay a correction fee to add Michigan CDL privileges to your license.
  • Receive your Michigan CDL.

WHAT MICHIGAN CDL TESTS DO I NEED TO TAKE?

Michigan CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the Michigan Knowledge Tests that are required for the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained in the FREE Michigan CDL Handbook. Please read and study this manual carefully.
  • Class A - 70 Questions (50 GK + 20 Combination Vehicles) - Skills test required.
  • Class B - 50 Questions - Skills test required.
  • Class C - 50 Questions - Skills test required for bus, school bus and air brakes vehicles..
  • Passenger Endorsement - 20 questions - Skills test required in bus.
  • School Bus Endorsement - 25 questions - Skills test required in school bus.
  • Doubles/Triples Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Tank Vehicle Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement - 30 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Air Brake Restriction Removal - 25 questions - Additional skills test in vehicle with Air Brakes.

Michigan CDL Skills Tests
You will also need to pass a CDL skills test which includes three parts:
  • A vehicle inspection test to measure your ability to perform a vehicle safety check. (A Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Memory Aid is available on the last page of the CDL Manual [Appendix C] and may be used during the test.
  • A basic control skills test.
  • A driving test.
All three tests are conducted during the same testing session, in the order listed above. Each test must be passed before continuing on to the next test. A failure of any one of the skills tests terminates testing. On subsequent attempts, you must start over from the beginning of the test (vehicle inspection test) regardless of which test you previously failed. You are allowed one attempt per day.

You must supply an empty vehicle with a GVWR representative of the type you plan to drive (including a trailer if required), with at least two permanently mounted seats. Safety belts are required for both the driver and examiner (except for the examiner on buses).

Applicants applying for the P-Passenger endorsement must pass skills tests in a bus-type vehicle with a seating capacity of 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

Applicants applying for the S-School bus endorsement must pass skills tests in a school bus-type vehicle with a seating capacity of 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

Michigan CDL (Commercial Driver's License) Fees:
  • Original - $25
  • Renewal - $25
  • Group Endorsement - $5 each

Michigan CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the Michigan Knowledge Tests that are required for the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained in the FREE Michigan CDL Handbook. Please read and study this manual carefully.
  • Class A - 70 Questions (50 GK + 20 Combination Vehicles) - Skills test required.
  • Class B - 50 Questions - Skills test required.
  • Class C - 50 Questions - Skills test required for bus, school bus and air brakes vehicles..
  • Passenger Endorsement - 20 questions - Skills test required in bus.
  • School Bus Endorsement - 25 questions - Skills test required in school bus.
  • Doubles/Triples Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Tank Vehicle Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement - 30 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Air Brake Restriction Removal - 25 questions - Additional skills test in vehicle with Air Brakes.

Classes of Michigan CDL and Required Tests

CDL Class Tests Required Possible Endorsements and Required Tests
Class A
(Combination
vehicle endorsement required)

General Knowledge Written Exam

Combination Endorsement Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
T - Doubles/Triples Written Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class B

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class C

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

Note: If upgrading to a Class C from a Class D, no road test is required UNLESS the endorsement requires one.
H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam

Michigan CDL Endorsements

Exam Time Allowed (Minutes) # of Questions on Exam # of Correct Answers Needed to Pass
General Knowledge 60 50 40
Air Brakes 25 25 20
HazMat 30 30 24
Tank 20 20 16
Passenger 20 20 16
Doubles/Triples 20 20 16
Combination Vehicles 20 20 16
School Bus 20 20 16

Access Official Federal CDL General Information

WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS ARE ASKED ON THE CDL WRITTEN EXAMS?

A tiny sampling of questions from each of the written CDL exams follows . . .

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE EXAM (Required for ALL CDL's)

Steering tires must have a tread depth of at least . . .
A. 2/32 inch.
B. 3/32 inch.
C. 4/32 inch.
D. 5/32 inch.

When driving on wet roads, you should reduce your speed by . . .
A. half the distance from the vehicle in front of you.
B. 1/3.
C. 1/2.
D. 2/3.

You're performing your pre-trip inspection for your CDL test. Where should your ignition key be?
A. In the ignition.
B. In your pocket.
C. With your logbook.
D. In the cab.

TRANSPORTING PASSENGERS, (P) ENDORSEMENT

You must stop at least how far from a drawbridge, if there is no traffic light or attendant?
A. 10 feet.
B. 20 feet.
C. 50 feet.
D. 100 feet.

When stopping for railroad tracks, you must stop no closer than 15 feet before the nearest track.
A. True.
B. False.

AIR BRAKES ENDORSEMENT

The air leakage rate for a combination vehicle with the engine off and the brakes applied should be no more than . . .
A. 1 psi in 15 seconds.
B. 3 psi in one minute.
C. 4 psi in one minute.
D. allowed at lower altitudes.

You "put on the brakes" by . . .
A. pushing down on the brake pedal.
B. pushing down on the foot valve.
C. pushing down on the treadle valve.
D. all of the above.

COMBINATION VEHICLES (Req'd by ALL Class A's)

Every combination vehicle with air brakes has two air lines, the service line and the return line.
A. True.
B. False.

How much visible space should be between the upper and lower fifth wheel plates?
A. None.
B. At least 1/4 inch.
C. No more than 1/2 inch.
D. Approximately 1 inch.

DOUBLES AND TRIPLES, (T) ENDORSEMENT

Driving conditions are good. A 100 foot long combination vehicle traveling at 35 MPH would need how much safe following distance?
A. 8/10 of a minute.
B. 10 seconds.
C. 11 seconds.
D. Two vehicle lengths.

Triple trailers are legal in your State of Residence.
A. True.
B. False.

TANK VEHICLES, (N) ENDORSEMENT

Because liquids expand and contract under different temperatures . . .
A. you must be familiar with the difference between bulkheads and baffles.
B. you must know the outage requirements.
C. you must be prepared for possible surge.
D. you must have a HAZ MAT placard in place.

Bulkheads in a tank and baffles in a tank are the same.
A. True.
B. False.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, (H) ENDORSEMENT

The driver may keep hazardous materials shipping papers . . .
A. behind the left side HAZ MAT placard.
B. in a pouch on the drivers door or on the driver's seat when out of the vehicle.
C. with the shipper until acceptance at the destination.
D. in a secure place that is locked.

What is the minimum distance from a Class 3 (flammable liquids) or Division 2.1 (gases) placarded cargo tank that you may smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe?
A. 10 meters.
B. 25 feet.
C. 100 feet
D. 300 feet.

There is a total of 670 questions on the actual Michigan CDL Course tests, which covers the entire POOL of questions used on the actual CDL examinations. Questions on your ACTUAL TESTS will come from this POOL of questions. Each "CLASS" of CDL and each "ENDORSEMENT" is covered in a separate section. You are required to take only those exams that apply to your driving requirements. The Michigan CDL Course includes complete "self testing" practice tests and "self scoring" BLANK and CORRECT answer sheets.

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