CDL holders must meet certain qualifications regarding age, physical condition, and driving record.
Legal Age Requirements
Drivers must be at least 21 years of age to obtain a CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Applicants who are 18 to 20 years of age may be granted a CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle in intrastate commerce.
Applicants must provide proof of identity, age, residency, and Social Security number. Please refer to the South Dakota Commercial Driver License Manual https://dps.sd.gov/driverlicensing/commercial-drivers-license/cdl-manual or contact a local Driver Licensing office for more information.
Medical Certificate Requirements
Every CDL holder must initially certify on a driver license application form whether they are required to comply with the federal physical qualifications. Drivers typically must meet federal qualifications if they drive a commercial motor vehicle across state lines (interstate) or have a school bus endorsement.Drivers whose status changes (such as from driving only in-state to driving interstate) must visit a driver exam station to update their CDL restrictions.
Drivers who are required to comply with the federal requirements must be physically examined by a medical professional registered with the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. A list of examiners can be found at https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov. The doctor will complete and sign a CDL Medical Certificate, which must be submitted to the state Driver Licensing office. The form can be faxed to (605) 773-3018, scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to Driver Licensing, 118 W. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.
Medical certificates are generally issued for a period of two years, or less if the driver has a medical condition. To avoid temporary disqualification, the driver must submit a new medical certificate to the Driver Licensing office before the current one expires.
Driving Record Requirements
Applicants for a CDL must:
- certify that they do not have a Driver License from more than one state;
- certify that their Driver License is not currently suspended, revoked or canceled in any state, nor subject to any of these actions;
- surrender their current Driver License;
- provide proof of Social Security number;
- provide a certified birth certificate or valid passport; and
- provide two documents proving residency.
Before issuing a license, CDL staff will run a nationwide driving record check.
Drivers renewing their commercial license must:
- provide evidence of a current medical certificate, if operating interstate or driving a school bus;
- pass the hazardous materials knowledge test and complete a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security threat assessment if they wish to renew a hazardous materials endorsement; and
- pay the $33 renewal fee.
CDL Learner’s Permit
A South Dakota commercial learner’s permit (CLP) is issued for a one-year period for behind-the-wheel training on public roads. Applicants for an interstate commercial learner’s permit must be at least 21 years of age and pass the vision and written examinations. Applicants who are 18 to 20 years of age may be granted a CLP to operate a commercial motor vehicle in intrastate commerce only.
A CLP holder who is required to carry a medical certificate must have a current medical examiner’s certificate in possession and must provide the medical certificate to the Driver Licensing Program.
A driver holding a commercial learner’s permit must always be accompanied by another driver who is:
- at least 21 years of age;
- seated next to the driver; and
- licensed for the same commercial classification as the permit holder.
Skill tests are only valid during the duration of the CLP.
Drivers who have a valid CDL from another state and want to transfer their license to South Dakota must:
- complete a South Dakota CDL application within 30 days of becoming a resident
- provide a copy of their medical certificate, if operating interstate or driving a school bus
- certify that they only have one license and that it is not currently revoked, suspended or canceled in any state or subject to any of these actions
- surrender the CDL from the old state of domicile
- provide proof of Social Security number
- provided a certified birth certificate or valid passport
- provide two documents proving residency
Applicants wishing to retain a hazardous materials endorsement must successfully complete a hazardous materials knowledge test, complete a background check, and provide citizenship or immigration status. Further information is provided in the Hazardous Materials Endorsement section.
To change the class or endorsements on a CDL, drivers must:
- complete a new CDL application; and
- pass the knowledge and skill tests that apply.
The fee for a Commercial Driver License is $33 plus $15 for each endorsement on the CDL. Third party testers may charge up to $90 for each attempt to pass the commercial skills test.