When to Get Your CDL Renewed.

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by Joshua on May 03, 2013
Tags: CDL renewed

Your Commercial Drivers License or CDL must be current and valid at all times while operating any commercial vehicle in the United States as well as other countries. Most police patrol cars are equipped to know if you have a valid CDL license whether you are carrying it with you or not, and many states require you have it on you at all times regardless. If you are involved in a collision or accident while driving with a suspended or expired CDL, the fines and penalties are more severe and could possible find you with a law suit.

It is important to keep your CDL valid and current at all times to avoid the negative consequences that might occur.

When Should I Renew My CDL in The United States?

The laws regarding the time of renewal vary slightly depending on the state in which you received your CDL license. For most states you must renew your Commercial Drivers License every four years. Some states such as Michigan require you to renew your Commercial Drivers License on the date you received it, while others consider your renewal date to be your birthday. The following are a few states that this renewal varies:

  • Alaska, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota all have an expiration of five years from your birthday. You may renew anytime after your birthday prior to the year of expiration.
  • The state of Virginia has a renew time of 8 years from your birthday.

Reasons to renew Your CDL in the United States

In addition to the regular scheduled renewal date of your CDL, there are some other situations that may require you to renew. Assure that you are driving your commercial vehicle with all of the correct required certifications at all times, and that you are in compliance with all state and federal rules. The following are some special situations that you should renew your Commercial Driver’s License:

  • If you need to add a new endorsement to an existing CDL. An example would be the “Hazardous Materials Endorsement”, which is required to haul anything deemed a hazardous material by state and federal authorities.
  • To have an air brake restriction removed from your Commercial Drivers License.
  • If you wish to upgrade your CDL to a new group designator.
  • To change your current Federal category to one of the following:
  1. Non-excepted Interstate
  2. Excepted Interstate
  3. Non-excepted Intrastate
  4. Excepted Intrastate

If you are transferring to another state for your CDL, many states require that you renew or recertify before being granted a new CDL for that state.

How do the New Federal Laws Requiring a Medical Certificate Affect My Renewal?

Starting January 30, 2012 federal law now requires that all CDL holders needed to provide information to their SDLA regarding what type of motor vehicle operation that they drive or are expecting to drive in. Drivers transporting certain types of commerce will be required to submit a medical examiner’s certificate showing that they have a “certified” medical status. You may provide this new information when you renew you CDL if it is before January 30, 2014. If you do not have a renewal before this date, you must renew your CDL with the updated information before the time expires. The types of commerce requiring this medical certificate vary by state please check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles for the list of commerce that this requires.

How to Renew Your CDL if it is Expired, Suspended or Previously Revoked

In most states if your CDL has been expired or revoked for more than one year, you are required to retake the written skills test. Some require you recertify completely and complete all proper forms including the new Medical Certificate. If your license has been suspended in any state, you must complete the requirements in order to reinstate your driving privileges before you can renew. In addition, federal law requires that you recertify if your license has been expired for more than two years.

There are many reasons to renew your CDL license through out the United States, and it is important to keep it valid at all times. Remember to check with your state officials to see if your commerce falls under the category of new Federal law and if you need a Medical Certificate. You’ll need to take extra steps if you will be hauling hazardous waste materials or other special goods that require extra certifications or if your Commercial Drivers License has been expired for over two years. Take all necessary steps to assure you have a proper CDL at all times on the road to avoid law suits or other severe penalties and fines in the event of an accident.

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