You do not need a CDL to operate any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (or, if towing another vehicle a gross combination weight rating) of 26,000 pounds or less, unless the vehicle is carrying hazardous materials in quantities that require display of hazmat placards.
For trucks and truck tractors with a Pennsylvania farm vehicle registration or certificate of exemption that have a gross weight rating (or combination weight rating) over 26,000 pounds, the driver is exempt CDL license requirements if:
1. The driver has a Class C License.
2. The farm vehicle is being operated in accordance with the restrictions in use that apply to the vehicle.
3. The farm vehicle is either (i) being operated within the Pennsylvania 1, or (ii) if operated out-of-state, is being operated within a radius of 150-air miles (172.6 road miles) of the farm for which the registration or certification was issued. 2
4. The vehicle is not carrying hazardous materials in quantities that require display of hazmat placards.
Recent amendments to Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code also recognize that drivers of out-of-state vehicles with farm use restrictions comparable to Pennsylvania farm vehicles are exempt from CDL requirements when the vehicle is being operated within a radius 150 of air miles (172.6 road miles) of the vehicle’s farm.
A CDL license is required when operating: (i) any non-farm commercial vehicle that has a gross weight rating (or combination weight rating) over 26,000 pounds; or (ii) any vehicle carrying hazardous materials in quantities that require display of hazmat placards.
Federal regulations require all Pennsylvania drivers applying for a new CDL or renewal of a CDL license after December 20, 2015 to appear in person at an authorized state office and provide documents that prove (1) the driver is a U.S. citizen or is legally authorized to be present the U.S. and (2) the driver is a resident of Pennsylvania. The driver will only be required to perform these activities one time. Documents that will be accepted as verifying U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S. and Pennsylvania residency are listed in the PennDOT fact sheet Summary of Updates to Commercial Driver’s Permits and License. You can obtain a copy of this fact sheet online through the link provided below.
PennDot CDL Resources
- PennDOT Commercial Drivers Center Online
- PennDOT CDL Fact Sheet
- PennDOT CDL Application Form (DL-31CD)
- Summary of Updates to Commercial Driver's Permits and License
- Section 1606(b)(5), as amended in Act 170 of 2014.
- Amendment to federal transportation law, enacted in 2012 under MAP-21.