Nevada’s Commercial Driver’s License Laws

The requirements to obtain a Nevada CDL and the reasons for disqualification.

As in all other states, Nevada requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Depending on the type of CMVs, a Nevada operator must hold the right class of CDL and possibly have CDL endorsements. Each class and endorsement has unique requirements and tests. This article outlines the process to obtain a CDL and the consequences of violating CMV laws.

When a CDL is Required

A CDL is required to operate any non-exempt CMV. A CMV is any vehicle (including towed trailers) weighing 26,001 or more pounds or designed to transport hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers.

Commerical License Classes

There are three classes of CDLs based on the weight of the truck and/or trailer(s).

Combined Weight

Tractor Weight

Trailer(s) Weight

Class A

26,001 or more pounds

26,001 or more pounds

Over 10,000 pounds

Class B

26,001 or more pounds

26,001 or more pounds

Not over 10,000 pounds

Class C

Less than 26,001 pounds

Less than 26,001 pounds

Not over 10,000 pounds

The CMV’s weight must be within the stated CDL weight limits. For example, a class B CDL cannot be used to haul a trailer over 10,000 pounds, but a class A CDL can be used to haul any weight.

Endorsements. While the CDL classes govern CMV weight, endorsements are used to authorize special cargo like hazardous materials. Each endorsement requires additional testing, requirements, and possible background checks.

Restrictions. The state can also place certain restrictions on the CDL based on age, experience, or health issues of the driver. Drivers under the age of 21 are issued an “R” restriction, which prohibits carrying passengers, hazardous materials, and operating out-of-state.

Medical card. Non-exempt CMV operation also requires a medical examiner’s certificate, indicating the driver’s physical health is adequate to operate a CMV. Failure to maintain a medical card will result in CDL cancelation.

CDL Testing

Commercial learner’s permits. A commercial learner permit (CLP) is required to obtain a CDL. The applicant must be a Nevada resident, be at least 18 years old, and pass the vision test and written knowledge examination. The CLP allows the holder to operate a CMV under the direct supervision of a licensed commercial driver who’s at least 25 years old and has at least one year of CDL experience.

Commercial driver’s licenses. After holding a CLP for at least 14 days, the applicant can take the driving skills test to obtain a CDL. The driving skills test can be waived for drivers with prior military CMV experience.

CDL Revocation and Disqualification

Failure to follow any of the many CMV-related rules can result in fines and license revocation.

Serious traffic offenses. The commission of multiple “serious traffic violations” within three years will result in CDL revocation: Having two violations in three years results in a 60-day revocation and having three or more violations results in a 120-day revocation. Serious traffic violations include speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the limit, reckless driving, erratic lane changes, following a vehicle too closely, texting in a CMV, and any traffic violation involving a fatality. Unlicensed driving and driving without a CDL in possession are also serious traffic violations.

Out-of-service orders. Certain safety violations can result in law enforcement issuing an immediate, but temporary, out-of-service order (OSO). Operating during an OSO will result in a revocation period and fine dependent on the number of prior offenses in the last ten years.

  • First offense. 180-day to one-year license revocation (180 days to 2 years if in hazmat or passenger vehicle designed for 16 or more passengers), up to $3,174 in fines, and up to $1,895 in civil penalties.
  • Second offense. Two-to-five-year license revocation (three to five years if in hazmat or passenger vehicle designed for 16 or more passengers), up to $6,348 in fines, and up to $1,895 in civil penalties.
  • Third or subsequent offense. Three-to-five-year license revocation, up to $6,348 in fines, and up to $1,895 in civil penalties.

An employer that knowingly permits an OSO violation can face $5,732 to $31,737 in fines and up to $18,943 in civil penalties.

Major offenses. A CDL will be revoked for one year upon a “major offense” conviction. Major offenses include chemical test refusal, DUI (driving under the influence), driving a CMV with a blood alcohol content of .04% or more, leaving the scene of an accident, negligently causing a CMV-related fatality, driving while revoked, and using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony. The CDL will be permanently revoked for any subsequent major offense, for certain sex offenses, or for using a CMV in the commission of controlled substance distribution or human trafficking.

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