Who Needs a 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.
- Designed to transport 16 or more people (including the driver)
- 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.
The following people do not need a 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.
Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual