The new license requirements are in addition to the DMV's requirements for the commercial drivers' license and do not replace the existing conditions. The California Commercial Driver Handbook Update provides information on the new permit and its requirements.
Getting a New Comercial License
California is phasing in the new licenses by air, rail, and water transport type over three years: highway, rail, and water (including ferries) are required to meet all of the new driver safety requirements on January 1, 2018; the sea was necessary to meet all of them on January 1, 2019; the air is required to meet all of them on January 1, 2020.
The new driver's license will be available at DMV offices statewide beginning January 1, 2017. It is also available online.
The class of a commercial vehicle and the driver are now part of the commercial driver's license (CDL) that must be carried on the person when operating a commercial motor vehicle for hire or contract. This change is made to increase safety for those using these vehicles and was required by federal law.
Drivers applying for a new CDL must meet ALL applicable requirements to become a Commercial Driver's License holder, including vision, written, DMV knowledge tests, and physical ability tests.
To receive a commercial driver's license, commercial drivers with a valid non-commercial driver's license must convert to a CDL and meet ALL requirements, including vision, written, DMV knowledge tests, and physical ability tests.
To receive a commercial driver's license, commercial drivers with an expired non-commercial driver's license must convert to a CDL and meet ALL requirements, including vision, written, DMV knowledge tests, and physical ability tests.
Drivers who need training in new or updated skills will be required to complete the training before renewing their driving privileges. The total number of hours of training remains at 30 hours to combine the course's instruction and behind-the-wheel components.
Drivers with a valid non-commercial driver's license who are getting a commercial driver's support for the first time will be required to do ALL tests, including vision and written.
Drivers who have had a high blood alcohol level in the past ten years must have a breath test before renewing their commercial driving privileges.