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Which State Has the Hardest CDL Test?


Which State Has the Hardest CDL Test?

Identifying the state with the most difficult commercial driver's license (CDL) test is difficult due to the variability in testing standards and lack of direct comparisons. However, factors such as stringent requirements, detailed knowledge tests, comprehensive skills assessments, and strict scoring criteria can affect the difficulty of the CDL test in different states.

The CDL tests are designed to ensure that drivers meet a national standard, while each state has the flexibility to apply the test in accordance with federal rules. This means that despite possible differences in the methods of conducting and evaluating the tests, they are all based on a common set of requirements aimed at ensuring that commercial vehicle drivers have the necessary knowledge and skills.

We've identified the top 3 states that have difficulty in passing the SDL: they are Washington, Massachusetts, and Illinois


According to our data, Washington is the most difficult state in the country to get a driver's license. weighed several factors, including the cost of the test, the passing score required to pass the tests, how many times you can retake the written and driver's exams after failing before reapplying, and the difficulty of the road test.

Washington has some of the most expensive tests in the country. They vary by city and testing location, but in Seattle, a typical test costs $85 ($15 for a license and $70 for tests).

To pass the written exam, an 80 percent score is required - as in other states, but without a second chance. Washington also evaluates the driving test based on 19 maneuver elements, including parallel parking, hill parking, and reversing around a corner. This is the highest indicator in the country, and also does not allow for a retake of a failed test without reapplying.

Prepare for the Washington CDL exam with our free tests https://startcdl.com/quiz-landing/washington


Massachusetts is the second hardest state to pass the exam in terms of totals. Massachusetts has a pre-trip inspection and you have to get under the truck three times. First you have to pass 5 brake system tests, then a truck cab inspection. Then another 5 brake system tests directly from the cab. After that you will have to do a few maneuvers, drive forward, backward, parallel blind and side view, dock, and route. Then the road test will already follow. You must complete the pre-trip inspection and maneuvers in 1 hour and 30 minutes or the officer will not release you for the road test. Please note: Beginning October 1, 2020, you may be required to obtain a "REAL" ID card, which will be required to visit federal offices or board an airplane.

Remember, our road test includes highway driving, not just maneuvering in a lot. The minimum trailer length for the exam is 45 feet. Additionally, in Massachusetts, there is very little space for maneuvers. During parking in both the visibility and blind zones, there are only 7 feet of extra space in front and behind, and one and a half feet on each side. The same one and a half feet on each side applies for changing lanes/backing up and entering an alley. During all maneuvers, the trailer must remain within a special box. You will have only 2 chances to make a mistake before crossing the boundaries of this box.

Prepare for the Massachusetts CDL exam with our free tests https://startcdl.com/quiz-landing/massachusetts


In Illinois there are fairly strict rules for obtaining a CDL license. Our students without proper English language skills have encountered problems when trying to pick up their plastic license. It is better to prepare ahead of time for the hike and learn basic phrases and terminology that you may need to explain yourself to the officer. Note that you will be issued a Class A CLP, which you must keep for 14 days before the skills test is conducted. If the CLP was issued before February 7, 2022 and has been in effect for one year, you must renew the CLP and take the ELDT before a CDL will be issued.

These factors together make the process of obtaining a CDL in Illinois more complex and demanding compared to some other states. However, such measures are aimed at ensuring road safety and preparing qualified drivers for work in the field of commercial transportation.

Prepare for the Illinois CDL exam with our free tests https://startcdl.com/quiz-landing/illinois


Obtaining a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) in the United States can be complicated due to several factors:
  • Strict Federal and State Requirements: The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) sets the basic requirements for obtaining a CDL, which may be supplemented by additional state-specific regulations. This includes mandatory training, theory and practical exams
  • Medical Restrictions: Drivers must pass a medical examination to prove their physical fitness to drive a commercial vehicle
  • Background and Driving History Checks: Criminal background, drug and alcohol checks, and driving history analysis may exclude some applicants
  • Difficulty of Exams: The theory exam covers a wide range of topics, while the practical exam requires demonstration of skills in driving a heavy vehicle in a variety of conditions
How best to prepare for obtaining a CDL:
  • Study CDL Driving Manuals: Start by thoroughly studying your state's CDL driving manual, which covers all the topics required for the theory test
  • Professional Training: Enrolling in a course at an authorized driver training school can greatly improve your practical skills and knowledge
  • Practice Exam Questions: Use online resources and CDL test practice apps to get used to the question format
  • Health and Fitness: Maintain good physical and mental health to get a medical checkup

Obtaining a CDL in the USA is a complex process that requires significant effort, time, and preparation. These measures are designed to ensure road safety by preparing qualified and responsible commercial vehicle drivers. With a proper approach to preparation and taking all requirements into account, candidates can successfully obtain their CDL, opening up new professional opportunities in the field of transportation.

If you fail, we strongly recommend that you practice for the free tests, either by contacting instructors at a driving school to improve your driving skills or by getting a better understanding of the tests themselves. You can do this on our website https://startcdl.com/quiz-landing. If you need additional help, our managers will contact you and answer any questions you may have

Written by Max Smith

An experienced driver with a wealth of knowledge in the field of truck driving. With years of expertise behind the wheel and a deep understanding of the intricacies of trucking, Max is uniquely qualified to provide valuable insights and guidance on the topic of truck driver training. As an avid advocate for safe and efficient trucking practices, Max is dedicated to sharing valuable information and helping aspiring truck drivers excel in their careers.


Nine years of experience
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