How to Obtain a Class B License in California

by David Carnes

A commercial driver's license is a necessity for certain types of jobs. California divides its commercial driver's licenses into classes. With a Class B Commercial Driver's License you may drive a bus (other than a trailer bus), a single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs, a 3-axle vehicle weighing over 6,000 pounds, a farm labor vehicle and any vehicle that a Class C driver is permitted to drive. Below are instructions on how to apply.

Download and complete a Form DL 939, the 10-year history record check. This will verify which driver's licenses you have been issued over the past 10 years so that California can check your driving record. You do not need to complete this form if you have never been issued a driver's license.

Visit the nearest California Department of Motor Vehicles office to pick up Form DL 44C. This form is not available online.

Fill out Form DL 44C.

Take and pass a vision exam. Your vision must be at least 20/40 in each eye in order to qualify for a California Class B Commercial Driver's License.

Download a Medical Examination Report (DL 51), take it to an authorized medical examiner (listed on the form), complete a medical examination, and have the examiner fill out the form and place it in a sealed envelope.

Visit the DMV office again. Turn in your completed forms DL 44C, DL 939, and DL 51, along with the results of your vision exam. Have your thumbprint and photograph taken at the DMV office. Present your Social Security card or other proof of your Social Security number, verify your birth date and legal presence in the United States by presenting identification to the DMV office. The best way to do this is by using a California driver's license. You will need to take and pass a written road test and pay a $64 application fee by cash or credit card. You will be issued a Class B Commercial Driver's Permit, which will allow you to drive Class B vehicles if a licensed Class B driver is present in the vehicle with you.

Practice driving the type of Class B vehicle you are seeking a license to drive in preparation for the road test.

Call the local DMV and make an appointment for a road test.

Bring your vehicle to the road test appointment along with your Class B permit and a photo identification. The DMV will inspect your vehicle and if it passes, you will be allowed to take the road test.

Take the road test. If you pass, you will be issued a temporary 60-day license that you can use until your photo license is mailed to you.

Tip

  • check California has established an alternative to the DMV road test. You may submit a Certificate of Driving Skill (DL 170) issued by your employer if the DMV has authorized your employer to issue one.

Warning

  • close Under federal law, you must be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle across a state line. There are also certain additional qualifications necessary for a Class B driver to drive a bus or a farm labor vehicle.

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About the Author

David Carnes has been a full-time writer since 1998 and has published two full-length novels. He spends much of his time in various Asian countries and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.