The Requirements for NYS Class C CDL Licenses

Bus drivers in New York must have a Class C license.
Bus drivers in New York must have a Class C license. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

In New York State, a Class C license is required if you drive a vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 lbs. and either is designed to transport 15 or more people or transport hazardous materials. Due to the risk involved in transporting large groups of people or hazardous materials, the requirements for obtaining a Class C license in New York are more stringent than the requirement for a Class A or Class B license.

Basic Requirements

To obtain a Class C license in New York, you must be at least 18 years old and a resident of New York State. You must be 21 years old to drive a bus. If you recently moved from another state and have a Class C license from that state, you can simply exchange that license for a New York State license. Additionally, you must have the ability to converse with others in English and understand traffic signs written in English.

Medical Examination

Federal transportation laws require that drivers of commercial vehicles undergo a medical examination to assess their ability to safely drive a large vehicle. If you have a Class C license, you are required to undergo additional examinations every two years, unless you are a bus driver, in which case you are required to have an annual physical examination.

Written Examination

To take the written examination, you have to go in person to a New York Department of Motor Vehicles office and submit an application and medical examination report. After verifying you meet the minimum requirements for a Class C license, the DMV will give you a written examination. You must score at least 80 percent to pass the examination. The DMV will issue you a learner’s permit after you pass the examination.

Driving Examination

Once you have a learner's permit, you can practice driving a Class C commercial vehicle as long as you have someone with a Class C license accompanying you. After practicing with a Class C vehicle, you can register for the driving skills test by calling the DMV at 518-402-2100 or registering online from the DMV website. You must bring a Class C motor vehicle with you to the examination. To pass, you have to demonstrate your ability to property inspect the vehicle and operate it safely.

Additional Requirements

If you are obtaining a Class C license to drive a bus, there are additional requirements for you to obtain and maintain a license. Your employer must complete an employment background check that goes back at least three years and obtain the driving records for the prior three years. In addition, you must pass an employer-given driving and written examination every two years.

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