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Beginners Guide to Commercial Driving in Washington State

  • skylinecdlschool
  • skylinecdlschool
  • skylinecdlschool

Like many CDL A holders in transportation and logistics business, I also became interested in obtaining a CDL license. However, due to the ever-changing State and Federal mandates, the process is not as easy as it seems. Simply walking into the Department of Licensing will not provide you with all the answers you need, particularly when you are unaware of what you don’t know.

This post is a "starter guide" for obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL) in Washington State. We will explore the Commercial Driver Guide on the official Department of Licensing (DOL) website. Let's dive in!

Commercial Driver Guide Overview: The Commercial Driver Guide offered by the Washington State Department of Licensing covers everything you need to know about obtaining and maintaining a commercial driver's license (CDL) in the WA state. This guide is a valuable resource that equips aspiring commercial drivers with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in their profession.

Accessing the Guide: To access the Commercial Driver Guide, simply visit the official website of the Washington State Department of Licensing by following this link: Commercial Driver Guide. The guide is available in a printable format, making it convenient for both online and offline reference.

Contents of the Guide: The Commercial Driver Guide contains a wealth of information including:


  1. Commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements: Learn about the prerequisites and steps to obtain a CDL in Washington State.

  2. Skills test overview: Understand the components and expectations of the CDL skills test, which assesses your competence behind the wheel.

  3. State CDL laws and regulations: Familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations governing commercial driving in Washington State.

  4. Types of commercial vehicles and operation guidelines: Gain insights into the different types of commercial vehicles and the guidelines related to their safe operation.

  5. Safe driving tips and techniques: Discover essential tips and techniques to ensure safe driving practices on the road.

  6. Safe transportation guidelines for passengers and cargo: Learn about the protocols and regulations for transporting passengers and cargo safely and securely.

  7. Hazardous materials: Get acquainted with the procedures, regulations, and safety precautions associated with transporting hazardous materials.

New Supplemental Guide: Please note that a new supplemental guide has been available since end of August. This guide includes updated testing criteria for the Vehicle Inspection and Basic Control segments of the CDL skills test. It is crucial for those planning to take the test on or after October 1, 2023, to study and train using the new supplemental guide.

New skills test requirements: In addition to the valuable resources provided by the Washington State Department of Licensing in their Commercial Driver Guide, it is important to note that there will be new skills test requirements implemented starting October 1, 2023. These changes are a result of the adoption of AAMVA’s CDL Modernized Skills Test.

The CDL Modernized Skills Test brings modifications and simplification specifically to the Vehicle Inspection and Basic Control segments of the test. It is important to familiarize yourself with these changes if you are planning to take the CDL skills test after October 1, 2023.

It is crucial to mention that the new testing criteria will solely apply to approved schools and employer training providers.

These changes signify an ongoing commitment by the Washington State Department of Licensing to ensure that commercial drivers receive the most up-to-date and comprehensive testing standards. Stay informed about the new skills test requirements and prepare accordingly for a successful CDL examination.

Contacting the Department of Licensing: For any additional assistance or inquiries, you can reach out to the Washington State Department of Licensing through the following channels:


Contact Skyline CDL School:


Conclusion: To embark on a successful commercial driving career in Washington State, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the requirements, regulations, and skills necessary for the job. The Commercial Driver Guide provided by the Washington State Department of Licensing serves as a comprehensive and reliable resource to equip aspiring commercial drivers with the knowledge and confidence they need to excel. Take advantage of this valuable guide and contact for your CDL training needs.

Want to obtain your CDL? We're happy to help...
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