What is a Commercial Learner’s Permit?

In order to become a truck driver, you will need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). In the process of earning this license, you will need to take a written test and a skills test. After passing the written exam, you will earn your commercial learner’s permit, also called a CLP or CDL permit. This is an important step to starting a career in the trucking industry.

More information about CLPs:

When Do You Earn Your Commercial Learner’s Permit?

After you pass the written portion of the CDL exam, you will earn your CLP. In order to pass, you must answer 80% of the questions on the general knowledge test correctly. This exam covers material related to basic commercial vehicle safety and operation. You can take additional tests if you wish to earn endorsements and there is also a section about air brakes that you will need to pass to remove this restriction.

What Do You Need to Get a CLP?

In New Mexico, you will need to provide the following documents to obtain your commercial learner’s permit:

  • Proof of identity and citizenship or lawful permanent residence
  • Social security card
  • Medical certification from a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, which can be stored electronically or as a hard copy
  • Two verifiable proofs of physical residency in New Mexico (bank statement, lease agreement, utility bill, mortgage documents, etc.)
  • A valid New Mexico driver’s license

What Can You Do With a CDL Permit?

A commercial learner’s permit allows you to operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roadways as long as there is a CDL holder in the passenger seat. This person must be licensed for the specific type of vehicle you are driving. This is important so you can get on-the-road experience before you take your CDL skills test.

How Long is a CLP Good For?

A commercial learner’s permit is valid for 180 days. If you have not earned your CDL by this time, you may need to retake the written test to renew your permit.

How Do You Earn Your CDL?

After obtaining your CLP, you will need to wait at least 14 days to take your CDL skills test. This will include assessments of your ability to complete a pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control skills, and on-the-road driving. If you pass all of these portions of the exam, you will need to provide your skills test scores, driver’s license, and commercial learner’s permit to the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) in order to receive your CDL.

The Value of CDL Training

While it is possible to study for the written CDL test on your own, it can be difficult to get the supervision and support you need to practice driving with your commercial learner’s permit. Attending truck driving school allows you to learn from experienced instructors, in addition to giving you access to resources such as job placement assistance.

Start Your Trucking Career

To learn more about the process of earning your commercial learner’s permit and CDL, contact us today.

What to Expect During a DOT Physical

In order for your commercial driver’s license (CDL) to be valid, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that you complete a medical examination every two years at minimum. This DOT physical helps ensure that you are healthy enough to perform the job duties of a truck driver.

Who Can Perform a DOT Physical?

A DOT physical can be performed by any medical professional on the DOT’s list of certified medical examiners. If you have a current primary care physician (PCP), they can perform this exam in many cases, although you will need to ask them to make sure.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

Bringing the proper information with you can help make your appointment go more smoothly. If you are seeing a physician other than your PCP, have your doctor’s contact information available. You should also have contact information for any other medical professionals you are seeing, as well as documentation regarding any health conditions you may have. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure your prescription is up to date and bring this to your DOT physical as well as your corrective lenses. You should also be prepared to tell your medical examiner about any medications you are taking as well as your medical history.

What a DOT Physical Includes


Your doctor will test your vision to ensure that it is at least 20/40. This can be with or without corrective lenses.


The physician will also check your hearing. You must have a hearing loss of less than 40dB in whichever ear is better, with or without hearing aids.

Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate

Your examiner will check your blood pressure and pulse rate. If these are not within the healthy range, further monitoring may be necessary for you to drive commercially.


DOT physicals include a urine test, which checks for diabetes and other health conditions. This is separate from the required drug testing. However, it is possible for the doctor to collect two samples, one to check for medical conditions and the other to check for the presence of controlled substances. If this is the case, they will inform you of all the necessary steps you will need to take during the testing process.

Full Physical Examination

In addition to the tests above, the doctor will conduct a complete physical examination. They will check for any indications that you are unable to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle. This includes checking your heart, lungs, neurological function, et cetera.

Conclusion of Your DOT Physical

After completing the exam, your doctor will fill out the required forms and send these directly to the state’s licensing agency. If you pass the DOT physical, you will be cleared to operate a commercial vehicle for the next two years. You can also be approved to drive, but be required to return for follow-up exams more frequently, such as every 6 months or every year. If you do not meet necessary physical requirements, your CDL will not be valid. However, there are several options for how to move forward, depending on the specific reason you did not pass the physical. Your doctor can help clarify what your next steps should be.

Prepare for Your Trucking Career

If you are ready to begin your career in the trucking industry, we can help you get started. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the process and what you can expect when earning your CDL.

To learn more about Phoenix Truck Driving School, contact us today.