Change aligns Minnesota CDL testing rules with federal requirements

For the past decade, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has required commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders to complete the general knowledge, passenger and school bus knowledge exams when applying for a commercial learners’ permit (CLP) to receive a school bus endorsement. 

With extensive research, MDPS’s Driver & Vehicle Services has found that requirement is not a federal/state or rule requirement. Effective Aug. 1, 2023, DVS has eliminated the need for CDL holders to retake the general knowledge to receive a CLP. This change will be applicable to all current CDL holders and will align with the 2023 DVS legislative initiative that also was implemented on Aug. 1 to eliminate the Class D knowledge exam for new-to-state and other situations when reinstatements occur. 

What this means

Here are examples of how the new rule will take effect:

  • Any current or previous CDL holder wanting to obtain a CLP will not be required to take the general knowledge test to obtain the CLP.
  • The customer will only be able to skip the general knowledge test where applicable.
  • The customer must take all knowledge tests that apply to the vehicle they are testing in. For illustration, if the individual is testing in a school bus with air brakes, these would be components of the required knowledge test: air brakes, passenger and school bus.
  • The customer must take all applicable knowledge tests when adding an endorsement for the first time.

At this time, DVS is able to waive the general knowledge test for only current/past CDL holders; all other requirements for obtaining a CLP follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations as specified in CFR 383.71.  

Those with questions about the rule change can reach out to Brad Hickerson at

Share this post