You must be at least 16 years of age, have completed driver education, and passed a chauffeur license knowledge test before a chauffeur license can be issued. You can take the chauffeur license knowledge test at any Secretary of State branch office. There is a $35 fee for the license. No skills test is required, unless you have never been licensed.
Unless exempt (as explained below) a chauffeur license is required if you:
Are employed for the principal purpose of operating a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more. (See note below.)
Operate a motor vehicle as a carrier of passengers or as a common or contract carrier of property.
Operate a bus or a school bus.
Operate a taxi or limousine.
Note: Michigan law considers someone to be employed for the principal purpose of operating a motor vehicle "when the person's employment customarily involves the necessary use of a motor vehicle for hire or for transporting passengers for hire, or for transporting for gain or hire any merchandise for display, sale, or delivery." (MCL 257.6(2))
Some drivers do not need a chauffeur license:
- A farmer or farmer's employee operating a vehicle exclusively in connection with the farming operation.
- A fire fighter or a member of a fire department operating an ambulance.
- A fire fighter or police officer operating equipment used exclusively in connection with their employment.
- Utility company employees hired to drive trucks used to transport employees, materials, and tools.
- Service or repair personnel who operate motor vehicles to carry their tools and transport parts or appliances only incidentally in connection with their employment.
- Emergency medical services personnel operating an ambulance.
- County road commission employees and other employees of local units of government who do not drive their own vehicles and whose work consists of hauling road building materials and supplies for the road commission or for other municipal purposes.
- Michigan Department of Transportation employees whose work consists of operating vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more to transport highway and bridge maintenance materials and supplies for state trunkline maintenance.
- A person operating a motor vehicle for a volunteer program who only receives reimbursement for vehicle operating costs.
- A person who operates a motor home for personal pleasure.
- A parent or parent's designee for the purpose of transporting pupils to or from school and school-related events.
Drivers who need a chauffeur license may also need a Commercial Driver License (CDL) to operate:
A vehicle towing a trailer or other vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more when the GCWR is 26,001 pounds or more.
A vehicle (including buses) having a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.
A vehicle under 26,001 pounds GVWR that:
Is designed to carry 16 or more persons (including the driver)
Carries hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding.
If you need a CDL, contact a Secretary of State branch office. Also, in some instances, even though a chauffeur license is not required, a CDL may be needed.
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