The commercial driver's license is mandatory for drivers who aim at operating commercial vehicles across state lines in the United States of America. Commercial vehicles usually include large, heavy, and placarded hazardous materials. The commercial Driver's license is mandatory for any aspirant who wants to operate any combination of vehicles that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds (11,793kg) pounds.
For driving other specialized vehicles like buses or tank trucks or hazardous materials, one must apply for adequate endorsements on the commercial driver's license. The endorsements include passenger(P) which allows carrying passenger vehicles; Tank(T) enabling the operation of commercial trucks that transport liquid or heavy cargo. Lastly(H) hazardous materials that allow the aspirant to operate hazardous materials such as flammable liquids, explosives, or radioactive substances. For getting an (S) school bus endorsement, the individual must undergo a background check and obtain the requisite endorsements under FMCSR Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act. For obtaining a Commercial Driver's license or endorsement the driver trainee must complete training from FMCSA-approved training providers.
|Type of License Classes||Report||Vehicles that you can operate|
|Class A CDL||Requisite for the operation of a combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds provided the towed vehicle is heavier than 10,000 pounds.||Tractor-trailers (semi, Big Rig, or 18-wheeler), truck and trailer combinations, Tanker vehicles, Livestock carriers, and Flatbeds.|
|Class B CDL||Requisite for the operation of any single vehicle without a locked trailer. Commercial trucks that carry a cab or cargo trailer with a combined weight greater than 26,000 pounds, as well as trucks with a detached towed cargo vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds.||Straight trucks, large buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses), Segmented buses, Box trucks (including delivery trucks and furniture trucks), and Dump trucks with small trailers.|
|Class C CDL||Requirements for operating a single combination vehicle with a Gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of less than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds, or transporting 16 or more passengers, including the driver.||Double/Triple Trailers, Buses, Tank trucks, Hazmat vehicles.|
CDL Endorsement Codes and Descriptions
T- California Double/ Triple Trailer Endorsement (Knowledge test required)
- Prepare for the California Double/ Triple Trailers Endorsement CDL written test.
P- California Passenger Endorsement (Knowledge and Skills Tests)
N- California Tank Vehicle Endorsement (Knowledge test only)
H- California Hazardous Materials Endorsement (Knowledge test only)
X- Combination of tank Vehicle and hazardous materials endorsement (Knowledge test only)
- Prepare for the California Combination of tank vehicle and hazardous materials Endorsement "X" CDL written tests.
S- California School Bus Endorsement (Knowledge and Skills Test).
W- Tow truck. (Written Test) in New York State.
The T, P, S, N, H, and X are Federal endorsements namely. The other endorsements have been broadcasted at the state level. The New York DMV requires a "W" endorsement to legally drive a tow truck in New York.
The states may have much more restrictive categories for the classes of licenses or may have additional codes for endorsements or restrictions on CDLs that are not mentioned in the Federal regulations if these items are formally documented on the license documents.
California CLP Endorsements
There are only 3 endorsements that are permitted on the California CLP.
P- The California Passenger Vehicle Endorsement: A California CLP holder with a "P" endorsement is prohibited from driving a CMV carrying passengers, other than Federal/state auditors and inspectors, test examiners, other trainees, and the CDL holder accompanying the California CLP holder under the section 49CFR383.25(a)(1).
S- The California School Bus Endorsement: A California CLP holder with an "S" endorsement is prohibited from operating a school bus with passengers, other than Federal/state auditors and inspectors, test examiners, other trainees, and the CDL holder accompanying the California CLP holder under the section 49CFR383.25(a)(1).
N- The California Tank Vehicle Endorsement: A California CLP holder with an "N" endorsement may only operate an empty tank vehicle and is prohibited from operating any tank vehicle which previously carried hazardous materials which may not have been purged of any residue.