North Carolina CDL FAQs
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NC CDL License Test - FAQs
2021 North Carolina CDL License
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If you need help . . . determining what Class of CDL you need based upon the type
of vehicle you will drive (A, B or C) or are not sure which CDL
Endorsements you need based upon the type of loads you will carry use the
free CDL Selector Tool . . .
Not sure which CDL Tests you need to pass? Use this tool to determine what Class of CDL and which CDL Endorsements you require.
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THE NORTH CAROLINA CDL COURSE PACKAGE COVERS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PASS THE NORTH CAROLINA CDL WRITTEN AND SKILLS TESTS FOR ALL CLASSES OF NORTH CAROLINA CDL AND ALL AVAILABLE NORTH CAROLINA CDL ENDORSEMENTS.
Specific North Carolina CDL Information
North Carolina Commercial Driver License CDL
Classes of North Carolina CDL (Commercial Driver's License)
North Carolina Commercial Class A - Any combination of
vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating, GVWR, of 26,001 pounds or more,
provided the GVWR of the vehicle or vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000
North Carolina Commercial Class B - Any single vehicle
with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, and any such vehicle towing a vehicle
with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
North Carolina Commercial Class C - Any vehicle not described in
Class A or B above but is: Designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including
the driver; or used in the transportation of hazardous materials that require
the vehicle to be placarded under C.F.R., Part 172, Subpart F.
North Carolina CDL Learner Permit
Valid for six months
Limit of two permits in two years
Permit thirty days over their expiration date, the driver is required to retake all written tests
Your North Carolina Commercial Driver license is issued for a period of 5 years.
The cost of a North Carolina license & endorsements is based on the yearly charge.
North Carolina CDL Requirements & Documents
You will need to bring 4 documents total
To avoid inconveniences, make sure you have all necessary documents before visiting the Driver License Office.
In order to apply for the first time issuance of a NC CDL you will need to gather documents from the following categories:
Proof of Age & Identity
Proof of Social Security
Proof of Residency
Proof of Liability Insurance
Proof of Clear Driving Record
At time of application, you must certify that;
Your license is not suspended, disqualified or revoked
You currently do not hold more than one Driver License
CDL Holders Medical & Physical Requirements
Many commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to have medical cards. Those who require medical cards are required to bring them at the time of both the original application and renewal.
If questions arise about a driver's physical condition, the North Carolina DMV
may require the driver to submit a completed medical report, before or after certification,
provided by the North Carolina DMV Driver License Section.
North Carolina CDL Learner Permit - Additional Requirements
You must be at least 18 years of age (21 for operations that require a medical
You must possess a valid Classified A, B, or C Driver License
Will be accompanied by a licensed CDL operator, with the proper class of
license, in the front seat beside you.
North Carolina CDL Tests
North Carolina CDL Written Tests - Written tests are provided at all full service Driver License locations.
North Carolina CDL Skills Tests - Skills tests are provided at many Driver License locations throughout NC. Skills tests are also given by Certified Third Party testers to employees of their company.
North Carolina CDL Fees
Payments for transactions at Driver License Offices are accepted in the form of cash, money order, personal checks. Debit/credit cards are not accepted at this time.
Application Fee - $30.00
CDL Endorsement - $3/yr. per endorsement
Class A License, CDL - $15.00/yr.
Class B License, CDL - $15.00/yr.
Class C License, CDL - $15.00/yr.
Duplicate License - $10.00
Learner Permit, CDL - $15.00
North Carolina CDL Suspensions & Revocations
In addition to the rules that apply to the driving public, North Carolina Commercial
Driver License (CDL) holders are required to follow rules specific to Commercial
Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers in order to comply with the Commercial Motor Vehicle
Safety Act, maintain their CDL license and keep their school bus driving privileges.
North Carolina Commercial Driver License Rules
For a complete listing of rules, view the North Carolina Commercial Driver's Manual,
Section 1. A few key rules include:
No one can drive a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL.
No one can have more than one license. If you break this rule, you can be fined for up to $5000 or put in jail.
Notify your employer and the motor vehicle licensing agency in the state issuing your CDL within 30 days of conviction for any moving traffic violations.
Notify your employer if your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are disqualified from driving.
Give your employer information on all driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years. You must do this when you apply for a commercial driving job.
It is illegal to operate a CMV if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .04% or more. You will lose your CDL for one year for your first offense. You will lose
it for life for your second offense. If your blood alcohol concentration is less than 0.04% but you have any detectable amount, you will be put out-of-service for 24 hours.
Fines for violations of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Out-of-State criteria must be paid when the citation is written.
It is a violation of State law to possess any alcoholic beverage (open or closed) while operating a commercial motor vehicle.
There is a minimum fine of $250 for speeding in highway work zones in addition to any fines or penalties that may be imposed for speeding violations.
There are now minimum limits of insurance requirements for commercial motor vehicles licensed in North Carolina, whether interstate or intrastate, private or "For Hire" in the amount of $750,000.
The court system can double any fine for operators of commercial motor vehicles that violate motor vehicle laws in which points are assessed.
There will be an increase in the number of points assessed to your driving record for motor vehicle law violations including railroad crossing violations and possession of an alcoholic beverage while operating a CMV.
North Carolina CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the North Carolina Knowledge Tests that are required for
the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general
knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed
by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained
in the FREE North Carolina CDL Handbook. Please read and study this
Class A - 70 Questions (50 GK + 20 Combination Vehicles) - Skills test required.
Class B - 50 Questions - Skills test required.
Class C - 50 Questions - Skills test required for bus, school bus and air
Passenger Endorsement - 20 questions - Skills test required in bus.
School Bus Endorsement - 25 questions - Skills test required in school bus.
Doubles/Triples Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
Tank Vehicle Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
What is a CDL?
is a Commercial Drivers License. It meets certain minimum "standards" that
are the same for every state. It differs from the North Carolina "operator's" or "chauffeur's" licenses. It is required if you drive certain
kinds of commercial trucks or buses.
What is the COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1986 (CMVSA/86) administered by the FMCSA?
It is a law passed by the United States Congress which requires ALL the individual states to comply with certain standards in regards to the licensing of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. North Carolina driver licensing standards comply with the law, requiring CMV drivers to obtain a North Carolina Commercial Driver's License (CDL) when driving applicable trucks and buses. A CDL license can ONLY be issued in the driver's STATE OF LEGAL RESIDENCE, and if you have a CDL, you can have NO OTHER DRIVER'S LICENSE in ANY other state.
When do I need a North Carolina CDL instead of my regular North Carolina Drivers License?
A North Carolina CDL is required if you operate any of the following CMV's . . .
1. A vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 lbs.
2. A vehicle towing a unit with a manufacturer's GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. when the GCWR exceeds 26,000 lbs.
3. A vehicle used to . . .(a.) carry 15 or more passengers (excluding the driver), or (b.) carry (15) or less people (including the driver) when carrying children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
4. A vehicle carrying hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding.
What are the eligibility requirements to obtain a North Carolina CDL?
1. You must be 21 years old. (18 years if all commercial driving is done within North Carolina and if no hazardous materials requiring placarding are transported and if you do not drive double or triple trailer rigs).
2. You must be physically capable (in accordance with the MCSR 49 CFR 391.41 Physical Qualifications for Drivers regulations) of obtaining a valid DOT medical examiner's card (before being issued a CDL permit or taking any CDL skills test).
3. You must otherwise qualify for the license based on your driving record. Any of the following will disqualify you from obtaining a North Carolina CDL . . .
* If you possess a license from any state other than North Carolina.
* If you are currently subject to any disqualification of your commercial driving privilege from North Carolina or any other state.
* If your license is currently suspended, revoked, denied, or cancelled.
* If you have a conviction for operating a commercial motor vehicle while impaired in the 24 months immediately preceding application.
* other technical rules, and further restrictions that pertain only to North Carolina are covered in detail within the Course.
How do I obtain a North Carolina CDL?
1. Show your North Carolina driver license.
2. You must take and pass all North Carolina examinations that apply to your license class and endorsement requirements.
3. Show proof of social security number.
4. Meet North Carolina driver record eligibility requirements as determined by the State.
5. Fill out an application including certifications.
6. Provide a DOT medical certificate and pass the required CDL knowledge and vision tests (BEFORE a CDL Temporary Instruction Permit will be issued).
7. Pay the North Carolina CDL fees.
8. Schedule, take, and pass your North Carolina CDL skills test.
A separate booklet is included in the North Carolina CDL Course package which covers information such as fees, locations, contacts, procedures and other items specific to North Carolina for the written and skills examinations for ALL classes of CDL and ALL available endorsements.
What is a CDL "Skills Test" and how do I take it?
A "skills" test is the practical portion of the exam and includes . . .
1. A vehicle inspection test to measure your ability to perform a vehicle safety check.
2. A basic control skills test.
3. A driving test.
The skills test is normally given at an approved third party testing site in your area. This can vary and the latest procedures are indicated in the North Carolina CDL Course.
So let's say I get a North Carolina CDL. Can I use it Out-of-State?
Yes! It is good throughout the entire United States.
Can my North Carolina CDL be suspended or revoked?
Yes, there are MANY reasons that your North Carolina CDL can be suspended or revoked. Improper use of alcohol or drugs, traffic violations, and failure to notify top the list. The Course details ALL of the rules regarding suspension or revocation. The point to remember is that alcohol or drug use is not tolerated and your record WILL FOLLOW YOU THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES FOREVER!!!
So let's say that my North Carolina CDL is revoked. Can't I just apply for a CDL in another State?
No!!! Those days are gone.
Are there any exemptions to being required to have North Carolina CDL?
Yes, a few . . .
1. Active Duty Military . . . with military licenses operating military vehicles.
2. Firefighters . . . meeting approved training standards and operating authorized emergency vehicles.
3. Farmers . . . in certain cases.
4. Individuals ....operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for non business purposes.
What do the terms Class A, Class B, and Class C mean on my North Carolina CDL?
It refers to the type of vehicle that you may operate . . .
CLASS A . . . allows you to operate vehicles which tow trailers or other vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds. A Class "A" license also allows you to operate Class B and C vehicles.
CLASS B . . . allows you to operate single vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more OR a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, towing trailers/vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds GVWR or less. A Class "B" license also allows you to operate Class C vehicles.
CLASS C . . .allows you to operate vehicles under 26,001 lbs. GVWR, that would normally not require a CDL; except when they are designed to transport 16 or more persons including the driver; or that carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation, or carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding. Applicable endorsements are required.
What are Endorsement Codes and when do I need them on my North Carolina CDL?
Endorsements are necessary for certain commercial driving requirements as follows . . .
(T) DOUBLE or TRIPLE TRAILERS.
(P) PASSENGER. For vehicles which are designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver); or those which carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
(N) TANK VEHICLES. For vehicles designed to haul liquids or liquefied gases in bulk in permanently mounted tanks or portable tanks rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
(H) HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. To carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placards.
(X) Endorsement code designating a Tank (N) vehicle that carries Hazardous Materials (H).
I'm over 18 years old, but not 21 years old yet. Can I get a North Carolina CDL license?
Yes . . . with restrictions. You are limited to INTRAstate driving of commercial vehicles (you cannot drive a commercial truck or bus out of North Carolina). You cannot drive a vehicle requiring HAZ MAT placarding, cannot drive double or triple trailer rigs and cannot drive a School Bus with children on board until you turn 21 years of age.
We could go on and on with FAQs but I hope this covers most of your GENERAL questions. Please be assured that the Course answers EVERYTHING that you need to know to obtain ANY or ALL of the available CDL licenses and endorsements in an easy to understand manner. The material is presented in three different ways to reinforce your retention. GOOD LUCK !!