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Commercial Driver FAQs in Florida

The process of getting a commercial driver's license, and then driving a commercial vehicle, is much more complicated than that for a regular Florida driver's license. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers to help you navigate the terrain of CDLs in Florida.

Florida CDL General Info

Who is responsible for setting guidelines for commercial drivers in Florida?

Commercial driver licensing typically follows federal standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In Florida, these guidelines are then enforced by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT).

Which commercial driver's license (CDL) classification do I apply for?

The CDL class you need is determined by the vehicle you will want to operate. Florida follows the guidelines set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Visit our guide to CDL Classifications for details on Class A, B, and C commercial driver's license requirements.

I have an intrastate CDL. Do I have to get a different CDL to haul to a neighboring state?

Yes. An intrastate CDL is only good within the state of Florida; you will need to obtain an interstate CDL to cross state lines with your commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

Since the requirements for an interstate CDL are different, you'll need to submit a different application that may require a Medical Examiner's Certificate. See below for age requirements for interstate and intrastate CDLs in Florida.

I have an intrastate CDL. Do I have to get a different CDL to haul to a neighboring state?

Yes. An intrastate CDL is only good within the state of Florida; you will need to obtain an interstate CDL to cross state lines with your commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

Since the requirements for an interstate CDL are different, you'll need to submit a different application that may require a Medical Examiner's Certificate. See below for age requirements for interstate and intrastate CDLs in Florida.

Can some commercial vehicles be driven without a CDL in Florida?

Yes, state laws exempt some vehicles falling under the definition of a commercial vehicle from requiring a CDL. These include:

  • Military vehicles.
  • Authorized emergency vehicles.
  • Some farming vehicles.
    • You must stay within a radius of 150 miles from your farm.
  • Recreational vehicles, such as those designed for:
    • Temporary living quarters.
    • Camping.
    • Personal travel.

CDL Application Questions

Is there a minimum age to obtain a commercial driver's license in Florida?

Age requirements vary based on whether or not you will be driving interstate (across state lines) or intrastate (within Florida only).

  • Interstate minimum age: 21 years old.
  • Intrastate minimum age: 18 years old.

What tests are required to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in Florida?

The tests you take depend on the vehicle you intend to drive. To operate some vehicles you will need an additional endorsement, which may involve more testing. The breakdown for each written test you may be required to take is below:

  • General knowledge test: Required by all applicants.
  • Passenger transport test: Required if you intend to operate a bus.
  • Air brake test: If the vehicle you intend to operate is equipped with air brakes, this knowledge test will be required.
  • Combination vehicle test: Required if you will be operating combination vehicles, such as a tractor-trailer.
  • Hazardous materials test: Required in order to haul hazardous materials.
  • Tank vehicle test: If you'll need to haul liquid or gaseous materials in a tank, this test will be required.
  • Double/triple trailer test: If you plan to pull more than one trailer, this additional test will be required.
  • School bus test: Required in order to operate a school bus in Florida.

Once you've passed the required knowledge tests, you may take the skills test for the CDL and endorsement you are applying for. The skills test will include:

  • A pre-trip vehicle inspection.
  • Demonstration of basic vehicle control.
    • Includes operating the vehicle within a defined area.
  • On road examination.

Our pages on CDL Classifications and Endorsements & Restrictions may also help.

Will I need to submit additional paperwork for a hazardous materials endorsement?

Yes. In order to receive a HAZMAT endorsement, federal requirements state that all applicants will be subject to fingerprinting as well as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check.

Visit our page on HAZMAT endorsements for full details.

Where can I get skills training for my CDL examinations?

Though not offered directly through the Florida DHSMV, there are a number of state-approved third-party companies who can prepare you for each test you'll be required to take. Some companies may even be authorized to administer these tests at the end of your training period.

My CDL is expiring in the next few months. What are the medical requirements needed for renewal?

Federal regulations require new Florida CDL applicants as well as those renewing a CDL to certify into one of the four interstate/intrastate categories. Which category you fall into determines whether or not you must meet federal and/or state medical requirements.

The four categories are as follows:

  • Non-excepted interstate:
    • Operates in interstate commerce.
    • Must meet all federal medical requirements.
  • Excepted interstate:
    • Operates in interstate commerce.
    • Qualifies for federal medical exemption.
  • Non-excepted intrastate:
    • Operates in intrastate commerce.
    • Must meet all state medical requirements.
  • Excepted intrastate:
    • Operates in intrastate commerce.
    • Qualifies for the state medical exemption.

Visit the FMCSA's guide to self-certification for details specific to your situation, and for instructions on how to submit your certificate to the FLHSMV.

CDL Suspensions & Revocations

I've been charged with consumption of alcohol while operating a CMV. What's going to happen to my CDL license?

In the state of Florida, alcohol-related offenses will result in a suspension of your license for the following periods:

  • 1st offense: At least 1 year.
    • At least 3 years or more while operating a CMV with a HAZMAT placard.
  • 2nd offense: Life.

I was charged with excessive speeding in a CMV. Will I lose my Florida CDL?

Not necessarily. Florida will suspend your CDL for a minimum of 60 days once you accumulate 2 violations or more that are considered serious traffic offenses within 3 years.

If you've had 3 violations or more within 3 years that are considered serious, your CDL license may be suspended for a minimum of 120 days.

In addition to excessive speeding, other examples of serious traffic violations in Florida include:

  • Reckless driving.
  • Improper lane changes.
  • Following another vehicle without maintaining a safe distance.
  • Driving a CMV without the proper CDL class.
  • Driving a CMV without the required endorsements.


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