Special Licenses in Florida
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To operate a standard passenger vehicle in the state of Florida, you'll need a basic Class E driver's license. However, if you need to drive certain commercial or passenger vehicles for work, you may need to apply for a special license or endorsement with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
Florida Commercial Driver's License
To operate commercial vehicles in Florida, it may be necessary to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL).
Which CDL classification (Class A, B, or C) you need to apply for will depend primarily upon:
- The weight of the vehicle.
- The number of passengers the vehicle can safely transport.
- Whether or not the vehicle carries hazardous materials.
For some vehicles, an endorsement may also be required in addition to a CDL. Examples of vehicles which may require a CDL or endorsement to operate in Florida include:
- Tractor trailers.
- Passenger buses, including:
- City buses.
- School buses.
- Vehicles transporting hazardous materials.
For more information on application steps and requirements, please visit:
Florida For-Hire Licensing Requirements
For-hire drivers in Florida—such as chauffeurs, taxi drivers, and limousine operators—are not required to obtain a special license in Florida. However, there may be rules and regulations governing for-hire drivers that are enforced by local governments within the state.
In addition, the company you work for may have additional requirements before you will be allowed to operate within a certain city or county.
Though the exact process will vary depending on the company you work for and the city you live in, here are some of the criteria that for-hire drivers MAY be expected to meet in order to qualify:
- Have a valid state-issued driver's license.
- Complete a for-hire application provided by the company you'll be working for.
- May be specific to your county of residence.
- Obtain a copy of your Florida driving record.
- Submit your application to your city or county's public transportation commission.
- Have your photo and fingerprints taken at your local sheriff's office.
- Agree to a criminal background check and/or drug test.
- Attend safety and driver training classes.
- Some cities may require a defensive driving certificate.
- Training may also be provided by the company you intend to work for.
- Pass a written examination.
- Usually given by the city or county.
- Pay any required fees.
There are also different requirements should you wish to be part of a transportation network company (TNC) such as Uber or Lyft. Visit our guides on ridesharing for more information:
Other Vehicle Requirements
Most all-terrain and off-road sport vehicles do not have additional licensing requirements in Florida. The following vehicles are exempt from obtaining a CDL in Florida:
- Authorized emergency vehicles.
- Military vehicles.
- Some farming vehicles.
- Recreational vehicles (RVs).
- Straight trucks used for transporting personal property.
However, some vehicles allowed to be driven on public roads may require a motorcycle license. Before buying a new vehicle, make sure to ask your dealer what requirements may be involved.
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