Commercial Driver FAQs in North Carolina
Get Free Commercial Auto Insurance Quotes from Multiple Providers
Enter Your Zip Code:
- What are endorsements and restrictions?
- Where is my North Carolina CDL valid?
- I already have a CDL from another state. Can I use it when I become a North Carolina resident?
- How long is a learner's permit valid?
- How can my North Carolina CDL be suspended or revoked?
- If I drive an exempt vehicle do I still need a license?
Endorsements are additional tests you must pass when you want to be licensed for certain kinds of vehicles. In North Carolina, the following endorsements apply:
- H - Authorizes you to drive a vehicle transporting hazardous materials (hazmat)
- T - Authorizes you to drive double trailers
- P - Authorizes you to drive passenger vehicles
- N - Authorizes you to drive tank vehicles
- X - Is a combination of the hazmat and tank vehicle endorsements
- M - Authorizes you to drive a motorcycle
Restrictions are codes on your license that limit your driving authority. In North Carolina, there are two types of restrictions on commercial driver licenses:
- L - Restricts you to driving vehicles not equipped with air brakes
- S - Restricts you to operating school buses only
Your CDL is good throughout the United States. You may only have one driver license, and if your CDL is suspended or revoked, you cannot get one in another state. States are connected to one computerized system and share information about commercial drivers.
If you are 18 or over but not yet 21, with a North Carolina CDL you may only operate a commercial vehicle within North Carolina and cannot get a hazmat endorsement.
No. Federal law makes it illegal for you to have more than one driver license. When you get your CDL, you will have to surrender all other driver licenses, including any out of state licenses or your regular North Carolina driver license. (You may still drive your car with a CDL.)
To get a commercial learner's permit, you must be at least 18 years old (or 21 for operations that require a medical card) and possess a valid Class A, B, or C license. The permit is valid for six months, but there is a limit of two permits in two years. In other words, if your permit expires before you pass your CDL tests, you may only get one more permit until two years have passed.
If your permit is expired for more than 30 days before you apply for another one, you must take all written tests again.
Your North Carolina CDL can be suspended or revoked for many violations, including use of alcohol or drugs, speeding, reckless driving, and failure to notify your employer of any traffic convictions. Your employer should have a copy of the Safety Act so you can be familiar with the laws concerning commercial driving.
Certain vehicles do not require you to have a CDL in order to drive them. However, you may still need a non-CDL, Class A or B license. These exempt vehicles include:
- Recreational vehicles and others used for personal use
- Vehicles owned or operated by the Department of Defense when they are driven by active military personnel on duty
- Firefighting or emergency equipment used during emergencies
- Certain farm vehicles
For greater detail, see Chapter One in the printed version of the CDL Manual, available at any North Carolina driver license office.
Other Topics in This Section
Your Opinion Matters To Us!Send Feedback
- The REAL ID Act: Are You Ready for a National ID?
- New Study: Voice Texting and Traditional Texting Equally Distracting
- Bicycling While Boozing
- Federal Agency Stirring Around the Idea of Lowering BAC Limit to .05 Percent
- Pot Runs to Legalized Marijuana States Putting Cops on High Alert
- Behind the scenes: Iron Man & rental car insurance
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.