Commercial Driver FAQs in South Carolina

I'd like to be a truck driver, but don't know how to get started. Help!

First, pick up a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Manual at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). After you study the manual, return to the DMV and take the written tests for the CDL Beginner's Permit.

South Carolina does not require special courses, education, or training, so you can take the driving portion of the CDL test at any time; however, it is recommended that you get some training under your belt before you try.

Check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) National Training Center.

Can I get a trucker license when I turn 18?

You must be at least 18 years old to apply for your CDL, but it will allow you to drive only within the boundaries of South Carolina. When you turn 21 years old, you can have this restriction removed from your license and you can drive coast-to-coast.

I heard there are new requirements for hazmat drivers. What are they?

All commercial drivers transporting hazardous materials must undergo a fingerprint and background check when they obtain or renew their CDL. South Carolina offers these checks through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), located in Columbia.

I understand I have to take several tests to get my CDL. Which ones?

The tests you take will depend on the type of vehicle you plan to drive. For each type of test you pass, you will receive that type of endorsement on your license. To allow yourself more job flexibility, it is recommended that you get all endorsements that you can.

Written tests you may have to take include:

  • General Knowledge: Required for all CDL applicants.
  • Combination Vehicles : Required if you plan to drive Class A combination vehicles.
  • Air Brakes: Required if you drive a vehicle so equipped.
  • Passenger Transport: Required for all bus drivers.
  • hazmat : Required if you haul hazardous materials.
  • School Bus : Required for all school bus drivers.
  • Tanker : Required if you haul liquids or gaseous materials in bulk.
  • Doubles/Triples : Required if you drive a tractor hauling multiple trailers.

You'll also need to take skills, or driving, tests in the vehicle you want to be licensed. The skills test consists of a pre-trip inspection, basic controls test on an enclosed obstacle course, and the road test.

Where can I find more information about commercial motor vehicles?

You may find the following websites and pages helpful:

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