Commercial Driver FAQs in Tennessee


Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding commercial vehicles, drivers, and licenses. If you don't find what you're looking for here, refer to the CDL Manual, available for download.

What kind of tests will I have to take to obtain my CDL?

Each CDL applicant will have to take at least one knowledge test, plus the three types of general skills tests.

Knowledge Tests

  • General knowledge
  • Air brakes
  • Combination vehicles
  • Passenger transport
  • School bus
  • Hazardous materials
  • Tanker
  • Doubles/Triples

Skills Tests

  • Pre-trip vehicle inspection
  • Basic vehicle control
  • On-road

Detailed information about each of these tests is available in our Commercial Driver Education section, as well.

How much will it cost to add endorsements?

Each endorsement is an extra $2.50 added on to your license fee.

What are the CDL restrictions?

There are eight restrictions in all:

  • Code L: Vehicle without air brakes
  • Code 51: Intrastate only
  • Code 52: Government vehicles only
  • Code 53: Intracity only
  • Code 54: Intrastate only medical limitation
  • Code 55: Except Class A bus
  • Code 56: Except Class A and B buses
  • Code 57: Except tractor trailer

Can I have multiple licenses?

No, and if you try to, you risk being fined up to $5,000 and going to jail. The Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) prevents drivers from obtaining multiple and fraudulent licenses.

I was ticketed for a traffic violation last week. What do I need to do?

If you're convicted of a traffic violation other than parking, you must notify your employer within 30 days.

I run a nursery. Are there special CDLs for people like me?

No. All nurserymen and farmers are exempt from CDLs as long as they operate their vehicles within 150 miles of their nurseries or farms.

Do I have to have a DOT medical card?

The only drivers who aren't required to have the DOT medical card are those who drive only for government organizations.

Can a CDL be suspended just like a regular driver license?

It sure can. Not only can your CDL and driving privileges be suspended or revoked, but you can be fined and spend time in jail for the following reasons:

  • Giving false information on your CDL application.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony.
  • Being convicted of 2 serious traffic violations or more involving a commercial vehicle in 3 years.
  • Using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony while driving under the influence (results in CDL revocation for life).

Where can I obtain CDL-related forms online?

Tennessee provides many commercial vehicle registration forms online.

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