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Who needs a CDL?

Types of vehicles that require a CDL

You must have a commercial driver license (CDL) to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • All single vehicles with a manufacturer's weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • All trailers with a manufacturer's weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, and a combined vehicles' gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • All vehicles designed to transport 16 or more persons (including the driver). This includes private and church buses.
  • All school buses, regardless of size.
  • All vehicles used to transport any material that requires hazardous material placarding or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR 73.

Occasional drivers

Occasional drivers, such as mechanics or truck salespeople who test drive the vehicles described above on a public roadway, also need a CDL and any required endorsements.

Find out if you need a CDL

The vehicles described above are divided into 3 classes – Class A, Class B, and Class C. Use the diagram below to see if you need a CDL, and what class of CDL you need. A higher-class CDL allows you to drive vehicles in any of the lower classes if you have the correct endorsements.

Flowchart from CDL Guide showing who needs a CDL and what class is required.

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