The CDL in North Carolina is required for drivers who want to operate large vehicles commercially, or transport large groups of people. You must have a regular driver’s license before you are allowed to get a North Carolina CDL license, and this license requires you to take several extra tests. You may be required to submit a Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the DMV, depending on the vehicle you intend to drive.

Getting a commercial drivers license in North Carolina also means electing a specific license for the class of vehicle you wish to operate, which varies based on weight and function. Additional endorsements may also be added to a commercial license to drive, depending on who – and what – you intend to transport, both inside and outside of North Carolina.

CDL Requirements in North Carolina

CDL license requirements in North Carolina state that you must be at least 18 years old in order to drive commercially. If you are driving with hazardous materials, the age limit is 21. You will need to successfully pass both a written test and a skills test in order to get your license. Some forms of commercial driving require endorsements, which means you will need to pass additional tests.

CDL requirements disqualify drivers from holding a commercial license under certain circumstances. These include if drivers:

  • Are convicted of a DUI twice while driving a commercial vehicle in any state.
  • Refuse a blood alcohol test twice while driving a commercial vehicle in any state.
  • Are convicted of two felonies while driving a commercial vehicle in any state.

How to Apply for a CDL Permit in North Carolina

To get a CDL permit in North Carolina, you can apply at any DMV location across the state. This CDL learners permit allows you to get the hands-on experience that is required to successfully complete the skills test.

The CDL permit requirements you need to fulfill in order to apply for your permit encompass several types of documents you must present. These include the following:

  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of Social Security Number, or SSN
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of car insurance

You need to show two documents proving your identity, while the other items only require one form of proof. Once you have presented the necessary documentation, you will need to pass a written test.

Upon the successful completion of your test, you will receive your permit. CDL permit rules in North Carolina state that you can only drive a commercial vehicle when supervised by an individual who is licensed to drive that type of commercial vehicle.

CDL Written Test in North Carolina

The North Carolina CDL written test is administered in person, at various DMV offices. You will need to study the Commercial Driver License Manual thoroughly, because the CDL general knowledge test will only cover the material found within the manual.

CDL permit test questions cover all of the information you need to responsibly drive a commercial vehicle, including:

  • Basic driving maneuvers.
  • Driving with passengers or cargo.
  • Checking your vehicle before driving on the road.

Note that you need to get at least 80 percent of the questions right in order to pass. You must take the test in-person, at a DMV office, as an online CDL test for license applicants is not currently available in the state.

If you need more than a standard commercial operating license – if, for instance, you are driving with hazardous materials or more than 16 passengers – you will need to take additional tests in order to get your required endorsements. The material you need to learn for the endorsement tests can also be found in your CDL handbook.

North Carolina CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests

You can find a small CDL practice test at the end of every chapter in your Commercial Driver License Manual. This CDL book is important, because it utilizes the same types of questions that will be found on your test.

CDL prep in North Carolina should mean more than just studying the manual, though. You can get your license without going through a formal training program, but the DMV strongly recommends that you get this education, as it is one of the best ways to get hands-on experience before driving commercially on your own. Along with studying the manual and going to a CDL school, your CDL training should incorporate practice tests. These tests allow you to make sure you are properly absorbing the material you need in order to drive commercial vehicles safely.

How to Get a CDL License in North Carolina

You can apply for CDL credentials once you have held your permit for at least 14 days. Here is how to get a CDL in North Carolina:

  • Study for the CDL license test with a supervising driver
  • Get a medical examination
  • Schedule your skills test
  • Successfully complete the skills test

Once you have studied for the test and submitted to your medical examination, you need to call: 919-715-7000. The representative there will let you know where to get a CDL, as well as allowing you to schedule your test.

The North Carolina CDL application is not available online, so you will have to fill it out at the office. You will not be required to provide documentation proving your identity, insurance and residency, since that was submitted when you applied for your permit, already. You can get your CDL at any DMV office throughout the state.

CDL Driving Test in North Carolina

The CDL test in North Carolina demonstrates that you can perform basic driving maneuvers in a commercial vehicle, while continuously exhibiting safe driving habits. To find out where you can take your CDL driving test, call: 919-715-7000.

How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in North Carolina

The North Carolina military CDL allows you to get your commercial license without taking the knowledge and skills tests. This allows for a waiver to be used only if you are driving as part of your service, and have special driving privileges that indicate your driving responsibilities.

The CDL for veterans in North Carolina requires you to go through the regular application process. However, you can apply to have your veteran status listed on your license, if you so choose.

CDL Medical Exams in North Carolina

New DOT physical requirements in North Carolina state that you must report to the DMV which vehicle – or vehicles – you intend to operate commercially when applying for your license. Depending on the vehicle, the DMV will then decide if you need to submit a Medical Examiner’s Certificate.

If you do not need to get a CDL physical in North Carolina, you will be given ‘excepted’ status. If you are required to get a CDL medical exam, you will be given ‘non-excepted’ status.

Types of CDL Classes in North Carolina

There are three different types of CDL licenses in North Carolina: the Class A license, Class B license and Class C license. Each license class grants different privileges to motorists, and is further defined as:

  • The North Carolina Class A CDL, which allows you to drive combination vehicles that weight at least 26,001 pounds. Motorists who hold this license class can tow a vehicle or vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
  • The North Carolina Class B CDL, which allows you to drive a vehicle that is at least 26,001 pounds. Motorists who hold this license class cannot tow a vehicle that is more than 10,000 pounds.
  • The North Carolina Class C CDL, which allows you to drive vehicles not covered by the first two licenses, but which requires you to still hold a commercial license.

Types of CDL Endorsements in North Carolina

North Carolina CDL endorsements allow drivers to operate vehicles that require extra testing. Below, you will find the endorsements currently available in the state, as well as the codes used to indicate them:

  • The Hazardous Materials endorsement, also called the “H” endorsement
  • The Tanker endorsement, also called the “N” endorsement
  • The Passenger endorsement, also called the “P” endorsement
  • The Doubles/Triples endorsement, also called the “T” endorsement
  • The School Bus endorsement, also called the “S” endorsement
  • The Tank Vehicle and Hazmat endorsement, also called the “X” endorsement

Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in North Carolina

Commercial licenses are labelled based on where you will be driving. The intrastate CDL allows you to drive commercially within the state of North Carolina, while the interstate CDL is intended for drivers who need to operate their vehicles commercially outside of the state.

If you will be driving within the state and outside of it, you will need the interstate license.

Commercial Driving License Fees in North Carolina

CDL license cost in North Carolina is the same, no matter which class of license you plan to obtain. If you fail the test three times, however, you will need to pay an additional application fee. Each endorsement also comes with an extra fee. The current CDL price list is as follows:

  • The CDL permit cost is $20
  • The CDL application cost is $40
  • Commercial Classes A, B and C all cost $20, each year they are valid
  • CDL endorsements cost $4 per endorsement per year
Last updated on Wednesday, March 6 2019.

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