Federal law requires commercial drivers to pass the knowledge tests for the appropriate driver license, including assessments, to obtain a commercial learner permit.
A commercial learner permit is valid for 180 days and is eligible for one renewal, which is also valid for 180 days.
Applicants must also hold a commercial learner permit for 14 days before undergoing the commercial driver license skills test.
Permit holders must:
- Be at least 18 years old (21 for operations in interstate commerce or hazardous material endorsement)
- Possess a valid Class A, B or C driver license
- Be accompanied in the front seat by a licensed commercial driver license operator of the same class, or higher, including endorsements
The N.C. Commercial Driver License Manual describes the minimum state and federal requirements and testing information for obtaining a commercial learner permit or commercial driving license.
Although the manual will help an individual pass the required tests, it is not a substitute for a truck-driver training program. Formal training is the most reliable way to learn the many special skills required for safely driving a large commercial vehicle and becoming a professional driver in the
Qualified applicants must successfully complete required tests and take the following required documents to a N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles driver license office.
Note: NCDMV also offers an N.C. REAL ID driver license, which requires additional information and requirements.
North Carolina issues commercial learner permits and licenses from a central location and mails them to applicants within 20 days. Applicants receive a Temporary Driving Certificate to use until their permit arrives.
Proof of Clear Driving Record
At time of application, an individual must certify that:
- Their license is not suspended, disqualified or revoked
- They do not hold more than one driver license
NCDMV automatically runs a background check against the Problem Driver Pointer System and the Commercial Driver License Information System databases to check the applicant's driving history in other states.
CDL Driving Verification
Individuals applying for a commercial driver license will be asked to verify the type of vehicle they operate or expect to operate as well as to provide medical certification to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.
Depending on the type of commerce they operate in, commercial motor vehicle drivers might be required to have medical cards, which must be present at the time of both the original application and renewal.
If questions arise about a driver's physical condition, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles may require the driver to submit a completed medical report, before or after certification, provided by NCDMV's Driver License Section.
Fees associated with commercial driver licenses and can be paid through a variety of common payment methods. The type of license an individual receives and the fee associated with it depends on the type of motor vehicle they will operate.
CDL Skills Test
Drivers that apply for a commercial driver license must provide their own commercial motor vehicle for the driving test. The vehicle must be representative of the type of license for which the applicant is applying.
CDL applicants must also present a valid driver license and unexpired commercial learner permit to take the skills test, which includes:
- Vehicle inspection test
- Basic control test
- Road test
Not every driver license office can accommodate a CDL skills test. To find a location or to schedule a test, call (919) 715-7000.
Military CDL Skills Waivers
The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles may waive the commercial driver license skills test for military personnel who meet the certain requirements.
Suspensions & Revocations
To avoid suspension and revocation, a commercial driver license holder must follow rules to maintain their commercial driver license and school bus driving privileges and comply with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
Security Threat Assessments for CDL Drivers
Applicants for hazardous materials endorsements may use their Transportation Worker Identification Credential security threat assessment as a comparable security threat assessment during the application process.