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North Carolina CDL License Test


Commercial Drivers License
2023 CDL License TEST Requirements
Home Study Course
For Tests Beginning January 1, 2023

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Yes . . . You will have to pass written exams and skills exams. Just how many exams you will have to take and pass will depend upon the type(s) of commercial vehicles you will be driving and what type of "cargo" you will be transporting.


The "written" exams consist of the knowledge portion of your North Carolina CDL exams. There are seven different written exams. Which ones you will be required to take and pass depends upon the type of commercial vehicle that you will be driving. A description of these written exams follows . . .

  • General Knowledge Test . . . Must be taken and passed by ALL CDL applicants no matter what Class of CDL or Type of Endorsement(s) are needed. You WILL take this written test. You WILL pass this written test if you are to obtain a CDL.
  • Air Brakes Test . . . Must be taken and passed if any vehicle you drive has air brakes.
  • Combination Vehicles Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you drive combination vehicles requiring a Class "A" CDL.
  • Passenger Transport (P) Test . . . Must be taken and passed by all bus driver applicants. An additional written test may be required if transporting children to and from school.
  • Hazardous Materials (H) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you transport hazardous materials requiring "placarding".
  • Tank Vehicles (N) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you drive a "tank" with a capacity of more than 1000 gallons.
  • Doubles & Triples (T) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you pull double or triple trailers.

The "skills" exams consist of the practical portion of your North Carolina CDL exams. They consist of three parts as follows . . .

  • Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test . . . You will be tested to see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to drive. The examiner will score each item that you correctly inspect and explain.
  • Basic Vehicle Control Test . . . You will be tested on your basic skills in controlling the vehicle . . . including moving your vehicle forward, backward, and turning within a defined area. You will be scored on how well you stay within the exercise boundaries and how many pull-ups you make.
  • On-Road Test . . . You will be tested on your skill to safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations.

The skills exams are taken in the same "type" vehicle that you will be licensed in.


You can apply for your CDL. You must provide proof that you possess a valid DOT medical certificate (you will need to get a physical in accordance with MCSR 49 CFR 391.41. . . . the medical forms are included with the CDL Course package), fill out the forms, provide documentation, and pay the appropriate fees.


We are including the following links to information that is specific to North Carolina. We try to include all available official links, however the State of North Carolina often change their webpages and/or the addressing of those webpages. We constantly update these links, but from time to time they are not available due to recent changes. If you are having problems with any of these links, try typing "North Carolina Official Website" into your Google, Bing or Yahoo search engine and you should be able to find your "starting point" on their website. You should be able to find the Commercial Drivers License information by typing in "CDL" into their internal search (if available) or by following the Drivers License Services links within their website. This is a great source of North Carolina regulations, forms, locations, contacts, etc.

Quickly Access Official North Carolina CDL Information

North Carolina CDL Information
Access to official web pages maintained
by the State of North Carolina
North Carolina Commercial Driver License CDL

Classes of North Carolina CDL (Commercial Driver's License)

  • North Carolina Commercial Class A - Any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating, GVWR, of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle or vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • North Carolina Commercial Class B - Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, and any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • North Carolina Commercial Class C - Any vehicle not described in Class A or B above but is: Designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or used in the transportation of hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded under C.F.R., Part 172, Subpart F.

North Carolina CDL Learner Permit
  • Valid for six months
  • Limit of two permits in two years
  • Permit thirty days over their expiration date, the driver is required to retake all written tests

Your North Carolina Commercial Driver license is issued for a period of 5 years.

The cost of a North Carolina license & endorsements is based on the yearly charge.

North Carolina CDL Requirements & Documents

You will need to bring 4 documents total
To avoid inconveniences, make sure you have all necessary documents before visiting the Driver License Office.

In order to apply for the first time issuance of a NC CDL you will need to gather documents from the following categories:
  • Proof of Age & Identity
  • Proof of Social Security
  • Proof of Residency
  • Proof of Liability Insurance

Proof of Clear Driving Record
At time of application, you must certify that;
  • Your license is not suspended, disqualified or revoked
  • You currently do not hold more than one Driver License

CDL Holders Medical & Physical Requirements

Many commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to have medical cards. Those who require medical cards are required to bring them at the time of both the original application and renewal.

If questions arise about a driver's physical condition, the North Carolina DMV may require the driver to submit a completed medical report, before or after certification, provided by the North Carolina DMV Driver License Section.

North Carolina CDL Learner Permit - Additional Requirements
  • You must be at least 18 years of age (21 for operations that require a medical card)
  • You must possess a valid Classified A, B, or C Driver License
  • Will be accompanied by a licensed CDL operator, with the proper class of license, in the front seat beside you.

North Carolina CDL Tests

North Carolina CDL Written Tests - Written tests are provided at all full service Driver License locations.

North Carolina CDL Skills Tests - Skills tests are provided at many Driver License locations throughout NC. Skills tests are also given by Certified Third Party testers to employees of their company.

North Carolina CDL Fees

Payments for transactions at Driver License Offices are accepted in the form of cash, money order, personal checks. Debit/credit cards are not accepted at this time.
  • Application Fee - $30.00
  • CDL Endorsement - $3/yr. per endorsement
  • Class A License, CDL - $15.00/yr.
  • Class B License, CDL - $15.00/yr.
  • Class C License, CDL - $15.00/yr.
  • Duplicate License - $10.00
  • Learner Permit, CDL - $15.00

North Carolina CDL Suspensions & Revocations

In addition to the rules that apply to the driving public, North Carolina Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders are required to follow rules specific to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers in order to comply with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, maintain their CDL license and keep their school bus driving privileges.

North Carolina Commercial Driver License Rules

For a complete listing of rules, view the North Carolina Commercial Driver's Manual, Section 1. A few key rules include:
  • No one can drive a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL.
  • No one can have more than one license. If you break this rule, you can be fined for up to $5000 or put in jail.
  • Notify your employer and the motor vehicle licensing agency in the state issuing your CDL within 30 days of conviction for any moving traffic violations.
  • Notify your employer if your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are disqualified from driving.
  • Give your employer information on all driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years. You must do this when you apply for a commercial driving job.
  • It is illegal to operate a CMV if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .04% or more. You will lose your CDL for one year for your first offense. You will lose it for life for your second offense. If your blood alcohol concentration is less than 0.04% but you have any detectable amount, you will be put out-of-service for 24 hours.
  • Fines for violations of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Out-of-State criteria must be paid when the citation is written.
  • It is a violation of State law to possess any alcoholic beverage (open or closed) while operating a commercial motor vehicle.
  • There is a minimum fine of $250 for speeding in highway work zones in addition to any fines or penalties that may be imposed for speeding violations.
  • There are now minimum limits of insurance requirements for commercial motor vehicles licensed in North Carolina, whether interstate or intrastate, private or "For Hire" in the amount of $750,000.
  • The court system can double any fine for operators of commercial motor vehicles that violate motor vehicle laws in which points are assessed.
  • There will be an increase in the number of points assessed to your driving record for motor vehicle law violations including railroad crossing violations and possession of an alcoholic beverage while operating a CMV.

North Carolina CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the North Carolina Knowledge Tests that are required for the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained in the FREE North Carolina CDL Handbook. Please read and study this manual carefully.
  • Class A - 70 Questions (50 GK + 20 Combination Vehicles) - Skills test required.
  • Class B - 50 Questions - Skills test required.
  • Class C - 50 Questions - Skills test required for bus, school bus and air brakes vehicles..
  • Passenger Endorsement - 20 questions - Skills test required in bus.
  • School Bus Endorsement - 25 questions - Skills test required in school bus.
  • Doubles/Triples Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Tank Vehicle Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement - 30 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Air Brake Restriction Removal - 25 questions - Additional skills test in vehicle with Air Brakes.

Classes of North Carolina CDL and Required Tests

CDL Class Tests Required Possible Endorsements and Required Tests
Class A
vehicle endorsement required)

General Knowledge Written Exam

Combination Endorsement Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
T - Doubles/Triples Written Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class B

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class C

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

Note: If upgrading to a Class C from a Class D, no road test is required UNLESS the endorsement requires one.
H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam

North Carolina CDL Endorsements

Exam Time Allowed (Minutes) # of Questions on Exam # of Correct Answers Needed to Pass
General Knowledge 60 50 40
Air Brakes 25 25 20
HazMat 30 30 24
Tank 20 20 16
Passenger 20 20 16
Doubles/Triples 20 20 16
Combination Vehicles 20 20 16
School Bus 20 20 16

Access Official Federal CDL General Information


A tiny sampling of questions from each of the written CDL exams follows . . .


Steering tires must have a tread depth of at least . . .
A. 2/32 inch.
B. 3/32 inch.
C. 4/32 inch.
D. 5/32 inch.

When driving on wet roads, you should reduce your speed by . . .
A. half the distance from the vehicle in front of you.
B. 1/3.
C. 1/2.
D. 2/3.

You're performing your pre-trip inspection for your CDL test. Where should your ignition key be?
A. In the ignition.
B. In your pocket.
C. With your logbook.
D. In the cab.


You must stop at least how far from a drawbridge, if there is no traffic light or attendant?
A. 10 feet.
B. 20 feet.
C. 50 feet.
D. 100 feet.

When stopping for railroad tracks, you must stop no closer than 15 feet before the nearest track.
A. True.
B. False.


The air leakage rate for a combination vehicle with the engine off and the brakes applied should be no more than . . .
A. 1 psi in 15 seconds.
B. 3 psi in one minute.
C. 4 psi in one minute.
D. allowed at lower altitudes.

You "put on the brakes" by . . .
A. pushing down on the brake pedal.
B. pushing down on the foot valve.
C. pushing down on the treadle valve.
D. all of the above.


Every combination vehicle with air brakes has two air lines, the service line and the return line.
A. True.
B. False.

How much visible space should be between the upper and lower fifth wheel plates?
A. None.
B. At least 1/4 inch.
C. No more than 1/2 inch.
D. Approximately 1 inch.


Driving conditions are good. A 100 foot long combination vehicle traveling at 35 MPH would need how much safe following distance?
A. 8/10 of a minute.
B. 10 seconds.
C. 11 seconds.
D. Two vehicle lengths.

Triple trailers are legal in your State of Residence.
A. True.
B. False.


Because liquids expand and contract under different temperatures . . .
A. you must be familiar with the difference between bulkheads and baffles.
B. you must know the outage requirements.
C. you must be prepared for possible surge.
D. you must have a HAZ MAT placard in place.

Bulkheads in a tank and baffles in a tank are the same.
A. True.
B. False.


The driver may keep hazardous materials shipping papers . . .
A. behind the left side HAZ MAT placard.
B. in a pouch on the drivers door or on the driver's seat when out of the vehicle.
C. with the shipper until acceptance at the destination.
D. in a secure place that is locked.

What is the minimum distance from a Class 3 (flammable liquids) or Division 2.1 (gases) placarded cargo tank that you may smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe?
A. 10 meters.
B. 25 feet.
C. 100 feet
D. 300 feet.

There is a total of 670 questions on the actual North Carolina CDL Course tests, which covers the entire POOL of questions used on the actual CDL examinations. Questions on your ACTUAL TESTS will come from this POOL of questions. Each "CLASS" of CDL and each "ENDORSEMENT" is covered in a separate section. You are required to take only those exams that apply to your driving requirements. The North Carolina CDL Course includes complete "self testing" practice tests and "self scoring" BLANK and CORRECT answer sheets.


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