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South Carolina CDL License Test

SOUTH CAROLINA TRUCK DRIVER TRAINING

Commercial Drivers License
2020 CDL License TEST Requirements
Home Study Course
For Tests Beginning October 1, 2020

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DO I HAVE TO PASS ANY EXAMS TO GET A SOUTH CAROLINA CDL?

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.

WHAT ARE THE SOUTH CAROLINA CDL WRITTEN EXAMS?

The "written" exams consist of the knowledge portion of your South 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.
WHAT ARE THE SOUTH CAROLINA CDL SKILLS EXAMS?

The "skills" exams consist of the practical portion of your South 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.

AFTER I PASS ALL OF MY CDL EXAMS . . . THEN WHAT?

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.

HOW DO I FIND SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR South Carolina?

We are including the following links to information that is specific to South Carolina. We try to include all available official links, however the State of South 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 "South 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 South Carolina regulations, forms, locations, contacts, etc.

Quickly Access Official South Carolina CDL Information

South Carolina CDL Information
Access to official web pages maintained
by the State of South Carolina
South Carolina Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Fees
  • South Carolina CDL Application $15.00
  • SC Commercial Driver's Manual $5.00 +Tax
  • South Carolina Driver's License (5 year) $12.50
  • South Carolina Driver's License (10 year) $25.00

South Carolina CDL Endorsements

The following endorsements can be applied to a South Carolina CDL:
  • H - Hazardous Material (Hazmat)
  • N - Tanker Vehicle
  • P - Passenger Vehicle (designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver)
  • S - School Bus
  • T - Double/Triple Trailers
  • X - Combination Hazmat and Tanker

The following tests are required for each South Carolina CDL endorsement listed above:
  • Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) - a knowledge test and TSA Threat Assessment.
  • Tanker Vehicle - a knowledge test.
  • Bus Passenger - a knowledge and skills test.
  • School Bus - a knowledge and skills test.
    To receive an "S" endorsement, you must also have a "P" endorsement and take a skills test in a vehicle that meets the following definition: "School Bus" means a CMV used to transport pre-primary, primary or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school-sponsored events. A school bus does not include a bus used as a common carrier.
  • Double/Triple Trailers - a knowledge test.
  • Combination Hazmat and Tanker - must complete the requirements listed for Hazardous Materials (1) and Tanker (2).

To obtain any endorsement, you must successfully pass all required knowledge and/or skills tests. The skills test must be taken in the type vehicle for which the endorsement is issued.

If you upgrade your commercial license endorsement or class, you must Complete Form DL-402 and provide information regarding any previous out-of-state drivers' licenses.

When you apply for an upgrade to your commercial driver's license, you must complete Form DL-405A to self-certify the type of commerce for which you intend to operate. You must also provide a valid medical certification for any type of commerce that requires it. (See Frequently Asked Questions regarding form DL-405A.) SCDMV will collect the driver's certification information and add it to the national Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) record. All commercial driver's license and learner's permit holders must be self-certified or risk losing his or her privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Commercial driver's license and learner's permit holders must comply each time they apply for a new credential, renew or upgrade their credential. If a medical certificate is required, you must also show your valid DOT Medical Certificate or pocket card of the Medical Certificate. DMV will not accept a medical certificate if it expires within 30 days from the date it is presented.

SCDMV will run automatic checks against the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) and the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) databases to check your prior driving history in other states. The checks are performed when a customer applies for an original credential, renews a credential, is reexamined or moves from a learner's permit to a license. They are designed to insure drivers have only one valid license at a time.

Getting Your Initial Commercial Driver License

To obtain a Commercial Driver's License for the first time in the state of South Carolina, the following are required:
  • You must be at least 18 years of age to drive within the State of South Carolina and 21 years of age for interstate driving.
  • Certify that you have read and understand, and meet the qualification requirements under 49 CFR, Part 391 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
  • Complete Form DL-405A to self-certify the type of commerce for which you intend to use your CDL. You must also provide a valid medical certification for any type of commerce that requires it. (See Frequently Asked Questions regarding form DL-405A.) SCDMV will collect the driver's certification information and add it to the national Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) record. All commercial driver's license and learner's permit holders must be self-certified or risk losing his or her driving privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Commercial driver's license and learner's permit holders must comply each time they apply for a new credential, renew or upgrade their credential.
  • If required, show your valid DOT Medical Certificate or pocket card of the Medical Certificate to meet the requirement of providing proof that you are medically qualified pursuant to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 49 CFR, part 391. South Carolina requires that you maintain a valid medical Examiner's Certificate to obtain and/or retain a commercial driver instruction permit or commercial driver's license. DMV will not accept a medical certificate if it expires within 30 days from the date it is presented.
  • Provide proof of identity using Accepted Forms of Identification.
  • Complete the Complete Form 447-CDL, Application for a Commercial Driver's License or Learner's Permit. There is a $15.00 application fee.
  • Complete Form DL-402 Affidavit of Previous Driver's License and provide information regarding any previous out-of-state drivers' licenses.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass all required knowledge tests for license or permit in the classification you intend to operate. There is a $2.00 fee for each knowledge test taken.
  • Pass the road test, which includes the pre-trip inspection, off-road and on-road driving.
  • Pay $12.50 license fee.
  • Provide Automobile liability insurance information (SC Code Section 56-1-80(C). Insurance company must be licensed to do business in the state of South Carolina.

When you apply for a South Carolina commercial driver's license, SCDMV will run automatic checks against the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) and the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) databases to check your prior driving history in other states. The checks are performed when a customer applies for an original credential, renews a credential, is reexamined or moves from a learner's permit to a license. They are designed to insure drivers have only one valid license at a time.

South Carolina CDL Knowledge Test

You will take one or more knowledge tests, depending on what class of license and what endorsements you may need. The South Carolina CDL knowledge tests include:
  • General Knowledge Test, taken by all applicants.
  • Combination Vehicles Test, which is required if you want to drive Class A combination vehicles.
  • Air Brakes Test, which you must take if your vehicle has air brakes. Drivers not taking this test will be restricted to driving vehicles without air brakes ("K" restriction).
  • Passenger Transport Test, taken by applicants operating vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver.
  • Hazardous Materials Test, required if you want to haul hazardous materials or waste requiring placarding.
  • School Bus Test, required to transport pre-primary, primary, or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school-sponsored events.
  • Tanker Test, required if you want to haul liquids or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis.
  • Doubles/Triples Test, required if you want to pull double or triple trailers.

The type of South Carolina CDL written knowledge tests you need to pass depends on the type of commercial motor vehicle you drive and the cargo you haul.

South Carolina CDL (Commercial Driver's License) Skills Test

If you pass the required knowledge tests, you can then take the South Carolina CDL skills test. Only the applicant and DMV Examiner are allowed in or around the vehicle during the skills test. There are three parts to the South Carolina CDL skills test which must be taken in this order: (1) the pre-trip inspection test, (2) the basic control skills test, and (3) the on-road test. You must take these tests in the type of vehicle for which you wish to be licensed. To be eligible for a CDL, all three parts of the South Carolina CDL skills test must be passed at one time.
  • Pre-trip Inspection. The purpose of the pre-trip inspection is to see whether the vehicle is safe to drive. You will be required to do a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle and to explain to the examiner what you are inspecting and why. The examiner will mark on a scoring form each item that you correctly inspect and explain. This information can be located in Section 10 of the South Carolina CDL Manual.
  • Basic Control Skills Test. The purpose of the basic control skills test is to evaluate your basic skills in controlling the vehicle. You will be asked to perform four maneuvers: The Stop Line, Straight Line Backing, Forward Serpentine, and the Alley Dock. This information can be located in Section 11 of the South Carolina CDL Manual.
  • Road Test. The purpose of the road test is to evaluate your ability to drive safely in a variety of on-road situations. You will drive a test route following the instructions given by the examiner. The test route will include left and right turns, intersections, railroad crossing, curves, up and down grades, interstate, city and rural roads. The examiner will score specific areas of the test route. The examiner will not ask you to do anything dangerous or illegal. This information can be located in Section 12 of the South Carolina CDL Manual.

South Carolina CDL Restrictions

  • E - Automatic Transmission - The South Carolina CDL holder is restricted from operating a commercial motor vehicle without Automatic Transmission. The restriction is applied to a South Carolina CDL if the vehicle used during the road test had automatic or semi-automatic transmission. If the CDL holder wants to remove this restriction he must successfully pass the entire skills test in a commercial motor vehicle that is not equipped with automatic transmission.
  • I - Intrastate only - The South Carolina CDL holder is restricted from operating a commercial motor vehicle outside of South Carolina. Only allows intrastate transportation of shipments/loads that originated in SC and ended in SC. The load cannot start or finish outside the state of SC (interstate shipment). Drivers 18 through 20 years of age require an I Restriction. If the South Carolina CDL holder wants to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce instead of intrastate he must visit an SCDMV office once he turns 21 years old to upgrade his license.
  • K - Vehicle without airbrakes - The South Carolina CDL holder is restricted from operating a vehicle with air brakes. This restriction is applied to a CDL if the vehicle used during the road test was not equipped with air brakes. If the South Carolina CDL holder wants to remove this restriction he must successfully pass the knowledge test for air brakes and pass the skills test in a commercial motor vehicle equipped with air brakes.
  • M - Except Class A Bus - The South Carolina CDL holder is restricted from operating a class A passenger vehicle because he used a class B passenger vehicle during his skills test for his passenger endorsement. If the South Carolina CDL holder wants to remove this restriction he must successfully pass the skills test in a class A passenger vehicle.
  • N - Except Class A and B Bus - The South Carolina CDL holder is restricted from operating a class A or B passenger vehicle because he used a class C passenger vehicle during his skills test for his passenger endorsement. If the South Carolina CDL holder wants to remove this restriction he must successfully pass the skills test in a class A or class B passenger vehicle. However, if a class B passenger vehicle is used the N restriction will be replaced with an M restriction.
  • P - Excepted Interstate - The South Carolina CDL holder is restricted from operating a commercial motor vehicle outside of the authorized activities defined by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and he is not required to meet the Federal DOT medical card requirements. If the South Carolina CDL holder wants to remove this restriction he must present a DOT medical card, and complete another SCDMV Form DL-405A selecting a type of operation other than "Excepted Interstate".
  • V - Medical Variance - This restriction indicates that the South Carolina CDL holder has a medical variance (Federal Waiver or Skills Performance Evaluation) that goes along with his DOT medical certification. This restriction must never be removed as long as the DOT medical certificate references a medical variance.
  • Z - Except Tractor Trailer - The South Carolina CDL holder is restricted from operating a commercial motor vehicle tractor (pulling unit) with a fifth-wheel articulation. This restriction is applied to the South Carolina CDL if the applicant used a unit with a pintle hook, or ball and chain hook up during the skills test. If the CDL holder wants to remove this restriction he must successfully pass any necessary knowledge tests for the vehicle he is operating. He must also successfully pass the complete skills test. The unit used during the skills test must include a fifth-wheel articulation, and meet the GVWR requirements. The tractor (pulling unit) must have a GVWR of 26,0001 or more pounds and pulling a trailer which has a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more.

South Carolina CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the South 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 South 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 South Carolina CDL and Required Tests

CDL Class Tests Required Possible Endorsements and Required Tests
Class A
(Combination
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

South 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

WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS ARE ASKED ON THE CDL WRITTEN EXAMS?

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

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE EXAM (Required for ALL CDL's)

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.

TRANSPORTING PASSENGERS, (P) ENDORSEMENT

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.

AIR BRAKES ENDORSEMENT

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.

COMBINATION VEHICLES (Req'd by ALL Class A's)

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.

DOUBLES AND TRIPLES, (T) ENDORSEMENT

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.

TANK VEHICLES, (N) ENDORSEMENT

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.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, (H) ENDORSEMENT

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 South 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 South Carolina CDL Course includes complete "self testing" practice tests and "self scoring" BLANK and CORRECT answer sheets.

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