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Arizona - AZ CDL License Manual, Examination Prep, and Requirements

Arizona - AZ CDL Overview

A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) is a driver's license required by Arizona to operate any kind of vehicle which

  • has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lb or more for industrial use
  • transports quantities of hazardous supplies that require warning placards under Department of Transportation regulations
  • is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, together with the driver. This includes (but is not limited to) tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses.

The CDL is ruled by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. The CDL regulations are designed to insure highway security by requiring that truck drivers and drivers of tractor trailers and buses meet minimum standards.  The Act additionally allows the elimination of drivers that are deemed unsafe or unqualified. States such as Arizona are given the authority to issue Commercial Driver’s Licenses, however the minimal federal government requirements must be met.

Prepare for your AZ CDL examinations with our free Arizona CDL practice tests

Arizona CDL License Groups - AZ CDL Classes

Commercial Driver’s Licenses are issued by Arizona in accordance with the CDL License classes specified below.
Group A (Combination Vehicle) CDL License

Any vehicle or combination of vehicles that has a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.  When you have a Group A CDL license, you are allowed to drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles of any size.

Group B (Heavy Straight Vehicle) CDL License

Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle less than 10,000 pounds GVWR. With a Group B CDL license, you might be allowed to drive any single vehicle regardless of weight. As well as, you might be allowed to tow a trailer if the trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is lower than 10,000 pounds. If the trailer you might be towing has a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds, and the combined vehicle weight rating is more than 26,000 pounds, you will need a Class A CDL.

Group C (Small Vehicle) CDL License 

A Class C CDL license is meant to cover any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that doesn’t meet the Group A or Group B definitions, but that either is designed to move 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or is meant to move Hazardous Materials (HazMat).

With a Group C CDL license, you may drive any vehicle designed to move 16 or more passengers, including the driver, if the GVWR is lower than 26,001 pounds and you have a passenger endorsement. As well as, a Class C CDL also allows you to operate any vehicle used to transport hazardous materials if the GVWR is lower than 26,001 pounds and you have the correct endorsement.

Arizona CDL Test Overview

Examinations for the AZ CDL License include both skills tests and knowledge exams.

The CDL Knowledge Tests consist of a general test, one or more endorsement tests, and an air brakes exam.  The exams that you will take rely on the license classification that you're obtaining (Class A, B, or C) and the type of vehicle that you will be driving (e.g., Tanker, Double/Triple, Passenger Bus).

Please consult with our free Arizona CDL practice exams to help you prepare for your AZ CDL exams.

General Exam Overview

Drivers of each CDL class must pass a General Knowledge exam which contains questions about driving safety, vehicle inspection, road indicators, traffic laws and other information it's appropriate to determine to drive a commercial vehicle in Arizona.

Endorsement Test Overview

In addition to the general knowledge exam, you must also take and pass numerous endorsement examinations depending on the type of vehicle that you will be operating.  The endorsement exams are described below.

  • Hazardous materials endorsement - to drive any vehicle carrying hazardous materials.  Hazmat materials are identified by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services and require a Hazmat placard.
  • School bus endorsement - required to drive school buses designed to carry 16 or extra persons, including the driver that's transport students to or from school and authorized school activities. Moreover, a driver must obtain a passenger endorsement before acquiring a school bus endorsement.
  • Passenger endorsement - to drive any vehicle, besides a school bus, designed to carry sixteen or more persons, including the driver.
  • Tankers endorsement - to drive a commercial tank vehicle (over 26,000 pounds) designed to move any liquid or gaseous material inside a tank that's permanently or temporarily connected to the vehicle or chassis. Moveable tanks having a rated capability under 1,000 gallons are not required to have this endorsement.
  • Double and triple trailer endorsement - to pull double and triple trailers.

Air Brakes Exam

Should you plan on driving any commercial vehicle that has air brakes, you should take and pass the air brakes exam to remove the air brakes restriction from your CDL.  The air brakes examination is completely different than the endorsement exams because the air brakes exam works as a restriction instead of an endorsement.  If you don't pass the air brakes exam, your CDL will bear a mark of restriction which means that you're not authorized to drive a commercial vehicle with air brakes.

Arizona CDL License Requirements and AZ CDL General Qualifications

In accordance with federal rules, a CDL operator is certified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in Arizona if they:

  • Are at least 21 years old.
  • Can read and speak English sufficient to speak with the general public, to grasp highway traffic signals and indicators, to answer official inquiries, and to make reports and records.
  • Are physically certified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Have a currently legitimate commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued by just one state.
  • Have given their employer an inventory of violations or the certificates as required
  • Are not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle
  • Have successfully passed a driver’s road exam and associated knowledge exams and have been issued a commercial driver’s license by the state of Arizona

More detailed Arizona CDL Requirements can be found within the AZ handbook link found within the part below.

Arizona CDL Handbook and Resources

Arizona CDL Handbook - offers AZ CDL requirements and application information

Arizona CDL Agency - Arizona Division of Motor Vehicles CDL

Mail Drop 555M
Motor Vehicle Division
PO Box 2100
Phoenix AZ 85001-2100

Monday – Friday (except on state holidays)
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Phoenix:     602-255-0072
Tucson:     520-629-9808
Elsewhere in Arizona:     800-251-5866

This information applies to the entire state of Arizona as well as the cities of: Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale.

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