Gianni Evangelisti Authored By: Gianni Evangelisti

Florida - FL CDL Overview

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

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

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

Prepare for your FL CDL tests with our free Florida CDL practice tests

Florida CDL License Groups - FL CDL Classes

Commercial Driver’s Licenses are issued by Florida in keeping 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.  For those who 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 lower than 10,000 pounds GVWR. With a Group B CDL license, you might be allowed to drive any single vehicle regardless of weight. In addition, 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 greater than 10,000 pounds, and the mixed vehicle weight rating is greater 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 mixture of vehicles, that doesn’t meet the Group A or Group B definitions, but that either is designed to transport sixteen or more passengers (together with the driver), or is meant to transport Hazardous Materials (HazMat).

With a Group C CDL license, you may drive any vehicle designed to move sixteen or extra passengers, together with the driver, if the GVWR is less than 26,001 pounds and you have a passenger endorsement. In addition, a Class C CDL also permits you to operate any vehicle used to transport hazardous supplies if the GVWR is less than 26,001 pounds and you have the correct endorsement.

Florida CDL Examination Overview

Tests for the FL CDL License include both skills tests and knowledge examinations.

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

Please consult with our free Florida CDL practice exams that can help you prepare for your FL CDL exams.

General Test Overview

Drivers of every CDL class need to pass a General Knowledge examination which contains questions concerning driving safety, vehicle inspection, highway indicators, traffic legal guidelines and other information it's worthwhile to discover to drive a commercial vehicle in Florida.

Endorsement Exam Overview

Along with the general knowledge examination, you should also take and pass varied endorsement examinations depending on the kind of vehicle that you'll be operating.  The endorsement examinations are described below.

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

Air Brakes Examination

When you plan on driving any commercial vehicle that has air brakes, it's necessary to take and pass the air brakes exam to take away the air brakes restriction from your CDL.  The air brakes exam is completely different than the endorsement exams because the air brakes examination 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 are not approved to drive a commercial vehicle with air brakes.

Florida CDL License Requirements and FL CDL General Qualifications

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

  • Are not less than 21 years old.
  • Can read and speak English enough to talk with the general public, to grasp highway traffic signals and indicators, to respond to official inquiries, and to make reports and records.
  • Are physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Have a currently legitimate commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued by only one state.
  • Have administered their employer a listing of violations or the certificate as required
  • Are not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle
  • Have successfully passed a driver’s road examination and associated knowledge exams and have been issued a commercial driver’s license by the state of Florida

More detailed Florida CDL Requirements can be found within the FL handbook link found in the part below.

Florida CDL Handbook and Resources

Florida CDL Handbook - gives FL CDL requirements and application info

Florida CDL Agency - Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Customer Service Center
(850) 617-2000
Customer Service Center representatives are available to assist you Monday – Friday,7 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

This information applies to the entire state of Florida as well as the cities of: Orlando, Miami, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota, Gainesville.


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