Earning your commercial driver's license (CDL) is the first step towards a flourishing career as a truck driver. The demand for commercial driving workforce is huge: a lot of employers go to great lengths to find CDL drivers. But to advance your career, certain endorsements should be earned and restrictions should be removed. Whether you have a Class A, Class B, or Class C CDL, you will want to know about the different endorsements and restrictions you will face.
CDL endorsements are essential for commercial drivers to operate special types of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Outside of the Class A, B, or C CDL requirements, there are additional tests to obtain the following federal CDL endorsements.
Note: There may be additional endorsements depending on the state you legally operate in.
The H endorsement is required to operate a vehicle that contains hazardous materials. A written knowledge test is needed to obtain a hazmat endorsement.
The N endorsement allows CDL drivers to operate a tank vehicle (a vehicle that transports liquids or gasses). A written knowledge test is required to obtain a tank vehicle endorsement.
The P endorsement is needed to operate a vehicle that seats 16 or more people, including the driver. A written knowledge test and road skills test is required for a passenger endorsement.
The S endorsement allows drivers to operate a school bus. Prior to obtaining an S endorsement, a P endorsement must be earned. A written knowledge test, road skills test, separate application forms, fees, and a background check is required for a school bus endorsement.
The T endorsement is necessary for CDL drivers looking to tow a double or triple trailer. A written knowledge test is required to obtain a double/triple trailers endorsement.
The X endorsement is a combination endorsement for tank vehicles and hazardous materials. A written knowledge test is required to earn a combination tank vehicle and hazmat endorsement.
CDL restrictions prohibit the operation of certain types of CMVs. The restriction code is placed on the CDL.
Note: There may be additional restrictions depending on the state you legally operate in.
An E restriction prohibits CDL truck drivers from operating a vehicle with a manual transmission. If a skills test is performed with an automatic transmission, an E restriction will be issued.
An L restriction prohibits the the operation of a vehicle with a full air brake system. If the skills test isn't taken with a full air brake system, air brake systems aren't properly checked, or air brake system components aren't properly identified, an L restriction will be issued. An L restriction will also be issued to drivers that do not pass the air brakes knowledge test.
An M restriction indicates that a driver can only operate a Class B or C passenger vehicle or school bus. If a driver has a Class A CDL, but obtains their passenger endorsement (P) or school bus endorsement (S) in a Class B vehicle, an M restriction will be issued.
An N restriction indicates that a driver can only operate a Class C passenger vehicle or school bus. If a driver has a Class B CDL, but obtains their passenger endorsement (P) or school bus endorsement (S) in a Class C vehicle, an N restriction will be issued.
An O restriction prohibits drivers from driving a Class A vehicle with a fifth wheel connection. An O restriction will be issued if a driver takes the skills test in a Class A vehicle that has a non-fifth wheel connection or pintle hook.
A V restriction is issued when a driver has a medical variance, reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A medical variance includes diabetic, hearing, seizure, or vision impairments.
A Z restriction prohibits drivers from operating a CMV equipped with full air brakes. A Z restriction is issued if the driver doesn't take the test with an air over hydraulic brake system.