What are the age requirements to be a CDL driver in North Carolina? North Carolina

CDL Driver Age Requirements

Age requirements to be a CDL driver are:

  • 18 years old, to drive only within NC. May not drive hazardous materials.
  • 21 years old, to drive within North Carolina, HAZMAT, and interstate.

To get a commercial license, you must be at least 18. However, until you turn 21 you will not be allowed to drive over state lines or get a hazardous materials endorsement.

Getting a CDL

To become a CDL driver, you need to go to a Driver License office (you can locate one when you visit the NC DMV website). Make an appointment (this is required if you are taking the skills test at the same time) and bring with you:

  • Proof of Identity and age. You need two separate forms; for example, a birth certificate and a marriage certificate (if you changed your name). All the forms are listed in the Driver’s Handbook on the NC DMV website.
  • Proof of residency in NC. All acceptable documents are listed in the Driver’s Handbook.
  • Your Social Security card.
  • Proof of insurance.

At some point, you will have to take a chemical (drug) test.

In addition, the DMV examiner may ask you to get a Department of Transportation medical clearance, from your physician. If you have questions about whether you need this ahead of time, contact your DMV office.

The examiner may also ask you to provide a driving record, proving you have a clean record.

NOTE: Before you go in, know which CDL Class license you need to get (A, B, or C). The state allows you to have a single CDL license. You may get endorsements to allow you to drive specific types of vehicles within that class, such as a school bus endorsement or a hazardous materials endorsement.

Take the CDL Test

After your paperwork is processed, you will have to take a written exam. This test will take an average of an hour and a half.

You may have to take more than one test. The CDL tests are:

  • General Knowledge Test: Everyone.
  • Passenger Transport Test: Transporting passengers (not a school bus).
  • School Bus Test: School bus drivers.
  • Air Brakes Test: Vehicles with air brakes.
  • Combination Vehicles Test: Combination vehicles.
  • Hazardous Materials Test: Hazardous materials or waste.
  • Tanker Test: Tank vehicles.
  • Doubles Test: Double trailers.

It is important to study for these tests. You get one chance per day to try, and only three tries at most before you pay another fee.

The Commercial Handbook is the best way to study all the material that could possibly be on the test, but there are no practice tests in it. Luckily, drivers ed companies now sell tests based on the handbook and the real tests. A CDL practice test is fairly low cost, can be taken on the Internet, and will tell you immediately whether you’ll be able to pass the real test.

Get Your Learner’s Permit

Once you pass the written test, you will be issued a CDL learner’s permit. This permit is good for six months, and there's a limit of two within two years.

Take the Skills Test

Then you have to take a skills test. You can take this right after your written, ONLY with an appointment. You’ll be tested on safety and driving skills.

Learning to Drive a CDL Vehicle

If you do not know how to drive a commercial vehicle, you'll need to get some CDL practice and it must be with a licensed CDL driver in the same CDL class as you.

Most people do not have large vehicles sitting around, so you will either practice with an employer on the job, or enroll in a truck driving school.


  • $30 for new CDL license.
  • $3 for each endorsement, per year.
  • $15 annual renewal fee.

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