What is a CDL?
An Florida Commercial Driver License (CDL License Florida) is a special drivers license issued by the state of Florida under the regulation of the FMCSA. It is designed to ensure that everyone authorized to operate heavy vehicles has a standardized level of knowledge and skill, to keep our highways safe.
(Note: These are the Florida CDL Requirements, click here to see your state’s CDL requirements.)
Do I Need An Florida CDL?
The need to obtain a Florida Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is determined by the type, weight, and cargo transported in your vehicle.
CDL licenses in Florida fall into three classes:
CLASS A – Required to operate trucks or truck combinations weighing 26,001 lbs or more, provided they are towing a vehicle/trailer over 10,000 lbs.
For Example: You have an truck towing a fifty-three foot trailer with a GVWR of 80,000 pounds.
CLASS B – Required to operate any single truck/bus/vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, OR any truck combination with a GCWR of greater than 26,000 pounds, provided they are towing a vehicle/unit with a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds.
For Example: Dump trucks, cement truck, most buses.
CLASS C – Required to operate vehicles transporting hazardous materials requiring a placard, or vehicles designed to transport more than 15 persons including the driver with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of less than 26,001 lbs
For Example: Any vehicle of any size, designed or used to carry more than 15 passengers (including the driver) or hazardous materials.
Requirements For Florida CDL Endorsements
Operating certain types of vehicles, carrying certain types of cargo, or driving under certain circumstances sometimes requires an endorsement.
Florida CDL Endorsements include:
- (H) – HazMat Placarded Vehicles – Issued to those who have passed the required written and skills tests and who will transport hazardous materials or waste in amounts requiring a placard according to federal regulations.
- (N) – Tank Vehicles – Issued to those who have passed the required written exams to drive tank vehicles, or vehicles transporting more than 1000 gallons in portable containers.
- (P) – Passenger – Issued to those who have passed the required written exams and skills tests who will transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver.
- (S) – School Bus – Issued to those who have passed the required written exams and skills tests and who will transport pre-primary, primary or secondary school students to and from school, or to and from school-sponsored events.
- (T) – Doubles/Triples – Issued to those who have passed the required written exams to drive double and triple trailer combinations. (Note: Triple trailers are not allowed on Florida roads.)
- (X) – Tanker/Hazardous Materials – Issued to those who qualify for the H (hazard placard) and N (tank vehicle) endorsements combination.
IMPORTANT: You MUST study each of the sections covering the general knowledge, air brakes, and pre-trip inspection (1, 2, 3, 5*, 6, 11, 12, 13) AND the sections of any endorsements you need to qualify for an unrestricted Class A Florida CDL.
*The air brake exam is required to remove the air brake restriction from your license.
Florida CDL Requirements
In order to obtain a new Florida Commercial Drivers License, you must meet all of the following requirements:
1. You must be 18 years of age to apply for an intrastate (within Florida) CDL.
2. You must be 21 years of age or older to apply for an interstate (outside Florida) CDL.
3. You must provide proof of legal residence in Florida.
4. You must be able to obtain a Medical Certification under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
5. You must provide a valid social security card or your most recent W2 form.
How To Get A CDL In Florida
The following steps are required by the FMCSA and the state of Florida to obtain your Florida Commercial Drivers License.
1. Study each section of the official Florida Commercial Drivers License Handbook that covers the classification of license you’d like to receive along with any endorsements.
2. You may go to any local CDL office for the written examinations. Be sure to bring with you:
- A current valid Class E license.
- Your social security card.
- Your Medical Examiners Certificate or DOT Card.
You get one free attempt at each of the general knowledge and endorsement tests. Re-takes cost $10 each.
3. After passing your general knowledge written exams and endorsement exams you have elected to take, you will be issued a Florida CDL Permit, valid for six months.
4. You must obtain a Medical Examiner’s Report from your physician before you can begin training in a commercial motor vehicle.
5. You may only drive the type vehicle for which you have been tested for and only with a CDL driver, over 21 years old, licensed in the same type of vehicle who is sitting in the passenger seat. Or, you may contact an authorized third party training facility for further instruction. See the CDL Learners Permit Brochure for more information.
6. Schedule an appointment for your road skills test at one of the Florida CDL road skills testing sites.
Note: You are responsible for bringing your own vehicle to the testing site, which is representative of the class of license you’d like to receive. Make sure that it is capable of passing a pre-trip inspection.
7. Pass your skills and on-road test.
- Pre-Trip Inspection – You must tell your examiner what you would inspect to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive. (See section 11 of the CDL Handbook)
- Basic Vehicle Control – You will be tested on your ability to control the vehicle in a defined space.
- Road Test – You will drive with your examiner on public roads to test your ability to safely maneuver your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations.
How Much Does A CDL In Florida Cost?
The cost of obtaining your CDL License Florida can vary depending on which license and endorsements you’d like to receive, as well as how much your physician charges for a DOT approved physical.
The fees are as follows:
- Medical Examiners Report – $50-100 dollars depending on the physician/insurance.
- CDL Class A – $75.00
- Endorsements – $7.00 each
- Knowledge Re-test – $10.00 each
- Skills/Road Re-Test – $20.00
TOTAL: $125 – 240.00 DOLLARS
Official Florida CDL Handbook: http://cdn.nationalsafetycommission.com/handbooks/2011/florida_cdl_2011.pdf
Florida Department Of Motor Vehicles: http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/cdl.html
Florida CDL Learner’s Permit Brochure:
FMSCA Guidelines: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration-licensing/cdl/cdl.htm