California's CDL manual and DMV CDL Practice Tests

for all endorsements

California's CDL Manual

Commercial Driver Handbook

This handbook provides driver license (DL) testing information for drivers who wish to have a commercial learner’s permit (CLP)/commercial driver license (CDL). This handbook does not provide information on all the federal and state requirements needed before you can drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

You Must Have a CDL to Operate: • A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. • A combination of vehicles with a gross combi- nation weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. • A vehicle designed, used, or maintained for carrying more than 10 passengers, including the driver (see chart below). • A 3-axle vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds.

You Must Have a CDL When: • Towing a vehicle or trailer, which has a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more. • Transporting hazardous materials (HazMat), which require placards. • Transporting HazMat, as defined in California Health and Safety Code (CHSC) §§25115 and 25117. • Towing any combination of 2 trailers or vehicle and trailer.

Horse trailers with living quarters and a GVWR over 10,000 pounds require a commercial Class A DL. Restriction 88 will be added to the DL if the truck and trailer GCWR is under 26,001 pounds.

DMV CDL Practice Tests

General Knowledge

The general knowledge test is the first of several tests that you will have to complete in order to get your CDL. The questions cover general information about commercial vehicles, driving, and vehicle inspections. The test has a total of 50 questions, and requires at least 40 correct answers to pass.

Air Brakes

You must have an Air brake endorsement on your driver's license to drive a vehicle equipped with an air brake system. This test will test your knowledge of the function, parts, and braking distance of air brakes. The test will consist of 25 questions, and at least 20 correct answers are needed to pass.


The combination endorsement allows you to drive a vehicle with a power unit and one trailer. This test will cover the "ins and outs" of operating articulated vehicles. The exam consists of 25 questions, and requires at least 20 correct to pass.

Hazardous Material

The Hazardous Material endorsement allows the driver to operate a vehicle containing items such as poisons, explosives, flammables, etc. You will also have to pass the TSA Hazardous Material Threat Assessment to get this endorsement. There are 30 questions, 24 correct required to pass.


The Tanker endorsement allows the driver to operate a vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds designed to transport any liquid or gaseous material within a tank that is permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle. There are 20 questions, 16 correct required to pass.

Doubles / Triples

The Doubles/Triples endorsement is required for drivers to pull 2 trailers (doubles) or 3 trailers (triples) connected to a single power unit. There are 20 questions on this test, and 16 correct answers are required to pass.


Bus drivers must have a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement in order to operate a vehicle which seats 16 or more, including the driver. There are 20 questions on this test, and 16 correct answers are required to pass.

School Bus

School Bus Endorsement is required for any driver who operates a school bus. After the permit tests the training can be only completed by a local school district. There are 20 questions on this test, and 16 correct answers are required to pass.

Pre Trip Inspection

The Pre-Trip exam is an oral exam where you are expected to check the vehicle parts to insure it is safe for road use. The amount of parts you need to check increase with the size of the vehicle, and by type of vehicle.