North Carolina's CDL manual and DMV CDL Practice Tests

for all endorsements

North Carolina's CDL Manual

Commercial Driver Handbook

In North Carolina, commercial driver licenses are required for drivers who operate vehicles that are designed or used to transport passengers or property. In addition to a commercial driver license, a special endorsement is required to haul hazardous materials, transport passengers, drive school buses and school activity buses, pull double trailers or drive tank vehicles. To apply for a CDL in North Carolina, you must be at least 18 years old and 21 for operations in interstate commerce or hazardous material endorsement. Applicants must already possess a valid Class A, B or C driver license and be accompanied in the front seat by a licensed commercial driver license operator of the same class, or higher, including endorsements while the applicant has a CDL permit. More information can be found at the Official North Carolina site. CDL Classes

  • Class A - Allows you to operate any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B - Includes single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being pulled must not be more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C - Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that either is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous.

CDL Endorsements

  • T - Double/Triple Trailers
  • P - Passenger Vehicles (requires a skills test)
  • N - Tank Vehicles
  • H - Hazardous Materials
  • X - Tank Vehicle/Hazardous Materials Combination
  • S - School Bus (requires a skills test)
  • CDL Restrictions
  • L - If the vehicle used for testing is not equipped with air brakes, the license must show an "L" no air brake equipped CMV restriction.
  • Z - If the vehicle used for testing is equipped with air over hydraulic brakes, the license must show a "Z" for no full air brake equipped CMV restriction.
  • E - If the vehicle used for testing has an automatic transmission, the license must show an "E" for no manual transmission equipped CMV restriction.
  • Testing for your North Carolina CDL:

    • CDL Knowledge test - The knowledge test consists of 25 questions to test the applicant's knowledge of North Carolina and Federal driving regulations, of which the applicant must answer 20 correctly to reach a passing score of 80%.
    • CDL Road Skills Test - After successful completion of the knowledge test, the applicant can then take the road test which consists of three parts: a Pre-Trip Inspection, Basic Vehicle Control, and Road Test. The Pre-Trip inspection includes a full walk-around of the vehicle and it requires the driver to point out vehicle components and explain what is being checked and why to the examiner. The Basic Vehicle Control test includes straight line backing, offset right or left backing and alley dock backing. The road test is conducted on streets and requires the driver to demonstrate his/her skills in normal traffic situations.

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.