South Dakota's CDL manual and DMV CDL Practice Tests

for all endorsements

South Dakota's CDL Manual

Commercial Driver Handbook

To operate certain CMVs, you must be trained in specific classes. The classifications of different CDLs is listed below:

  • Class A: Applies only to “combination” vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) more than 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Class A CDL (plus any appropriate endorsements) can also operate all vehicles included in Class B and C
  • 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. A driver with an South Dakota Class B CDL (plus appropriate endorsements) can also legally operate all vehicles in Class C.
  • Class C: Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that meets neither the definition of Group A nor that of Group B as contained in this section, but 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 for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F).

Additionally, to haul certain materials, you will need extra certification called endorsements. Endorsements available in South Dakota are:

  • Double/Triple Trailers (T)
  • Passenger (P)
  • Tank Vehicle (N)
  • Hazardous Materials (H)
  • Combination of Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials endorsements (X)
  • School Bus (S)

Minimum Requirements For Getting A CDL In South Dakota: In order to apply for your CDL, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 (must be 21 to drive out of South Dakota)
  • Have a valid driver's license
  • Be a resident of South Dakota
  • If you are transferring an out-of-state CDL, you must do so within 30 days of establishing residency in South Dakota.
  • Have documents to prove your identity, including date of birth and lawful presence in the United States (1 document), Social Security number (1 document), SD residential address (2 documents dated within 1 year). You may refer to the South Dakota CDL Manual for a list of acceptable documents.

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.