More Than a CDL: Endorsements and Restrictions
Once you’ve passed your CDL program, you’re ready to start gaining the experience you need to build your career! Did you know that there are additional tests you can take to get endorsements on your CDL? We’ve compiled some of the ways in which you can enhance your CDL qualifications.
Driving a commercial vehicle is a skilled profession that requires dedication, superior physical ability, and experience. A CDL is obtained only when a student has passed skill- and knowledge-based testing that demonstrates an understanding of the industry’s high standards. Once you determine that you qualify for a CDL program and get your license, there are additional tests you can take that will give you an edge over another driver.
In order to drive specialized vehicles or cargo, a driver must first have these endorsements on their CDL:
- H: Hazardous materials
- N: Tank vehicles
- P: Passenger vehicles
- T: Double or triple trailers
- S: School bus
- X: Tank vehicles and hazardous materials
All of these tests, except the Passenger endorsement and School Bus endorsement, require only passing a knowledge test. Endorsements that involve transporting passengers of any type require that drivers pass a knowledge test and a skills test.
It’s also important to remember that not passing some tests can result in restrictions on your CDL. These restrictions include:
- E: Skills test taken in a vehicle with manual transmission; indicates that driver is not qualified to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission
- L: Failure to pass the Air Brakes Knowledge test or correctly identify the air brake components; indicates a “no full air brakes” restriction
- Z: Driver is not authorized to operate a commercial vehicle with full air brakes
- M: If a driver possesses a Class A CDL and obtains an endorsement for a school bus or passenger vehicle for a Class B CDL; restriction indicates that the driver may only operate Class B or Class C passenger vehicles or school buses
- N: If a driver possesses a Class B CDL and obtains an endorsement for a school bus or passenger vehicle for a Class C CDL; restriction indicates that the driver may only operate Class C passenger vehicles or school buses
These are endorsements and restrictions as established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Individual states may have their own list, so make sure you brush up on your state’s rules and regulations!