North Carolina CDL Requirements

In State Driving Age:
Driving Between States Age:
Hazardous Age:
Exams Required:
  • Vision
  • Health
  • Written Test
  • Driving Test
IDs Required:
  • State ID
  • Social Security Card

To qualify to apply for a commercial driver license (CDL), applicants must be 21 years of age. Those who are at least 18 can still apply, but they can only receive a restricted license. Their licenses will not allow them to drive outside of North Carolina or to drive with hazardous materials in the vehicle.

The Documents Needed to Begin the Application Process

When North Carolina residents apply for their CDLs, they will need to take the following documents with them:

  • A currently valid or expired driver license, learner’s permit or ID card from the state of North Carolina to prove their identity
  • Their social security cards
  • Their medical cards if required

The Physical Requirements

The physical examination that applicants will be required to pass will ensure that they have their hands, arms, feet and legs in full working order. Specifically, these body parts must not be in a condition so impaired that applicants cannot effectively operate the commercial vehicle. They must not be insulin-dependent. They must be free of several heart conditions. If they have high blood pressure that may interfere with their duties, they will not be able to pass the physical examination in North Carolina.

Part of the physical examination also includes a vision test. They will need to have at least 20/40 vision in both eyes, but they are allowed to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. They must be able to see in both eyes at a 70-degree angle. Those who are colorblind will be disqualified because applicants need to be able to differentiate between the amber, red and green of the traffic light. Their hearing will be tested to ensure that they can hear adequately.

The Knowledge Tests

Those who meet the stringent physical requirements listed above can take the written knowledge tests. All applicants for a CDL in North Carolina will take a general knowledge exam. Some people will have to take other tests because they will need to add special endorsements, and they can take these exams when they take their general knowledge tests. The entire testing process may take approximately one hour and a half.  View the free North Carolina CDL Manual for information that will be covered on the written exam.

The Skills Test

If applicants pass the knowledge tests with a grade of 80 percent or higher, they can schedule an appointment to take the skills test. This exam will require about two hours to complete, and applicants will pass it if they earn an 80 percent or higher.

Applicants will be tested in three different areas when they arrive for the skills test. First, they will demonstrate that they can recognize when a vehicle is ready and when it is not to be taken on the public roads. The second area to be tested is how well applicants can maneuver their vehicles. During this portion of the examination, they will show that they can easily move the commercial vehicle forward, backward and make turns without difficulties. The last part of the exam will take them out onto the roads where they will demonstrate that they can drive the vehicle in a safe and careful manner.

North Carolina re-licensing information shows that individuals must renew every four years, and that those with Hazmat clearances must renew that clearance every 5 years. Individuals who allow their license to expire for over one year will need to re-test to receive their license.

 View Truck Driving Schools in North Carolina to find a CDL training facility in your area.

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