Tennessee CDL Requirements

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

The first step toward obtaining a Class A commercial driver license (CDL) is obtaining a learner’s permit. Those who meet the following qualifications can begin this process:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a current driver licenses have not been revoked or suspended
  • Have the required Department of Transportation (DOT) medical cards

Tennessee residents may apply for a CDL at the age of 19, but they will not be able to drive the vehicle outside of the state. Also, they must not drive a commercial vehicle farther than 100 miles from their places of employment.

The DOT Medical Card

In order to receive the medical card they need to apply, applicants will need to pass a physical examination based on the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration’s guidelines. Once applicants pass this examination, they will receive the medical card that they will take with them when they first apply for their permits.

Applying for a Permit

When people apply for a CDL in Tennessee, they will need to take a general knowledge test and any other knowledge tests that allow them to drive a vehicle with hazardous materials or that has a double/triple trailer. They will need to make an appointment to take these exams. When they appear for their appointments, they will need to have the following documents with them:

• Their medical cards
• Their current driver licenses
• Proof of their social security numbers
• Proof of residency
• Proof that they are U.S. citizens or legal residents

Where Can Applicants Take the Driving Skills Test?

After applicants complete all of their examinations successfully, they will receive their permits. These permits will allow them to begin practicing to drive the commercial vehicle they will need to operate for their jobs. When they are ready, they can to set up an appointment to take the required driving skills test. The information on the knowledge exam is found in the Tennessee CDL Manual.

Tennessee applicants for a CDL may only take the driving skills test in the following counties:

  • Washington
  • Shelby
  • Putnam
  • Maury
  • Madison
  • Knox
  • Hamilton
  • Davidson

The Driving Skills Test

The driving skills test will require that applicants demonstrate their proficiency in inspecting their vehicles, controlling them and driving them on Tennessee’s roads. During the inspection, they will need to check specific parts of the vehicle and determine whether or not they are in proper working order. Then, they will demonstrate that they can control the vehicle while starting, stopping, moving backward, moving forward and making turns.

The last part of the skills test requires that applicants take the vehicle into real-world situations. They will demonstrate that they can obey all of the traffic rules while they maneuver the vehicle in several different driving situations. Once they pass this test, they will qualify to receive their license.

The Required Fees

The basic license fee is $46. With this fee, applicants receive a license that is valid for five years. The fee for applying for a permit that will be valid for one year is $14. Each endorsement will require a $2.50 fee.

Tennessee re-licensing information shows that individuals are expected to renew their license every 5 years. Those who want to avoid retesting must have their renewed licensing information in by their birth date.

View Truck Driving Schools in Tennessee that provide CDL License Training. 

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