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CDL Endorsements And Restrictions

All commercial drivers who drive certain types of vehicles or haul certain types of cargo must add endorsements to their CDL license and/or Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) to show that they have the specialized knowledge required for these operations. There are six kinds of CDL endorsements that may be required, depending on the vehicle or type of cargo.

  • Double and Triple Trailers (T). Many drivers who are qualified to drive Class A vehicles may wish to pull double or triple trailers. Research shows that considerable additional knowledge and skill is necessary to safely pull double and triple trailers in various traffic conditions and driving environments. Consequently, adding the endorsement to the licenses of Class A drivers is necessary if they wish to pull double or triple trailers. A special knowledge examination on the problems associated with pulling multiple trailers must be passed.
  • Tank Vehicle (N). Drivers of any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis must obtain this endorsement. Applies to Class A, B and C (only applicable to Class C if the vehicle is hauling hazardous materials) vehicles. Liquids in bulk cause driving control problems because the cargo is heavy, prone to shifting, and has a high center of gravity. These drivers must pass a special knowledge examination on the problems posed by large volume liquid cargos to add the endorsement to their CDL/ CLP.
  • Passengers (P). Drivers who wish to drive a vehicle having a design capacity to carry 16 or more people, including the driver, must add a passenger endorsement to their CDL/CLP. They must pass a special knowledge examination on safety considerations when transporting passengers and must pass skills tests in a passenger vehicle. The endorsement applies to applicants who wish to drive a bus in any class (A, B, or C).
  • Hazardous Materials (H). Any driver, regardless of the vehicle Class/Group (A, B, or C) who wishes to haul any material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under subpart F of 49 CFR part 172; or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin 42 CFR Part 73 must add a hazardous materials endorsement to their CDL. They must pass a special written examination on how to recognize, handle, and transport hazardous materials.

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the US Department of Transportation require background checks on commercial drivers who are certified to transport hazardous materials. The background checks include a review of criminal, immigration, and FBI records. If the driver is found to represent a security threat, TSA will notify the person and the state will deny issuance of an endorsement.
  • Combination Hazardous Materials and Tank Vehicle (X). Drivers of tank vehicles who haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts requiring placards must add an X endorsement to their CDL, showing that they have passed the special knowledge examinations for both tank vehicles and hazardous materials.
  • School Buses (S). Drivers who wish to drive a school bus, must add a school bus endorsement to their CDL /CLP. They must pass a special knowledge examination on safety considerations when transporting passengers in a school bus and must pass skills tests in a school bus. The endorsement applies to applicants who wish to drive a school bus in any class (A, B, or C).

NOTE: The only endorsements that may be added to a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) are:

  • Passenger (P)
  • School bus (S)
  • Tank vehicle (N).

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #16 (1 of 3)

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the US Department of Transportation require background checks on commercial drivers who are certified to transport what type of freight?

  • Hazardous Materials
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Oversize Loads
  • Passengers
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the US Department of Transportation require background checks on commercial drivers who are certified to transport hazardous materials
If you would like a Hazmat endorsement, you will need to complete a background check by the federal government. Yes, there are plenty of hoops to jump through!
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Question #14 (2 of 3)

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Why must CDL holders carry a tanker endorsement for hauling liquids in bulk tanks?

  • Thick or flammable liquids are difficult to get out of the tank
  • You can damage a tanker far easier than other types of trailers
  • Tankers are often far heavier than any other commercial vehicles on the road
  • Liquids in bulk cause driving control problems because the cargo is heavy, prone to shifting, and has a high center of gravity
Tank Vehicle (N). Drivers of any commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis must obtain this endorsement. Applies to Class A, B and C (only applicable to Class C if the vehicle is hauling hazardous materials) vehicles. Liquids in bulk cause driving control problems because the cargo is heavy, prone to shifting, and has a high center of gravity. These drivers must pass a special knowledge examination on the problems posed by large volume liquid cargos to add the endorsement to their CDL/ CLP.
Bulk tankers, especially food-grade tankers, are extremely dangerous and difficult to handle. At Trucking Truth, we highly recommend that new drivers get at least one year of driving under their belt before attempting to drive a tanker.
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Question #15 (3 of 3)

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Drivers of tank vehicles who haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts requiring placards must add which endorsement to their CDL?

  • X Endorsement
  • CV Endorsement
  • HM Endorsement
  • Y Endorsement
Combination Hazardous Materials and Tank Vehicle (X). Drivers of tank vehicles who haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts requiring placards must add an X endorsement to their CDL, showing that they have passed the special knowledge examinations for both tank vehicles and hazardous materials.
To be honest, I'm not sure why they created the X endorsement. It's simply a combination of both Hazmat and Tanker endorsements.
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