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CDL License Restrictions

Restrictions may be added to Commercial Driver Licenses/Permits based upon the type of vehicle and equipment that the driver uses for the Skills Test. There are ten standardized restriction codes.

NOTE: If a CLP is issued with a Passenger (P) or a School Bus (S) endorsement, it must also contain a (P) – No passengers in a CMV bus restriction.

If a CLP is issued with a Tanker (N) endorsement, it must also contain a (X) – No cargo in a CMV tank vehicle.

(E) - No manual transmission. If an applicant performs the skills test in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission, the State must indicate on the CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a CMV equipped with a manual transmission. For the purposes of the skills test and the restriction, an automatic transmission includes any transmission not operating fully on the gear shift and clutch principle.

(K) - Intrastate only: If an applicant certifies their status as either Non-Excepted Intrastate or Excepted Intrastate, the state must indicate on the CDL, if issued, that person is restricted from operating a CMV in interstate commerce. States may impose this restriction for reasons other than those specified above.

(L) - No Air brake equipped CMV: If an applicant does not take or fails the air brake component of the knowledge test, or performs the skills test in a vehicle not equipped with air brakes, the State must indicate on the CLP or CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a CMV equipped with any type of air brakes. For the purposes of the skills test and the restriction, air brakes include any braking system operating fully or partially on the air brake principle.

(M) - No Class A passenger vehicle: If an applicant applying for a passenger endorsement performs the skills test in a passenger vehicle requiring a Group B CDL, the State must indicate on the CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a passenger vehicle requiring a Group A CDL.

(N) - No Class A and B passenger vehicle: If an applicant applying for a passenger endorsement performs the skills test in a passenger vehicle requiring a Group C CDL, the State must indicate on the CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a passenger vehicle requiring a Group A or B CDL

(O) - No tractor trailer CMV: If an applicant performs the skills test in a combination vehicle for a Group A CDL with the power unit and towed unit connected with a pintle hook or other non-fifth wheel connection, the State must indicate on the CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a tractor-trailer combination connected by a fifth wheel that requires a Group A CDL. An applicant who passes a skills test using a combination vehicle that is NOT a Truck Tractor Semi- Trailer combination, but is otherwise equipped with a fifth wheel, will be issued a CDL with an “O” restriction.

(P) - No passengers in CMV bus: A CLP holder with a P endorsement is prohibited from operating a CMV carrying passengers, other than Federal/State auditors and inspectors, test examiners, other trainees, and the CDL holder accompanying the CLP holder as prescribed by § CFR 383.25(a)(1) of this part. A CLP holder with a S endorsement is prohibited from operating a school bus with passengers, other than Federal/State auditors and inspectors, test examiners, other trainees, and the CDL holder accompanying the CLP holder as prescribed by § CFR 383.25(a)(1) of this part.

(V) - Medical Variance: If the State is notified according to § 383.73(o)(3) that the driver has been issued a medical variance, the State must indicate the existence of such a medical variance on the CDLIS driver record and the CDL document, if issued, using the restriction code ‘‘V’’ to indicate there is information about a medical variance on the CDLIS driver record.

(X) - No cargo in CMV tank vehicle: A CLP holder with an N endorsement may only operate an empty tank vehicle and is prohibited from operating any tank vehicle that previously contained hazardous materials that has not been purged of any residue.

(Z) - No full air brake equipped CMV: If an applicant performs the skills test in a vehicle equipped with air over hydraulic brakes, the State must indicate on the CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a CMV equipped with any braking system operating fully on the air brake principle. For the purposes of the skills test and the restriction, air over hydraulic brakes includes any braking system operating partially on the air brake and partially on the hydraulic brake principle.

(P4) – Restricts driver to drive Class C School Bus designed to transport less than 16 passengers including the driver.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #17 (1 of 2)

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Does it matter if an applicant performs the driving skills test in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission?

  • Yes, you will only be able to drive a commercial vehicle within your home state
  • Yes, you must retake the road test within 3 months in a manual transmission
  • No, it makes no difference what type of transmission you test with
  • Yes, you will have an "(E) - No manual transmission" restriction which prevents you from operating a CMV equipped with a manual transmission
(E) - No manual transmission. If an applicant performs the skills test in a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission, the State must indicate on the CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a CMV equipped with a manual transmission. For the purposes of the skills test and the restriction, an automatic transmission includes any transmission not operating fully on the gearshift and clutch principle.

This is very important to understand. Nowadays, most of the large carriers have automatic transmissions. If you go through a paid CDL training program they will normally test their students in an automatic truck. That means you will be limited to automatic transmissions only. That's not a real big deal nowadays because so many companies have made the switch to automatics, but be aware of this limitation.

If you have the option, choose to test in a manual transmission, but it's not a deal-breaker.

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Question #18 (2 of 2)

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Almost all Class A tractor-trailers have air brakes. If you take your driving skills test in a vehicle with hydraulic brakes, which limitation will you have on your CDL?

  • (M) - No Class A passenger vehicle
  • (O) - No tractor-trailer CMV
  • (L) - No full air brake equipped CMV
  • (K) - Intrastate only
(L) - No Air brake equipped CMV: If an applicant does not take or fails the air brake component of the knowledge test, or performs the skills test in a vehicle not equipped with air brakes, the State must indicate on the CLP or CDL, if issued, that the person is restricted from operating a CMV equipped with any type of air brakes. For the purposes of the skills test and the restriction, air brakes include any braking system operating fully or partially on the air brake principle.
Be aware that you must test in a truck that has air brakes if you want to drive a commercial vehicle with air brakes.
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