Last updated on April 23, 2023
A commercial driver’s license can include many endorsements. These CDL endorsements enable drivers to operate certain types of vehicles. For example, a passenger transport endorsement allows a driver to operate a vehicle that can carry 16 passengers. These endorsements require a special road skills test and additional written knowledge. Having these endorsements can be especially valuable if you want a predictable schedule and the opportunity to travel the country. These endorsements can also be required if you want to drive a school bus.
A CDL holder can get several types of endorsements to increase his or her income. One endorsement allows a driver to operate a single trailer and towing a double or triple trailer. Another endorsement is the hazardous materials endorsement, which allows a driver to transport hazardous materials. Adding these endorsements can also be beneficial for career advancement. Furthermore, they can lead to better pay and more options for truck driving jobs.
Drivers who operate special types of CMVs also need to pass additional tests to obtain any of the following CDL License endorsements:
L – If a driver either fails the air brake component of the general knowledge test or performs the skills test in a vehicle not equipped with air brakes, the driver is issued an air brake restriction (L), restricting the driver from operating a CMV equipped with air brakes. Air Brakes Practice Tests
E – Automatic transmission restriction limits CDL license holders to operating commercial motor vehicles that have an automatic transmission. In order to have this restriction removed from your CDL license, you will need to submit an application to your State DMV for removal of the (E) restriction, pay any associated fees and take a road test with a commercial motor vehicle with a manual transmission.
Z – The driver tested in a vehicle that has an air over hydraulic brake system. The driver is not authorized to operate a CMV equipped with full air brakes.
O – This restriction is for drivers who take a skills test with a Class A CMV that is not equipped with a fifth wheel connection, such as a pintle hook or other non-fifth wheel connection.
M – This is for drivers who have a Class A CDL, but obtained a passenger or school bus endorsement in a Class B vehicle. In this case the State will restrict the driver only operating a Class B or C passenger vehicle or school bus.
N – If a driver has a Class B CDL and goes on to obtain a passenger or school bus endorsement in a Class C vehicle, then the driver can only operate a Class C passenger vehicle or school bus.
V – This restriction indicates that the State has been notified by the FMCSA that a medical variance has been issued to the driver and that medical variance is indicated on the CDLIS driving record.
Source: 49 CFR 383