When a person applies for a CDL, that person must pass the knowledge and skills tests for the commercial motor vehicle groups they wish to be licensed to operate.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Groups
Group A – Combination Vehicle
Any combination of vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
Examples: tractor with trailer (combination vehicle), tractor with double/triple trailers
Group B – Heavy Straight Vehicle
Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
Group C – Small Vehicle
Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Group A or Group B as defined above, but that either is designated to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials.
Examples: passenger cars, pickup trucks, SUV’s, RV’s
When a CDL applicant takes the driving test, that person must take the driving test using a vehicle that is representative of the CMV that meets the definition of that vehicle group. For example, if a person is taking a driving test for a Class A CDL, that person must take the driving test using a vehicle defined in Group A.
Relationship Between Commercial Motor Vehicle Groups
CDL driver applicants who wish to operate a different commercial motor vehicle than the one they are currently licensed to operate must take and pass all related tests required for that commercial motor vehicle group. The exceptions to this regulation are as follows:
Holders of a Group A license may, with any appropriate endorsements, operate all vehicles within Groups B and C.
Holders of a Group B license may, with any appropriate endorsements, operate all vehicles within Group C.