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THE SOUTH CAROLINA CDL COURSE PACKAGE COVERS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PASS THE SOUTH CAROLINA CDL WRITTEN AND SKILLS TESTS FOR ALL CLASSES OF SOUTH CAROLINA CDL AND ALL AVAILABLE SOUTH CAROLINA CDL ENDORSEMENTS.
SOUTH CAROLINA CDL Information
Specific South Carolina CDL Information

South Carolina Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Fees

South Carolina CDL Endorsements

The following endorsements can be applied to a South Carolina CDL:

The following tests are required for each South Carolina CDL endorsement listed above:

To obtain any endorsement, you must successfully pass all required knowledge and/or skills tests. The skills test must be taken in the type vehicle for which the endorsement is issued.

If you upgrade your commercial license endorsement or class, you must Complete Form DL-402 and provide information regarding any previous out-of-state drivers' licenses.

When you apply for an upgrade to your commercial driver's license, you must complete Form DL-405A to self-certify the type of commerce for which you intend to operate. You must also provide a valid medical certification for any type of commerce that requires it. (See Frequently Asked Questions regarding form DL-405A.) SCDMV will collect the driver's certification information and add it to the national Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) record. All commercial driver's license and learner's permit holders must be self-certified or risk losing his or her privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Commercial driver's license and learner's permit holders must comply each time they apply for a new credential, renew or upgrade their credential. If a medical certificate is required, you must also show your valid DOT Medical Certificate or pocket card of the Medical Certificate. DMV will not accept a medical certificate if it expires within 30 days from the date it is presented.

SCDMV will run automatic checks against the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) and the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) databases to check your prior driving history in other states. The checks are performed when a customer applies for an original credential, renews a credential, is reexamined or moves from a learner's permit to a license. They are designed to insure drivers have only one valid license at a time.

Getting Your Initial Commercial Driver License

To obtain a Commercial Driver's License for the first time in the state of South Carolina, the following are required:

When you apply for a South Carolina commercial driver's license, SCDMV will run automatic checks against the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) and the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) databases to check your prior driving history in other states. The checks are performed when a customer applies for an original credential, renews a credential, is reexamined or moves from a learner's permit to a license. They are designed to insure drivers have only one valid license at a time.

South Carolina CDL Knowledge Test

You will take one or more knowledge tests, depending on what class of license and what endorsements you may need. The South Carolina CDL knowledge tests include:

The type of South Carolina CDL written knowledge tests you need to pass depends on the type of commercial motor vehicle you drive and the cargo you haul.

South Carolina CDL (Commercial Driver's License) Skills Test

If you pass the required knowledge tests, you can then take the South Carolina CDL skills test. Only the applicant and DMV Examiner are allowed in or around the vehicle during the skills test. There are three parts to the South Carolina CDL skills test which must be taken in this order: (1) the pre-trip inspection test, (2) the basic control skills test, and (3) the on-road test. You must take these tests in the type of vehicle for which you wish to be licensed. To be eligible for a CDL, all three parts of the South Carolina CDL skills test must be passed at one time.

South Carolina CDL Restrictions

South Carolina CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the South Carolina Knowledge Tests that are required for the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained in the FREE South Carolina CDL Handbook. Please read and study this manual carefully.

Classes of South Carolina CDL and Required Tests

CDL Class Tests Required Possible Endorsements and Required Tests
Class A
(Combination
vehicle endorsement required)

General Knowledge Written Exam

Combination Endorsement Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
T - Doubles/Triples Written Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class B

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class C

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

Note: If upgrading to a Class C from a Class D, no road test is required UNLESS the endorsement requires one.
H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam

South Carolina CDL Endorsements

Exam Time Allowed (Minutes) # of Questions on Exam # of Correct Answers Needed to Pass
General Knowledge 60 50 40
Air Brakes 25 25 20
HazMat 30 30 24
Tank 20 20 16
Passenger 20 20 16
Doubles/Triples 20 20 16
Combination Vehicles 20 20 16
School Bus 20 20 16

For the most complete and accurate official South Carolina state CDL information, go to the Official South Carolina CDL Website.

What is a CDL?
A "CDL" is a Commercial Drivers License. It meets certain minimum "standards" that are the same for every state. It differs from the South Carolina "operator's" or "chauffeur's" licenses. It is required if you drive certain kinds of commercial trucks or buses.

What is the COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1986 (CMVSA/86) administered by the FMCSA?
It is a law passed by the United States Congress which requires ALL the individual states to comply with certain standards in regards to the licensing of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. South Carolina driver licensing standards comply with the law, requiring CMV drivers to obtain a South Carolina Commercial Driver's License (CDL) when driving applicable trucks and buses. A CDL license can ONLY be issued in the driver's STATE OF LEGAL RESIDENCE, and if you have a CDL, you can have NO OTHER DRIVER'S LICENSE in ANY other state.

When do I need a South Carolina CDL instead of my regular South Carolina Drivers License?
A South Carolina CDL is required if you operate any of the following CMV's . . .
1. A vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 lbs.
2. A vehicle towing a unit with a manufacturer's GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. when the GCWR exceeds 26,000 lbs.
3. A vehicle used to . . .(a.) carry 15 or more passengers (excluding the driver), or (b.) carry (15) or less people (including the driver) when carrying children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
4. A vehicle carrying hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding.

What are the eligibility requirements to obtain a South Carolina CDL?
1. You must be 21 years old. (18 years if all commercial driving is done within South Carolina and if no hazardous materials requiring placarding are transported and if you do not drive double or triple trailer rigs).
2. You must be physically capable (in accordance with the MCSR 49 CFR 391.41 Physical Qualifications for Drivers regulations) of obtaining a valid DOT medical examiner's card (before being issued a CDL permit or taking any CDL skills test).
3. You must otherwise qualify for the license based on your driving record. Any of the following will disqualify you from obtaining a South Carolina CDL . . .
* If you possess a license from any state other than South Carolina.
* If you are currently subject to any disqualification of your commercial driving privilege from South Carolina or any other state.
* If your license is currently suspended, revoked, denied, or cancelled.
* If you have a conviction for operating a commercial motor vehicle while impaired in the 24 months immediately preceding application.
* other technical rules, and further restrictions that pertain only to South Carolina are covered in detail within the Course.

How do I obtain a South Carolina CDL?
1. Show your South Carolina driver license.
2. You must take and pass all South Carolina examinations that apply to your license class and endorsement requirements.
3. Show proof of social security number.
4. Meet South Carolina driver record eligibility requirements as determined by the State.
5. Fill out an application including certifications.
6. Provide a DOT medical certificate and pass the required CDL knowledge and vision tests (BEFORE a CDL Temporary Instruction Permit will be issued).
7. Pay the South Carolina CDL fees.
8. Schedule, take, and pass your South Carolina CDL skills test.

A separate booklet is included in the South Carolina CDL Course package which covers information such as fees, locations, contacts, procedures and other items specific to South Carolina for the written and skills examinations for ALL classes of CDL and ALL available endorsements.

What is a CDL "Skills Test" and how do I take it?
A "skills" test is the practical portion of the exam and includes . . .
1. A vehicle inspection test to measure your ability to perform a vehicle safety check.
2. A basic control skills test.
3. A driving test.
The skills test is normally given at an approved third party testing site in your area. This can vary and the latest procedures are indicated in the South Carolina CDL Course.

So let's say I get a South Carolina CDL. Can I use it Out-of-State?
Yes! It is good throughout the entire United States.

Can my South Carolina CDL be suspended or revoked?
Yes, there are MANY reasons that your South Carolina CDL can be suspended or revoked. Improper use of alcohol or drugs, traffic violations, and failure to notify top the list. The Course details ALL of the rules regarding suspension or revocation. The point to remember is that alcohol or drug use is not tolerated and your record WILL FOLLOW YOU THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES FOREVER!!!

So let's say that my South Carolina CDL is revoked. Can't I just apply for a CDL in another State?
No!!! Those days are gone.

Are there any exemptions to being required to have South Carolina CDL?
Yes, a few . . .
1. Active Duty Military . . . with military licenses operating military vehicles.
2. Firefighters . . . meeting approved training standards and operating authorized emergency vehicles.
3. Farmers . . . in certain cases.
4. Individuals ....operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for non business purposes.

What do the terms Class A, Class B, and Class C mean on my South Carolina CDL?
It refers to the type of vehicle that you may operate . . .
CLASS A . . . allows you to operate vehicles which tow trailers or other vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds. A Class "A" license also allows you to operate Class B and C vehicles.
CLASS B . . . allows you to operate single vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more OR a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, towing trailers/vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds GVWR or less. A Class "B" license also allows you to operate Class C vehicles.
CLASS C . . .allows you to operate vehicles under 26,001 lbs. GVWR, that would normally not require a CDL; except when they are designed to transport 16 or more persons including the driver; or that carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation, or carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding. Applicable endorsements are required.

What are Endorsement Codes and when do I need them on my South Carolina CDL?
Endorsements are necessary for certain commercial driving requirements as follows . . .
(T) DOUBLE or TRIPLE TRAILERS.
(P) PASSENGER. For vehicles which are designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver); or those which carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
(N) TANK VEHICLES. For vehicles designed to haul liquids or liquefied gases in bulk in permanently mounted tanks or portable tanks rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
(H) HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. To carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placards.
(X) Endorsement code designating a Tank (N) vehicle that carries Hazardous Materials (H).

I'm over 18 years old, but not 21 years old yet. Can I get a South Carolina CDL license?
Yes . . . with restrictions. You are limited to INTRAstate driving of commercial vehicles (you cannot drive a commercial truck or bus out of South Carolina). You cannot drive a vehicle requiring HAZ MAT placarding, cannot drive double or triple trailer rigs and cannot drive a School Bus with children on board until you turn 21 years of age.

We could go on and on with FAQs but I hope this covers most of your GENERAL questions. Please be assured that the Course answers EVERYTHING that you need to know to obtain ANY or ALL of the available CDL licenses and endorsements in an easy to understand manner. The material is presented in three different ways to reinforce your retention. GOOD LUCK !!

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