North Carolina CDL Requirements
Before you can qualify for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you will need to obtain a commercial learner’s permit and hold it for 14 days before you are allowed to take the commercial driver’s license skills test. You must be at least 18 years old (or 21 years old if you plan to drive outside of North Carolina and/or transport hazardous materials) and possess a valid Class A, B, or C driver’s license. During the time you hold your commercial leaner’s permit, you must have a licensed commercial driver – of the same class for which you are applying or higher – in the front seat with you at all times. A commercial learner’s permit is valid for 180 days and can be renewed once, which is valid for an additional 180 days.
After you’ve held your commercial learner’s permit for at least 14 days, your next step is to prepare for and take the written and skills tests. Before you can take the tests, you must prove that your license is not suspended, disqualified or revoked, and that you do not currently hold more than one driver’s license. You will also be required to present the following documents to a North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles driver’s license office:
- One document verifying your age and identity (birth certificate, U.S, passport, REAL ID, motor vehicle driver’s record, a North Carolina school transcript or registration, or diploma or GED from a North Carolina school, U.S. military ID, U.S. government-issued proof of citizenship, court documents such as official divorce decree, adoption papers or court orders)
- Your Social Security card or one document proving you have a Social Security number
- Two proof-of-residency documents for U.S. citizens (vehicle registration card or insurance, voter registration card, military documents, utility/cable bill, housing contract or mortgage statement, school records)
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must provide one document issued by the U.S. government indicating legal presence (Consular Report of Birth Abroad; valid Permanent Resident Card; unexpired Employment Authorization Document; valid, unexpired foreign passport; Certificate of Naturalization; Certificate of Citizenship; machine-readable Immigrant Visa; temporary I-551 stamp on I-94 or passport; I-327 Re-Entry Permit; I-94 Arrival/Departure Record; I-20 Certificate of Eligibility Student Status; I-571 refugee travel document; I-797 Notice of Action receipt notice/approval; I-521L Authorization for Parole of an Alien into U.S.; I-220B Order of Supervision)
- Proof of liability insurance coverage from a provider licensed to provide coverage in North Carolina
After you have submitted your approved documents, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will run a background check in both the Problem Driver Point System and the Commercial Driver License Information System to make sure your driving record is in good standing in other states.
Depending on the type of commercial vehicle you are applying to operate, you may be required to present a medical certification status at the time of your application.
When all of the North Carolina requirements for applying for a CDL have been met, you are eligible to begin the process of obtaining your license. Applicants are required to take and pass a written driver test, a basic control test, and a road driving skills test in the type of vehicle you are applying to drive. Depending on where you live, the vehicle may be provided for you or you will have to provide your own. The skills test will cover routine traffic situations such as turns, intersections, lane changes, stopping and starting, backing, and other basic driving skills. Tests must be scheduled in advance by calling (919) 715-7000.
Commercial Driving Laws in North Carolina
Any commercial driver who commits a major violation and has their license suspended, revoked or canceled or who becomes disqualified from driving must notify their employer within two business days. If a driver is convicted of a moving traffic violation, they must notify their employer and the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles within 30 days. Failure to properly notify the required parties will result in fees ranging from $100-$500.
The court system in North Carolina may double any fine for commercial drivers who violate laws in which points are assessed. The number of points assessed will also be increased for drivers who commit major violations, including railroad crossing violations and possession of an alcoholic beverage.
Drivers who commit more than one serious traffic violation within three years will be subject to license renovation. Two offenses will result in a 60-day revocation and three or more offenses will result in a revocation of 120 days. Violations that are considered serious include: speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the limit, reckless driving, texting while driving, improper lane change, following too closely, any traffic violation involving a fatality, and driving without a CDL, without a CDL in possession, or without the proper endorsements.
The following are considered major violations and will result in a one-year suspension of your CDL even if it’s your first offense, and regardless of whether the violation occurs in your personal or commercial vehicle: driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher, refusing to take a blood alcohol test, leaving the scene of an accident, using a vehicle in the commission of a felony, causing a fatality with a vehicle.
A second major violation will result in a lifetime suspension of your CDL. In some cases, drivers may be able to have their CDL reinstated after 10 years, but this varies from state to state and according to each individual situation. To make sure you have the best chance of getting your license back and avoiding excessive points on your record in the first place, have experienced legal help on your side, available 24 hours a day. We have represented truckers in every state and can help you fight for your good driving record.