Tom Corbett, Governor Barry J. Schoch, P.E., Secretary, Department of Transportation

What Class of Driver's License Do You Need?

In Pennsylvania, driverís licenses are issued specifically for the class and type of vehicle you operate. Therefore, the class of driverís license you should have depends specifically upon the type of vehicle you operate. Generally speaking, the majority of applicants for a Pennsylvania driverís license will be operators of regular passenger vehicles, pick-up trucks or vans.

Classes of Driver's Licenses

Non-commercial Driver's Licenses

  • CLASS A (minimum age 18): Required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, where the vehicle(s) being towed is/are in excess of 10,000 pounds. Example: Recreational Vehicle, when the towing vehicle is rated at 11,000 pounds and the vehicle towed is rated at 15,500 pounds (total combination weight of 26,500 pounds).
  • CLASS B (minimum age 18): Required to operate any single vehicle rated in excess of 26,000 pounds. Example: Motor homes rated at 26,001 pounds or more.
  • CLASS C (minimum age 16): A Class C driverís license will be issued to persons 16 years of age or older, who have demonstrated their qualifications to operate any vehicles, except those requiring a Class M qualification, and who do not meet the definitions of Class A or Class B. Any firefighter or member of a rescue or emergency squad who is the holder of a Class C driverís license and who has a certificate of authorization from a fire chief or head of the rescue or emergency squad will be authorized to operate any fire or emergency vehicle registered to that fire department, rescue or emergency squad or municipality(emergency use only). The holder of a Class C license is authorized to drive a motor-driven cycle with an automatic transmission and cylinder capacity of 50 CCs or less or a 3-wheeled motorcycle with an enclosed cab.
  • CLASS M (minimum age 16): A Class M driverís license will be issued to those persons 16 years of age or older who have demonstrated their ability to operate a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. If a person is qualified to operate only a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, he/she will be issued a Class M driverís license. If you test on a motor-driven cycle, an "8" restriction will appear on your driverís license. This restriction prohibits you from operating a motorcycle. If you test on a 3-wheeled motorcycle, a "9" restriction will appear on your driverís license. This restriction prohibits you from operating a 2-wheeled motorcycle. Pennsylvania Motorcycle Operatorís Manual (PUB 147) or the Mopeds, Motor-Driver Cycles and Motorcycles Fact Sheet located on PennDOTís Driver and Vehicle Services website in the Motorcycle Information Center.

Commercial Driver's Licenses - Classes A, B or C

  • CLASS A (minimum age 18): A Class A license is issued to those persons 18 years of age or older who have demonstrated their qualifications to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle or vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. The holder of a Class A license is qualified to operate vehicles for which a Class B or Class C license is issued. Where required, appropriate endorsements must be obtained.
  • CLASS B (minimum age 18): A Class B license is issued to those persons 18 years of age or older who have demonstrated their qualifications to operate any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more or any such vehicle towing a vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating of not more than 10,000 pounds. The holder of a Class B license is qualified to operate vehicles for which a Class C license is issued. Where required, appropriate endorsements must be obtained.
  • CLASS C (minimum age 18): A Class C license is issued to those persons 18 years of age or older who have demonstrated their qualifications to operate any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of not more than 26,000 pounds or any combination of vehicles, except combination vehicles involving motorcycles, that does not meet the definition of a Class A or Class B vehicle. Where required, appropriate endorsements must be obtained.

NOTE: You must be 21 years of age or older to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle on an interstate (traveling between two or more states). This applies to ALL classes.

In addition to the CDL classes, there are also special endorsements and restrictions that you must have to drive certain types of commercial vehicles. They are:

Endorsements/Restrictions

EndorsementsĖ The following authorizations are required when operating vehicles of the type listed:

H - Required to drive a vehicle with hazardous materials placards (you must be 21 years of age).
N - Required to drive a tank vehicle.
T - Required to drive double and triple trailers.
P - Required to drive a vehicle designed to carry 16 passengers or more including the driver (buses).
S - Required to drive a school bus. Designed to carry 11 passengers or more, including the driver.
X - Represents a combination of the hazardous materials and tank vehicle endorsements (you must be 21 years of age).

Restrictions Ė The following restrictions prohibit you from operating certain type vehicles:

L - Restricts the driver to vehicles not equipped with air brakes.
B - Passenger endorsement restriction Ė cannot drive Class A buses.
C - Passenger endorsement restriction Ė cannot drive Class A or B buses.
A - Restricts the driver to driving within an exempt intracity zone (49 CFR ß391.62).
Q - Requires the driver to wear corrective lenses.
G - Indicates the driver is qualified medically by operation of 49 CFR ß391.64.
V - Indicates the driver has been issued a medical variance.
Y - Requires the driver to wear a hearing aid(s).

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