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This manual is produced by the Regulatory Compliance Division of Georgia Department of Driver Services.

This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under Cooperative Agreement No. DTFH61-97-X-00017. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

There is a federal requirement that each state have minimum standards for the licensing of commercial drivers.

This manual provides driver license testing information for drivers who wish to have a commercial driver license (CDL). This manual does NOT provide information on all the federal and state requirements needed before you can drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). You may have to contact your state driver licensing authority for additional information.

You must have a CDL to operate:

  • Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • A combination vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver).
  • Any size vehicle which requires hazardous material placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR part 73. Federal regulations through the Department of Homeland Security require a background check and fingerprinting for the Hazardous Materials endorsement. The background check can take up to six weeks. Contact the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at or your local DDS Customer Service Center for more information.

To get a CDL, you must pass knowledge and skills tests. This manual will help you pass the tests. This manual is not a substitute for a truck driver training class or program. Formal training is the most reliable way to learn the many special skills required for safely driving a large commercial vehicle and becoming a professional driver in the trucking industry. Figure 1.1 helps you determine if you need a CDL.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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