Endorsements

All commercial drivers who operate certain types of vehicles or haul certain kinds of cargo must add endorsements to their CDL to show they have the specialized knowledge required.

When applying for your CDL, you can select up to six kinds of endorsements and will undergo additional testing to qualify.

 

CDL Endorsements

Endorsement Code Description
T Double/Triple Trailers (Knowledge Test only)
P Passenger (Knowledge and Skills Tests)
N Tank Vehicle (Knowledge Test only)
H Hazardous Materials (Knowledge Test only)
X Combination of Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials endorsements (Knowledge Test only)
S School Bus (Knowledge and Skills Tests)

 

 

Double & Triple Trailers Endorsement (T)

Many drivers who are qualified to drive Class A vehicles may wish to pull double or triple trailers. Research shows considerable additional knowledge and skill is necessary to safely pull these trailers in various traffic conditions and environments.

A special knowledge examination on the problems associated with pulling multiple trailers must be passed.

 

Passengers Endorsement (P)

Any driver who wishes to drive a vehicle having a design capacity to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver) must pass a special knowledge examination on safety considerations when transporting passengers and pass a skills test in a passenger vehicle. This endorsement applies to applicants who wish to drive a bus in any class.

 

Tank Vehicle Endorsement (N)

Drivers of vehicles used to haul liquids or gaseous materials in permanent tanks having a rating capacity of 450 liters (119 gallons) or in portable tanks having an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more must have specialized knowledge and skills to drive safely. Liquids in bulk cause driving control problems because the cargo is heavy, prone to shifting and has a high center of gravity.

These drivers must pass a special knowledge examination on the problems posed by large volume liquid cargo.

 

Hazardous Materials Endorsement (H)

Any driver, regardless of the class of their vehicle (A, B or C), who wishes to haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts requiring placards must pass a special written examination on how to recognize, handle, and transport hazardous materials. In addition to the endorsement test, applicants must complete a federal background check.

 

Combination Hazardous Materials & Tank Vehicle Endorsement (X)

Drivers who haul hazardous materials or hazardous waste in a tank vehicle must add an X endorsement to their CDL showing they have passed the special knowledge exams for both tank vehicles and hazardous materials. A background check is required.

 

School Bus Endorsement (S)

Any driver who wishes to drive a school bus with the intent to carry students to and from school or in connection with school activities must pass a special knowledge and skills test.

 

Obtaining a Hazardous Materials Endorsement

You must be 21 years of age to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement, and must also meet other qualification requirements including a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check.

 

TSA Background Check Application Requirements

  • First, complete a hazardous materials endorsement form. You must complete this form and the background check before going on to a fingerprinting location. Do not sign the application until you are at the fingerprinting site; the signature must be witnessed.
  • Complete a security threat assessment background check online. You can also call 1-855-347-8371, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. (EST). You’ll need to pay a fee of $86.50 upon completion. You can pay online or fingerprint sites accept money orders, company checks, certified/cashier’s checks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Cash is not accepted, and no refunds will be given. If you hold a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), you may be eligible for a reduced rate of $67.00.
  • After applying, you must provide your fingerprints as part of the background check process. You can have your prints taken at an authorized fingerprinting location.
  • At the fingerprinting station, you must provide proof of citizenship such as a valid U.S. passport, official birth certificate, certificate of birth abroad (Form FS-545 or DS 1350), certificate of naturalization, certificate of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident card.
  • All applicants are required to provide a Social Security number.
  • Your name must exactly match the name on your documents. If you’ve legally changed your name, you must provide a court-ordered name change document in addition to the other documentation required by the TSA.
  • Once the federal background check is complete, you can return to your local Driver Licensing location with proof of citizenship and other required documents to complete a knowledge exam for your endorsement.

If you’re applying for a renewal or transfer of a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement, you’ll have to take the written test, complete the background check and fingerprinting process, and show proof of citizenship.

For questions, call the TSA help desk at 1-855-347-8371.

 

Hazmat Disqualification Criteria

Certain offenses can disqualify you from holding a hazardous materials endorsement, which means you may not qualify for a CDL or must surrender your current CDL to a Driver Licensing location immediately. See disqualifying offenses from TSA.

 

South Dakota Driver's License

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Need to apply for or renew your commercial driver’s license? Review CDL manuals to get ready for testing. Then review third party testers to take your CDL driving test and hit the road.

See CDL FAQs for more information. 

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