Florida CDL Requirements

Florida's rich mix of tourism and nature sanctuary makes the U.S.' Sunshine State interesting to drive through, to say the least. With balmy weather and plenty of scenery to observe, more people live in Florida than New York State. The state is also the premier citrus grower and exporter in the United States, and has an infrastructure to match; meaning that getting your CDL in Florida is a solid job prospect. In addition to citrus, Florida's well maintained network of highways transport visitors to the biggest attraction in the U.S. - Disney World. The attraction's growing requirements for sourcing food, service and parts for its empire ensures that trucking in Florida is a viable career.

What CDL Licenses are Available in Florida?

Florida has a comprehensive license classification system for those who wish to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). With the legislature in place from the national Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Florida government officials enforce national standards for training, regulation, and discipline. Florida's regulations are generally on par with the rest of the country and that makes it easy to drive inter- and intrastate throughout Florida. What follows is an outline of each of the license classes and their guidelines for people who want to drive truck in Florida:

CDL Class A

Driving a Class A CDL means that your vehicle must weigh more than 26,000 pounds and the associated load for pulling must weigh more than 10,000 pounds. Many operators start with Class A license to drive for interstate trucking fleets and so Class A licensing is a good bet for hireability and a great jumping off point for professional development. With this license, the driver can also operate Class B, C, and D vehicles as long as other requirements have been fulfilled and no additional certifications are needed.

CDL Class B

Driving a Class B vehicle means that your straight vehicle must weigh more than 26,000 pounds, and that any towed portion - while not required - must weigh less than 10,000 pounds. Bus drivers are required to test for and obtain a Class B license. Employers looking to hire individuals for short hauls and intrastate routes commonly look to Class B drivers. With this license, Class B drivers can also drive Class C vehicles as long as other requirements have been fulfilled and no additional certifications are needed.

CDL Class C

Driving a Class C vehicle means that your vehicle contains either 15 or more passengers, or placarded hazardous waste. Class C licensed drivers are restricted to this class for driving and must ensure they have the proper endorsements on their CDL and no additional restrictions due to the nature of their transport.

Worried about actual tonnage? You should be. The actual weight of the vehicle in question is used to determine its class and any violations that ensue.

What is a Class E license?

In Florida, a Class E license is a standard driver's license and is awarded to qualified drivers operating passenger cars, passenger vans, RVs, trucks, mopeds, three-wheelers, and farm vehicles. Motorcycles have a separate classification. Obtaining your Class E license shows that you understand basic signage and road safety, as well as the fundamentals of operating a personal vehicle in a variety of environmental and traffic situations. A valid Class E license or equivalent is required before pursuing a motorcycle license or CDL.

CDL Eligibility in Florida

Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Department of Transportation has made a number of reforms to the nation's commercial truck driving legislation and ever since, the state of Florida has been a key enforcer in ensuring the system smoothly functions in accordance with Federal law across the state. CDL truckers who travel from Florida to other states are responsible for following the federal framework or state laws where they exceed federal minimums.

Warning! Drivers who have a suspended or revoked Class E license are not eligible to apply for a Florida CDL.

License and Permits

  • Applicants must come prepared with their original Class E driver's license in good standing. The knowledge and skills tests that every Florida driver must pass indicate basic comprehension of operating a vehicle and navigating on Florida roads and highways.

Age

  • Intrastate drivers make hauls throughout Florida but not outside state boundaries. T years of age, or older. Interstate CDL drivers must be age 21 or older.

Proof of Residence in Florida

From a safety perspective, it is important that CDL drivers have only one license. Florida, in accordance with every other state, requires proof of residence to double-check this requirement is met. Applicants require original documentation to confirm their address.

CDL Requirements for Florida Residents

In order to being the CDL process, Florida residents must present the following documents:

  • Current Class ‘E' class driver's license
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of Florida insurance issued by an insurance company licensed by the Florida Department of Financial Services

Florida CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers

CDL transfer regulations from another state to Florida involve significant attention to process and validate out-of-state documents accurately. Out-of-state CDL truck drivers should arrive prepared to show any and all of the following original documentation to substantiate their identity and credentials.

  • Personal identification
  • Proof of date of birth (non-hospital issued)
  • 2 proofs of residential address
  • Proof of social security number

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Florida CDL

People born in foreign countries who wish to apply for or transfer their credentials to a Florida CDL are required to produce all documentation to support their application and Florida citizenship. Florida's legal immigrants are advised to bring any or all of the following:

  • Valid Alien Registration receipt card ("green card")
  • I-551 stamp on passport
  • I-551 stamp on I-94
  • Immigration Judge's Order, with the client's A-number, granting asylum
  • I-797, with the client's A-number, stating the customer has been granted asylum or approved refugee status

Additionally, immigrant CDL applicants will provide:

  • Personal identification
  • Proof of date of birth (government issued)
  • 2 documents or attestations as proof of residential address
  • Proof of social security number (by SSN card or work documentation)

Applicants may be required to attend to the cost of having foreign-language documents professionally translated to English.

Do I Need a CDL?

Military and former military members might be able to apply for CDL without duplicating skills training - if you have relevant prior military experience and fall within the allotted timelines. To be considered for this exemption, it is best to start the process while still in service but transitioning to civilian life and no later than 90 days since separation from active service.

To obtain this exemption, current and former members of the military must have a proven record of 2+ years' experience driving vehicles that would require a civilian CDL.

To apply, obtain a copy of Florida's form entitled ‘Certification for Waiver of Skill Test for Military Personnel' either online or at any DMV office.

Note that exemption from the Florida CDL skills test does not mean exemption from the Florida CDL knowledge test; prepare for the knowledge test by studying the Florida CDL Handbook.

At the testing appointment, visit any Florida DL Office with the following documentation, prepared to write the Florida CDL knowledge test:

  • Current driver's license
  • Military ID card, Reservist ID card, Guard ID card, or discharge documents
  • Certification for Waiver of Skill Test for Military Personnel completed form

Accordingly, if you fall into one of the following classes of employment, you may not require a CDL:

  • If you are the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle that is equipped with audible warning devices and red or blue lights display and are on call to respond to emergencies
  • If you are military personnel driving military vehicles
  • If you are a farmer who is transporting farming supplies, goods, machinery, or other products to or from farm to storage/processing/market within 150 miles of the farm
  • If you are a driver of a personal recreational vehicle (RV) used for this purpose
  • If you are a driver of a straight truck which are only transporting your own personal property that isn't for sale
  • If you are an employee of a public transit system who moves vehicles for service and parking

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

Interstate drivers are required to have a Medical Examiner's Certificate in good standing to drive truck from Florida to other states.

To begin the process, fill out the Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination form.

The Florida state CDL representatives refer drivers to a list of medical examiners in their area and can arrange an appointment for physical examination.

Florida CDL drivers are required at intervals to complete a self-check affidavit that indicates they are fit enough to continue to drive truck.

CDL applicants may not initially qualify for neurological, motor impairment or vision reasons, and may apply for to the exemption process.

Background Check for CDL Applicants

A background check by the TSA is required for any CDL applicant that wishes to transport placarded (hazardous) materials. Timelines for checks do vary from state to state, so it's worth inquiring at the Florida Driver's License office closest to you.

CDL Testing in Florida

Completing a knowledge test and a practical test is the first step in having a CDL issued in your name. Florida has a few state-run test sites including Jackson and Marietta, as well as and several third party test sites including Fort Myers, Key West, and Madison. Tight scheduling means that applicants should arrive promptly, and ready to pay for the testing at that time. Applicants must arrange to have a vehicle available to test in for the practical portion of the test.

CDL Knowledge Tests

All Florida CDL drivers are subject to a General Knowledge test, regardless of vehicle class.

CDL Skills Tests

After knowledge testing, successful Florida applicants can take practical tests at government or accredited facilities. Applicants are reminded to procure their own rig for practical testing.

CDL drivers must take the following test:

  • CDL Road test

Depending on the class of license, CDL drivers may be required to add the additional modules to their practical testing:

  • Pre-trip Checklist test (A and B; C if applicable)
  • Basic Skills test (A and B; C if applicable)
  • Air Brakes test (A; B and C if applicable)
  • Combinations Vehicle test (A)

Further, individuals may test for specific endorsements for professional development, listed below.

  • Double and Triple Trailers
  • Passenger Vehicles
  • Tank Vehicles
  • Hazardous Materials and Waste
  • School Buses

Florida CDL Office Locations

County Operated Commercial Motor Vehicle Skill Test Sites

  • 3613 Highway 90
    Marianna, FL 32446
    850-482-9602

Learn more here - https://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/cdlsites_state.html

Statewide Contracted Commercial Motor Vehicle Skill Test Sites

Learn more here - https://www.flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/commercial-motor-vehicle-drivers/third-party-skill-test-sites/

Florida CDL Endorsements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that each state's CDL departments enforce the training and testing of endorsements that quickly tell employers and state troopers about the qualifications of a particular truck driver. Florida endorsements follow the FMCSA federal minimum guidelines and are:

  • School Bus
  • Tank Vehicle
  • Passenger transport
  • Hazmat
  • Hazardous Materials-Tanker
  • Double or triple trailers
  • Farm
  • Emergency

There may be additional restrictions due to a variety of factors. Best practice for truckers is to inquire at the nearest Florida CDL office. Listed here are the most common issues that may be restricted on your CDL:

  • Hand Control or Pedal Extension required
  • Probation-Interlock Device
  • Driving in Daylight Only
  • Automatic Transmission Only
  • Seat Cushion required
  • Medical Alert Bracelet
  • Power Steering module required
  • Left Foot Accelerator accommodation required
  • Directional Signals
  • Grip on Steering Wheel accommodation required
  • Outside Rear-view Mirror required
  • Hearing Aid required
  • Other Restrictions
  • No Passengers Allowed
  • Corrective Lenses required
  • (CDL) Education Purposes
  • Vehicles Without Air brakes Only
  • CMV Less than 26,001 lbs
  • (CDL) Bus Only
  • No Tractor/Trailers
  • (CDL) Intrastate Only
  • No Class A Passenger Vehicle
  • No Class B Passenger

Florida CDL Disqualifications

Florida is responsible for enforcing both state-specific moving violations and federal CDL statutes and laws. Caught violating CDL regulations may result in CDL suspension or revocation. Fines and scheduling changes may be levied by the state or by your employer. Disqualifying offenses include:

Florida Serious Driving Laws

  • Causing an accident in your CMV and then leaving the scene
  • Committing or abetting a felony act while in a CMV
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or behaving as though under the influence
  • Refusal of roadside blood-alcohol level testing
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance or behaving as through under the influence.
  • Committing traffic violations via a personal vehicle (Florida personal license)

Careless Driving Laws

  • Operating a CMV without a CDL
  • Driving a CMV while CDL-suspended
  • Driving in a hazardous, stunt or reckless manner
  • Speeds in excess of 15 mph over the legal limit
  • Not wearing a safety belt

Railroad Laws

  • Refusal or ignorance when heeding railroad crossing laws and level-crossing approach laws as they apply to different classes of CDL, endorsements and restrictions.

Additional Laws (including fraudulence, crime, and domicile offenses):

  • Illegal U.S. residency
  • CDL fraud
  • Felony convictions or sentencing
  • Outstanding convictions
  • Safety risk as per TSA

CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that all segments of Florida's trucking industry are set to a high rate of growth, far surpassing growth from the U.S. as a whole. We've made it easy for you to pick your intended career field below and learn more about the career and salary data for Florida.

Heavy Trucks

With growth forecasted at 20% over the next decade, the interstate trucking industry in Florida will experience 14% more growth than national averages. Florida trucking job openings for heavy trucks are expected to number more than 2,800 new positions each year. Newcomers to the profession can expect to earn an average of $36,000, with high earners making as much as $56,000 annually.

Light Trucks

Florida's light truck and delivery drivers (intrastate) positions are expected to grow by 18% over the next decade, or 15% more than the U.S. as a whole. This statistic means that every year, there will be more than 1,600 new jobs available for those that wish to get started on a lucrative career that takes them throughout the state. With a median salary of about $28,000, 25% of intrastate drivers make more than $56,000 or about $27 per hour.

Passenger Vehicles

School bus drivers in Florida are ideally positioned both to expand their professional offerings and accept new members into the field. According to the BLS, bus driver jobs are expected to expand year by year by about 5% more than the national average. The average annual wage for the role in Florida is over $27,000 but with experience and additional credentials, the top 10% of drivers make almost $10,000 more per year.

Resources for Florida CDL Requirements

Learn more about Florida trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in Florida

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
Florida $27,530 $43,710 $34,440
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL $28,960 $37,130 $33,550
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL $26,440 $38,350 $30,220
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL $26,530 $40,180 $30,780
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan Division $29,240 $43,760 $36,590
Gainesville, FL $23,720 $38,480 $30,260
Jacksonville, FL $27,990 $49,210 $35,950
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL $27,240 $38,460 $32,690
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan Division $28,580 $43,420 $35,310
Naples-Marco Island, FL $28,010 $38,680 $33,630
North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL $28,660 $42,970 $34,440
Ocala, FL $27,050 $46,300 $34,440
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL $26,040 $44,140 $34,210
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL $28,570 $40,810 $34,380
Palm Coast, FL $21,750 $29,080 $24,500
Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach, FL $23,480 $37,060 $30,650
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL $26,670 $42,320 $30,800
Port St. Lucie, FL $29,380 $44,820 $36,450
Punta Gorda, FL $28,070 $37,560 $32,770
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL $22,790 $34,900 $28,180
Tallahassee, FL $26,640 $36,470 $31,450
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL $28,920 $45,670 $35,880
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, FL Metropolitan Division $27,490 $43,700 $33,860

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)