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License types & Restrictions

 

In Pennsylvania, driver's licenses are issued specifically for the class and type of vehicle you operate. Therefore, the class of driver's license you should have depends specifically upon the type of vehicle you operate. Generally speaking, the majority of applicants for a Pennsylvania driver's 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 driver's 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 driver's 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, a 3-wheeled motorcycle with an enclosed cab or an autocycle.
  • CLASS M (minimum age 16): A Class M driver's 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 driver's license. If you test on a motor-driven cycle, an "8" restriction will appear on your driver's license. This restriction prohibits you from operating a motorcycle. If you test on a 3-wheeled motorcycle, a "9" restriction will appear on your driver's license. This restriction prohibits you from operating a 2-wheeled motorcycle.

License Restrictions

Under Section 1512 of the PA Vehicle Code, the Department has the authority whenever there is good cause to add restrictions suitable to the licensee’s driving ability with respect to special equipment required to be installed on a motor vehicle or other restrictions applicable to assure the safe operation of a motor vehicle.

Medical Restrictions and their use:
1 - License holder must wear corrective lenses when driving (glasses/contacts)
2 - Vehicle must be equipped with mirrors on both sides of the vehicle. (dual mirrors)
3 - Vehicle must be equipped with an automatic transmission (no manual transmission)
4 - Vehicle must be equipped with special equipment (spinner knob, left foot gas pedal, etc.)
5 - License holder can only drive during daylight hours sunrise to sunset (no night driving)
6 - License holder is considered a Classified driver because of a physical impairment that will not affect ability to drive (missing fingers, missing an arm, etc.)
7License holder has a Restricted license because of a visual impairment (limited to driving within a limited radius of residence; limited to roads other than freeways; limited to passenger vehicles weighing no more than 10,000 pounds; cannot operate a motorcycle)
8 - Driver’s M License is restricted to a motor-driven cycle (motorcycle motor cannot be greater than 5 brake horsepower)
9 - Driver’s M License is restricted from operating a 2-wheel motorcycle
A - Permit holder is restricted to operating a vehicle equipped with dual controls (right side brake pedal) with a certified driver trainer in the passenger seat.
Z - Motorcycle learner’s permit holder can only operate a motorcycle during daylight hours sunrise to sunset (no night riding)

Commercial Driver's Licenses 

  • 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:

 

Commercial Endorsements

The following authorizations are required when operating vehicles of the type listed:
H - Authorizes the driver to operate a vehicle transporting hazardous materials.
N - Authorizes driving tank vehicles.
P - Authorizes driving vehicles carrying passengers.
S - Authorizes the driver to operate a school bus.
T - Authorizes a Class A driver to pull double and triple trailers.
X - Represents a combination of hazardous materials and tank vehicle endorsements.

Commercial Restrictions

The following restrictions prohibit you from operating certain type vehicles:
A - Restricts the driver to driving under 49 CFR § 391.62(c) (relating to limited exemptions for intra-city zone drivers).
E – Prohibits driving a commercial motor vehicle equipped with a manual transmission.
G - Indicates qualification under 49 CFR § 391.62(e).
K – Restricts driver to intrastate driving.
L - Prohibits driving a commercial motor vehicle equipped with air brakes.
M* – Prohibits driving a class A passenger vehicle. (formerly a “B” restriction)
N* – Prohibits driving a class A or B passenger vehicle. (formerly a “C” restriction)
O – Prohibits a Class A driver from driving a truck tractor-trailer combination.
P – Prohibits driving a commercial motor vehicle bus containing passengers (will appear on commercial learner permit only).
Q - Requires the driver to wear corrective lenses.
V - Indicates that the driver has been issued a medical variance.
X – Prohibits tank vehicles from carrying cargo (will appear on commercial learner permit only).
Y - Requires the driver to wear a hearing aid.
Z – Prohibits driving a commercial motor vehicle with full air brakes.