Reference Number: 
CTAS-1148

County employees operating commercial type vehicles and those requiring a special endorsement must obtain a commercial driver license in order to operate many county vehicles.  Vehicles (including vehicle combinations) that fall within the commercial classification include the following:

  1. Vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds (gross vehicle weight rating);
  2. Vehicles designed to transport more than fifteen (15) passengers (including the driver); and
  3. Vehicles transporting hazardous material requiring placarding.

T.C.A. § 55-50-102. 

Vehicles requiring a special endorsement listing on a driver license include:

  1. Those authorized to pull multiple trailers;
  2. Those designed to carry more than fifteen (15) passengers (including the driver);
  3. Tank vehicles;
  4. Those transporting hazardous materials requiring placarding; and
  5. School buses.

The commercial driver license requirements include passing grades on certain knowledge and skills tests as well as a good driving record.  A "grandfather" provision exists that exempts certain drivers from having to take the skills test.  Furthermore, operators of emergency vehicles are exempt from these provisions.

School bus drivers must have a Class C commercial license with school bus endorsement.  T.C.A. § 55-50-102; Op. Tenn. Att'y Gen. 89-122 (Sept. 21, 1989).  This endorsement may be issued only if the applicant has had five years of unrestricted driving experience and can demonstrate good character, competency, and fitness. T.C.A. § 55-50-302.