CDL Classifications, Endorsements, Restrictions & Exemptions

Three classes of Commercial Driver Licenses are available. These licenses come with specific endorsements and restrictions. Also, some vehicles are exempt from CDL requirements.

CDL Classifications

Table 28: CDL Classifications

AAny combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) exceeding 26,000 pounds, provided the vehicle being towed has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) exceeding 10,000 pounds
BAny single vehicle with a GVWR exceeding 26,000 pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not exceeding 10,000 pounds
CAny single vehicle or combination of vehicles that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either required to be placarded for hazardous materials or designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver

A CDL of any class also allows operators to drive their personal vehicle; no other driver license is needed. It does not allow them to drive a motorcycle unless they have a Class 3 license along with the Class A, B, or C CDL. For example, A3 allows operators to drive a Class A commercial vehicle and their personal vehicle, including a motorcycle.

South Dakota Endorsements

Operators may need the following CDL endorsements:

Table 29: CDL Endorsements

TDouble & Triple Trailers
NTank Vehicles
HHazardous Materials
XCombination Tank & Hazardous
SSchool Bus

South Dakota Restrictions

The following CDL restrictions may apply:

Table 30: Possible CDL Restrictions

Commercial Learner’s PermitPNo passengers in a commercial motor vehicle
Commercial Learner’s PermitXNo cargo in a tank commercial motor vehicle
Commercial Driver LicenseEAutomatic transmission only
Commercial Driver LicenseKIntrastate only
Commercial Driver LicenseLOperation of commercial motor vehicle not equipped with air brakes only
Commercial Driver LicenseMUnable to operate Class A passenger vehicle
Commercial Driver LicenseNUnable to operate Class A or B passenger vehicle
Commercial Driver LicenseONo tractor-trailer commercial motor vehicle
Commercial Driver LicenseVMedical variance that allows the driver to be issued a medical certificate
Commercial Driver LicenseWSeasonal CDL
Commercial Driver LicenseZNo full air brake (air over hydraulic brake)


The following do not need a South Dakota CDL:

  • operators serving in the United States military, operating military vehicles in pursuit of military purposes;
  • operators of emergency firefighting equipment necessary to the preservation of life, property, or the execution of emergency government functions performed under emergency conditions not subject to normal traffic regulation;
  • operators of rental transporting equipment used as personal family use vehicles;
  • operators of recreational vehicles used as personal family recreational use vehicles; and
  • operators of a Covered Farm Vehicle (CFV) and operated within the restrictions provided (see Chapter 4 for details on operating CFVS).