In February 2008, Swift Transportation Company, Inc. was a Third Party Commercial Driver License Company for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. That month, federal search warrants were served on the Swift Driving Academy and on two Department driver license stations, including a station on Brooks Road in Memphis. The Department subsequently suspended and then cancelled Swift Transportation’s certification as a Third Party Commercial Driver License Company for the State of Tennessee.
Later in 2008, the Department identified all drivers who had been issued commercial driver licenses (CDLs) from the Brooks Road Driver License Station and, with the help of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, determined the states to which many of those drivers had later transferred their licenses. The Department then sent letters to the departments of motor vehicles of those States, notifying them of the identity of the drivers and suggesting that those States re-test the drivers because the Department had information indicating that the third party testing company who tested those drivers “did not administer the skills tests in accordance with the Rules of the Tennessee Department of Safety’s Driver Services Division, Chapter 1340-1-13-.22, paragraph 5(b) 10, or Federal Regulation 383.75(a)(2)(iii)(1993).” The Department also sent similar letters to drivers in Tennessee who had obtained their CDLs from the Brooks Road driver’s license station, informing them that they would need to submit to a re-test for their Tennessee CDLs for the same reason. In addition, the Department included on its website page for CDLs, the following statement:
our department has information indicating that a third party testing company did not administer the skills tests in accordance with the Rules of the Tennessee Department of Safety’s Driver Services Division, Chapter 1340-1-13-.22, paragraph 5(b) 10, or Federal Regulation 383.75(a)(2)(iii)(1993).
The Department did not conduct an investigation into Swift, into the actions of third-party CDL examiners who were employed by Swift, or into whether the third-party CDL examiners failed to administer the CDL tests in accordance with Tennessee or federal law. Therefore, the Department does not make any express findings that Swift Transportation or its employees engaged in activities that caused the CDLs to become invalid. No further action was taken on the federal search warrants and no criminal charges have been filed against Swift or any of its employees or any of the Department’s employees.
Accordingly, the Department retracts its statement that Swift and its employees “did not administer the skills tests in accordance with the Rules of the Tennessee Department of Safety’s Driver Services Division, Chapter 1340-1-13-.22, paragraph 5(b) 10, or Federal Regulation 383.75(a)(2)(iii)(1993).”
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Department reaffirms its right to re-test drivers who took their CDL skills examination with a third-party CDL examiner. Any Tennessee driver who was required to re-test may still have their CDL reinstated by successfully completing the CDL examination.
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
What is changing? The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS) will be adding your medical certification status and the information on your medical examiner’s certificate to your Commercial Driver’s License System (CDLIS) record.
When does this change start? This change starts on January 30, 2012.
What is not changing? The driver physical qualification requirements are not changing.
What are CDL holders required to do?
For more detailed information read the following:
Starting January 30, 2012 and no later than January 30, 2014, all CDL holders must provide information to TDOSHS regarding the type of commercial motor vehicle operation they drive in or expect to drive in with their CDL. Drivers operating in certain types of commerce will be required to submit a current medical examiner’s certificate to TDOSHS to obtain a “certified” medical status as part of their driving record. CDL holders required to have a ”certified” medical status who fail to provide and keep up-to-date their medical examiner’s certificate with TDOSHS will become ”not-certified” and they may lose their CDL.
Operators of larger and more complex vehicles will need to apply for a Commercial Driver License (CDL). These licenses include Class A, B, and C depending upon the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), and what is being transported. In general, state law defines a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as any vehicle or combination of vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds. If hazardous materials are transported, or if the vehicle is designed to transport more than fifteen (15) passengers including the driver, or if the vehicle is used as a school bus, a CDL would also be required, regardless of the weight of the vehicle. Drivers who need a CDL should obtain the Commercial Driver License Manual which contains detailed information necessary to prepare for the tests. These manuals are available at all driver license stations.
The Temporary Driver License is not available to cover any type of commercial motor vehicle. An applicant for a CDL must be able to provide proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident status in order to qualify for issuance of a Tennessee CDL.
See the Commercial Motor Vehicles Guide for more information.
NOTE: If a person holds a valid commercial driver license (Class A, B, or C license), this license is also valid for operating a Class D vehicle. No separate Class D license is required.
Commercial licenses include Class A, B, and C depending upon the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), and what is being transported.
Some drivers may require an A/57 license. This license applies to drivers who do not require a class A license, but who haul an excess of 10,001 pounds or more. Examples are: F450 pick-up truck hauling a 10,001 or more pound trailer, an electric department truck hauling a 10,000 pound forklift on a flatbed trailer, etc.
View the Endorsement Table in PDF format.
Under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56, § 1012), rules of the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) (49 CFR Part 1572) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) (Title 49 of Code of Federal Regulation 383.71(a)(9)), the Tennessee Department of Safety Driver License Station’s may not issue a hazardous materials endorsement (HME) until the applicant has first submitted to a fingerprint-based background check. TSA must determine that the applicant does not pose a security threat before the endorsement can be issued. No person applying for a first-time new HME on or after July 25, 2012, may be issued a HME until the background check is completed. Beginning August 25, 2012, the fingerprint-based background check will also apply to commercial drivers as they renew or transfer the HME.
Click Hazardous Materials Endorsement for more information.
Please bring the following documents with you when applying for a CDL license.
All documents must include a Tennessee residential address--the SAME residential address must be on each document presented. No photocopies accepted!
NOTE: (E-filed returns must include the W2 form AND confirmation page and are acceptable only if dated within the last 12 months.)
Domicile may also be established through proof of relationship to a spouse, parent/child, sibling, or grandparent.
A. The spouse, parent/child, sibling, or grandparent of a CDL applicant needing to use a relative's address and domicile documents MUST hold a valid Tennessee driver license or identification license.
B. The CDL applicant will be required to present two (2) items with a Tennessee residential address from the list of acceptable domicile documents in the name of the immediate relative. This relative must be present at the time of application! This is required for all transfers from out of state and for class D upgrades.
C. CDL applicants using items in the name of one of these immediate relatives as proof of domicile must also provide proof of the relationship such as:
To obtain your permit, you must take and pass the CDL general knowledge test. Full-Service Driver Service Centers throughout the state** offer the CDL general knowledge test and the knowledge tests for any endorsement needed.
Practice tests are available online: CDL Practice Tests
No. The Temporary Driver License is not available to cover any type of commercial motor vehicle.
Per federal regulation §383.93, paragraph C:
The following tests are required for endorsements:
(c)(1) Double/Triple Trailers - a knowledge test;
(c)(2) Passenger - knowledge and a skills test;
(c)(3) Tank vehicle - a knowledge test;
(c)(4) Hazardous Materials - a knowledge test; and
(c)(5) School bus - knowledge and a skills test.
CDL knowledge tests can be taken at our Full-Service Driver Service Centers.
CDL skills tests can be scheduled for any of the Commercial Driver License Road Skills Test locations across the state by calling 615-251-5217 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CST Monday through Friday.
The Commercial Driver License Manual is available online to download or is available for pick up at Driver Services Centers statewide.