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In Colorado, there are different license classifications that are valid to operate different types of vehicles and vehicular activities.

Wrapping your head around all the classifications can be pretty confusing, especially since there are specific requirements for each license group.

Which license do you need to drive a truck?

Or what about driving a bike? 

In this article, we’re going to give you a complete guide on Colorado’s driver’s license classifications. This way, you’ll know exactly what you need. 

So let’s begin! 

What are the Driver’s License Classifications in Colorado?

To help you make sense of the different driver’s license classifications in Colorado, here is an overview of each one. 

Class A

A class ‘A’ license is a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This permits you to drive any combination of vehicles with a gross weight rating (GCWR) of 26,000 or more, provided that the GCWR of the towed vehicle is more than 10,000 GCWR.

These combination vehicles consist of semi-trucks, trailer trucks, tractors, and tractor-trailer buses.

With this Class A license, you’ll also be allowed to drive vehicles that fall under the B and C categories discussed below.

Class B

A class ‘B’ license is another CDL that permits you to drive vehicles that have a GCWR greater or equal to 26,000, providing that it has a towing capacity of 10,000 GCWR. 

What’s the difference between Class A and B?

Class A is for operating a combination of vehicles (trailer trucks), while Class B is for a single vehicle (garbage truck). 

Other examples of Class B vehicles are buses, cement mixers, straight trucks, dump trucks, etc...

A Class B license will allow you to drive vehicles that fall under Class C as well.

Class C

A class ‘C’ license is another CDL that’ll allow you to drive vehicles that have a GCWR of less than 26,001. Plus, its towing capacity should be under 10,000 GCWR.

This is the lowest CDL license category that allows the license holders to drive any two-axle vehicle that meets the requirements we’ve mentioned.

Note: a vehicle intended to transport passengers is only considered commercial if it carries more than 16 passengers at a time.

Class M

A class M license permits holders to drive two or three-wheeled motorcycles.

Motorcycles that are below 50cc or electric scooters and bikes that have a max speed of 40mph are not included in this category and a basic driver license (Class R) is sufficient.

Class R

A class R license is what you would consider a ‘normal’ license used by most of the population. This license allows you to drive any vehicle or scooter that doesn’t fall into the categories listed above.

This would include family cars, sedans, SUVs, Hatchbacks, and other vehicles of a similar nature.

What are the Classification Licensing Requirements in Colorado?

In this section, we’ll tell you what requirements you need for the type of license classification you want. 

CDL License (Class A, B, and C)

For any CDL license, you must: 

  • Have a valid Colorado issued driver's license
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Show acceptable legal presence and identification
  • Have a Social security number
  • Complete a commercial driver skills test completion form
  • Have a current DOT medical card
  • Pay the applicable fees

Note: within the CDL license categories, numerous forms of commercial transport exist that have different testing and endorsement requirements.

S endorsement is required if the vehicle operated is a school bus. There should be a placard ‘S’ clearly visible on the vehicle.

X endorsement is required if the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials and content. Moreover, the requirement is that the driver must be a minimum of 21 years old.

P endorsement is required if the vehicle is being used for transporting a minimum of 16 or more people at a time.

For more information regarding endorsement requirements, visit the Colorado DMV website.

Motorcycle License (Class M)

For a Class M license, you must:

  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Show acceptable legal presence and identification
  • Pass the motorcycle written exam
  • Purchase a motorcycle permit
  • Pass a motorcycle skill test
  • Purchase a new motorcycle driver’s license

Normal License (Class R)

The licensing requirements will depend on whether you’re a minor or an adult applicant.

For minors between the ages of 15 and 16, the requirements are:

  • Complete a 30-hour driver education course
  • Pass the written test
  • Complete the required 50 hours behind the wheel training 
  • Pass the Colorado driving test

If you are 17 or above, the 30-hour driver education course isn’t required. Similarly, adults will be allowed to take the written and driving test without proof of completed driving hours. 

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What are the Classification Licensing Procedures in Colorado?

Now, here is the licensing procedure for each license type. 

CDL Licensing (Class A, B, and C)

To obtain a CDL license, you’ll have to pass a knowledge base test. This will differ depending on the license class you are looking to obtain. 

The knowledge base test will also differ with regard to the vehicle. For example, there’s a different test for school bus drivers and hazardous material drivers.

After passing the knowledge base test, the next step is to complete a skills-based test. As you might guess, this test evaluates your driving ability.

Not only that, but it’ll also include vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and an on-road test which can be conducted by a local driving school.

Then, you’ll also need to take a medical test conducted by a licensed physician. Once you get your results, you have to complete this form

Motorcycle License (Class M)

To get a motorcycle license, you’ll first have to obtain a Class R license.

When applying for your Class M license, you’ll have to go through a physical examination and aptitude test to ensure that you’re fit to drive a motorbike.

You’ll also be required to complete a written test that will quiz you on the basic knowledge about setting out on the road.

If you pass the written test, you’ll receive a permit. You then have to pass a motorcycle operator driving skill test at your local DMV or through a 3rd party testing agency.

Once that’s all done, you can change your license to reflect the additional Class M rights to drive a motorcycle.

Normal License (Class R)

A normal license will have a different set of procedures depending on your age.

Minor/young drivers will have to complete a 30-hour driver education course that will fill them in on the basic road rules. 

A written test based on this course will also have to be taken, along with the vision and medical testing conducted at the DMV.

Finally, a 50-hour behind-the-wheel training will be conducted in the presence of a parent or driving instructor. 

Adult drivers are exempt from the driver education course and will not have to show proof of driving experience to appear for the Colorado driving test.

Conclusion

The information provided above contains everything you need to know about the different license classifications in Colorado, including license requirements and procedures.

You should take care when selecting a CDL license classification. Always consider the type of vehicle that you need to drive and the cargo you will be transporting.

Good luck with getting your license!

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