It goes without saying that if you want to drive a motor vehicle in Florida then you’re going to need a driver’s license.
Now, in Florida, there are four (4) driver’s license classifications categorized from A to E. And although the process of identifying which class of driver’s license you should get is pretty straightforward, it can still cause some confusion.
This is why, below, we’ll be discussing the specifics of the 4 Florida driver’s license classifications. We’ll give you a complete 2021 guide to help you determine which one you should get!
So shall we?
The 4 Driver’s License Types in Florida
These are the 4 driver’s licenses in Florida:
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Non-commercial driver’s license
- Learner’s driver’s license
- Motorcycle-only driver’s license
Let’s look at each one in more detail.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
There are three classes of commercial driver’s licenses in Florida: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each category is classified by the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of a vehicle.
- Class A allows a driver to operate a combination vehicle with a gross GVWR of up to 26,001lbs or more. The towed vehicle/load should be 10,000lbs.
- Class B allows a driver to operate a straight truck with a GVWR of 26,001lbs or more.
- Class C allows a driver to operate a vehicle that transports hazardous materials. Besides that, a class C license also allows you to drive a vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001lbs that is used to transport more than 15 people.
For details about endorsements and designations, see the FLHSMV page on license classes and endorsements.
Non-Commercial Driver’s License
There are two classes of non-commercial driver’s licenses in Florida – Class D and Class E.
- Class D allows drivers to operate any truck or truck tractor that has a GVWR of 8,000lbs or more (but less than 26,001lbs). Also, this truck shouldn’t be used for commercial purposes.
- Class E licenses are the standard licenses given to drivers. It lets drivers operate vehicles less than 8,000lbs.
Learner’s Driver’s License
If you are below 18 years old, the first driver’s license you need is this learner’s permit.
Drivers who have recently gotten their learner’s permit are only allowed to drive during the daylight hours for the first three (3) months from issuance. They must also be accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 21 or older at all times when driving.
Once the first three months are over, drivers may move on to operate a vehicle from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a licensed driver, 21 years or older, in the passenger seat.
Requirements for getting your learner’s permit include:
- Applicant should be at least 15 years old upon application
- Applicant must pass vision, road signs, and road rules tests.
- Applicant must have the signature of one parent (or guardian) on the consent form.
- Applicant must complete Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course.
- Applicant must provide two forms of identification.
- Applicant must comply with school attendance.
Motorcycle-Only Driver’s License
If you wish to operate a motorcycle, then a motorcycle-only license is the license for you.
The requirements are as follows:
- The applicant must pass the standard Class E Knowledge Test.
- If the applicant is under 18 but at least 16 years old, they must hold a learner’s permit for one year with no traffic convictions.
- The applicant must complete a BRC or BRCu motorcycle safety course from an authorized course provider.
- The applicant must visit a driver’s license branch with proper identification and pay the fee to get their motorcycle-only endorsement.
Here’s a list of authorized motorcycle safety course providers in Florida.
Note: Drivers with learner’s permits are ineligible for a motorcycle endorsement.
How Do I Get a Class E Driver’s License?
As we mentioned earlier, the class E license is the standard driver’s license given to drivers who wish to operate personal vehicles. So it’s safe to say this is the most basic license type in Florida.
And, this is why we’re focusing on the steps to getting this type of license.
To get a class E driver’s license, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Complete a drug and alcohol course
- Pass a vision and hearing test
- Pass the Class E Knowledge Exam
- Pass the Class E Driving Skills Test
- Provide identification and all required documents
Note: If you currently possess a learner’s permit, you no longer have to the drug and alcohol course. Additionally, you are not required to take the course if you have a previous (or active) license from a different state, country, or jurisdiction.
Extra Requirements for Minors
Applicants who are under the age of 18 may be required to provide additional documents, such as:
- Parental Consent Form
- Parent Proctoring Form
- Certification of Minor Driving Experience Form
Minors that took the Class E Knowledge Exam online need to provide a Parent Proctoring Form filled out by a parent or legal guardian.
Note: Each form mentioned above must be signed in the presence of an FLHSMV driver’s license examiner or a notary public.
Exceptions for the Florida Driver’s License
People who fall under the following categories do not have to get a Florida driver’s license:
- Have a valid non-commercial driver license from another state or territory of the US
- Have an International Driving Permit from your country of residence accompanied by a valid driver’s license from that country.
Get further details from the Official Florida Driver Handbook.
Restrictions for the Florida Driver’s License
License restrictions are based on several factors. Failing to comply with these restrictions can get you slammed with a ticket, fine, or even get your license suspended.
Restrictions are typically represented by a code that appears on your driver’s license.
Here’s what you should look for:
|A||A–Corr Lenses||Corrective Lenses: The driver must wear contact lenses or glasses at all times while driving a vehicle.|
|B||B–Outside Mirror||Outside Rearview Mirror: The vehicle the person is driving must have an outside rear-view mirror (left side) on the car.|
|C||C–Business Purposes||Business Purposes Only: Driving privilege is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, e.g., to and from work, on-the-job, educational purposes, church, and for medical purposes.|
|D||D–Employment Purposes||Employment Purposes Only: Driving privilege is limited to driving to and from work and on-the-job driving required by an employer or occupation.|
|E||E–Daylight Drive Only||Daylight Driving Only (From dawn to dusk.)|
|F||F–Auto Transmission||Automatic Transmission: The driver is only allowed to operate automatic transmission vehicles.|
|G||G–Power Steering||Power Steering: The driver is limited to operating vehicles with power steering.|
|I||I–Dir Signals||Directional Signals: The driver may not operate any vehicle without functioning turn signals.|
|J||K-Steering Wheel Grip||Grip on Steering Wheel: The driver is limited to driving a vehicle that has a grip or knob affixed to the steering wheel|
|K||K- Hearing Aid||Hearing Aid: This restriction is placed on a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and requires the driver to wear a hearing aid during the operation of a vehicle.|
|M||M-Mech Aid||Hand Control or Pedal Extension: The driver is required to use a mechanical driving aid such as a hand control or pedal extension device.|
|N||N-Left Foot Accelerator||Left Foot Accelerator: The driver is required to use a left foot accelerator.|
|P||P-Interlock Device||Probation-Ignition Interlock Device: The driver is limited to operating a vehicle that has an ignition interlock device installed.|
|V||V-Medical Variance||(CDL) Medical Variance|
|X||X- Medical Alert Bracelet||Medical Alert Bracelet: The driver must wear a medical alert bracelet while operating a motor vehicle.|
The Bottom Line
Deciding what driver’s license class you should get can be confusing. You certainly don’t want to get the wrong one!
That said, we hope that this Florida driver’s license classifications guide has helped you find the right license type for you.
What’s more, we’ve listed the most important things to know when you’re first getting your driver’s license in Florida. We hope it serves you well in making your decision.