California Driver Handbook - Driver License Classes

This handbook is primarily for a basic Class C driver license.

Class C driver license -

  • You may drive a:
    • 2-axle vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs. or less.
    • 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. or less gross.
    • Housecar 40 feet or less.
    • 3-wheel motorcycle with two wheels located in the front or back.
    • Vanpool vehicle designed to carry more than 10 persons, but no more than 15 persons including the driver.

NOTE: The vanpooldriver must have a valid medical certification on file with the DMV and carry a valid medical card. The driver must keep in the vanpool vehicle a statement signed under penalty of perjury, that he or she has not been convicted of reckless driving, drunk driving, or hit-and-run in the last five years (CVC §12804.9(j)).

  • You may tow a:
    • Single vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less, including a tow dolly, if used.
  • With a vehicle weighing 4,000 lbs. or more unladen, you may tow a:
    • Trailer coach or 5th-wheel travel trailer under 10,000 lbs. GVWR when towing is not for compensation.
    • 5th-wheel travel trailer exceeding 10,000 lbs. but under 15,000 lbs. GVWR, when towing is not for compensation, and with endorsement.
  • A farmer or employee of a farmer may drive:
    • Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less, if used exclusively in agricultural operations and it is not for hire or compensation.

NOTE:

  • Class C licensees may not tow more than one vehicle.
  • A passenger vehicle, regardless of weight, may not tow more than one vehicle.
  • A motor vehicle under 4,000 lbs. unladen weight may not tow any vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. or more gross. (CVC §21715)

Other classes of driver licenses/endorsements are:

  • Noncommercial Class A
  • Noncommercial Class B
  • Commercial Class A
  • Commercial Class B
  • Commercial Class C
  • Motorcycle Class M1
  • Motorcycle Class M2
  • Commercial endorsements:
    • Doubles/Triples
    • Hazardous Materials
    • Passenger Transportation
    • Tank Vehicle
  • Ambulance Driver Certificate
  • School Bus Endorsement
  • Tow Truck Driver Certificate
  • Verification of Transit Training Certificate
  • Firefighter Endorsement

NOTE: Commercially licensed firefighters must submit a Medical Examination Report (DL 51) every 2 years. Noncommercially licensed firefighters can submit a self-certifying Health Questionnaire (DL 546).

Detailed information on other driver license types and endorsements can be found in the California Commercial Driver Handbook, Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook, Ambulance Drivers Handbook, California Parent-Teen Training Guide, and California Motorcycle Handbook. Please refer to these handbooks for additional information.

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