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CDL Restrictions

April 26, 2022

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Two male truckers discussing types of CDL restrictions

Types of CDL Restrictions

Figuring out what types of CDL endorsements you need as a new truck driver can be confusing, especially if you’re also wondering about the different types of CDL restrictions. But don’t fear; Coastal Truck Driving School is here to help shed some light on the various types of CDL restrictions and what they mean.

Coastal is the premier provider of truck driving training in the Gulf South. With campuses in Louisiana and Mississippi, we provide training to new drivers that help them start their careers on the right foot. Contact our representatives today to learn more about our truck driving school.

Types Of CDL Restrictions

There are seven common types of CDL restrictions, though laws and restrictions may vary across different states. Be sure to check with your local laws to ensure you are compliant.

 

CDL Restriction Letter What It Means Applies to CDL Type
E Automatic transmission only Class A, B, & C
L Not allowed to use full air brake (test failed) Class A, B, & C
M You may only operate Class B or C passenger vehicles Class A
N You may only operate Class C passenger vehicles Class B
O Not allowed to operate vehicle with a fifth-wheel connection Class A
V You have a medical variance that’s been reported to the FMCSA Class A, B, & C
Z Not allowed to use full air brakes (testing vehicle had hydraulic brakes) Class A, B, & C

 

This is not an exhaustive list of the types of CDL restrictions. Your state may have additional restrictions or different letters to represent the type of restriction. Be sure to review your state’s CDL restrictions to ensure you are in compliance.

[Related: Types Of CDLs]

CDL E Restriction

The E restriction allows the CDL holder to only operate automatic vehicles. This type of CDL restriction is likely the most common one, especially in recent years. More and more commercial motor vehicles are using automatic transmissions over manual. To get this restriction removed, you will need to test in a manual transmission commercial vehicle.

While automatic commercial trucks are increasing in popularity, a large percentage of trucks are still manual transmission. Don’t let the CDL E restriction cripple your ability to find a job. As a premier truck driving school, Coastal teaches both automatic and manual transmission to give our graduates the best chance at success. Contact Coastal today to learn about our truck driver training program.

CDL L & Z Restrictions

Both of these restrictions prevent the use of full air brakes, these two restrictions are essentially the same, although the reasons behind them differ. The L type of CDL restriction means that the license holder failed their air brake test and may not operate full airbrakes until they pass the test. The Z restriction has the same limitations, but the license holder’s testing vehicle was equipped with hydraulic brakes instead of full air brakes. These types of CDL restrictions can be removed by either passing the air brake test or testing in an air brake-equipped vehicle.

CDL M Restriction

This type of CDL restriction limits Class A license holders to operating passenger vehicles that are Class B or C. With the M restriction, you may operate Class A vehicles, as long as they are not passenger vehicles. The most common type of Class A passenger vehicles are articulated, or “bendy,” busses.

CDL N Restriction

The CDL N restriction, much like the M restriction, limits the class of passenger vehicles CDL license holders can operate. With this type of CDL restriction, you can still operate Class B vehicles but can only drive Class C passenger vehicles.

[Related: Over-the-road Vs. Regional Trucking]

CDL O Restriction

This type of CDL restriction is the most limiting one for truck drivers, as it means you cannot operate a vehicle with a fifth-wheel extension. Most semi-truck trailers are connected via the fifth-wheel extension, so to open up career options, it’s highly recommended to remove this restriction from your CDL.

We’ve seen an increase in specialized industries, like energy companies, utilizing “truck trailers” instead of fifth-wheel tractor trailers. These truck trailers are commercial trucks with an attached trailer, so you may operate them with this type of CDL restriction. However, getting the O restriction removed is highly recommended if you’re not in a specialized industry.

CDL V Restriction

The final most common type of CDL restriction is the V restriction which notes that you have a medical condition that must be reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA). This doesn’t limit your ability to operate any vehicle, but it does mean that your medical records with the FMCA must be kept up to date. The most common medical issues that require a V restriction are seizures, diabetes, and vision or hearing impairments.

Can CDL Restrictions Be Removed?

Most types of CDL restrictions can be removed unless the restriction is due to a medical issue that cannot be cured. Some restrictions require written tests, while others may require a full course and a driving exam.

If you’re looking to remove CDL restrictions or receive top-tier truck driver training, contact Coastal Truck Driving School. As a leading truck driver training program in the Gulf South, Coastal is an ELDT-compliant school that trains new and veteran drivers to become the best they can be. Call our representatives today at 1-800-486-3639 and get started!