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Types of Drivers Licenses Issued by the DMV

No matter where you are in the US, the first thing you need before you get behind the wheel is your driving license. A driving license is not a mere document affirming your driving abilities. It's also important to prove your identity with your photograph, proof of age, and place of origin. You will gradually come to find its utility as a proof of identity in managing your day-to-day affairs.

The basic criteria for obtaining a driving license vary from state to state. In several states such as New York, the driving privilege is restricted in the case of being below the age of 18 or holding an out-of-state learner's permit. The DMV has different restrictions and endorsements for different classes of vehicles and cargos.

Below we will describe the different types of drivers licenses issued by state DMVs. Classes A, B, and C are for drivers of commercial motor vehicles such as large trucks and buses. Classes D and E are for drivers of non-commercial vehicles.

Commercial, Class A, Class B and Class C (CDL): People who are 21 years of age or above are entitled to apply for a Class A driver license. They can also apply for any CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement.

Those who have turned 18 can apply for Class B or Class C driver license. These types of driver's licenses are valid for the same vehicles that can be driven by a Class E driver. The Class A, Class B or Class C drivers can also drive buses and trucks having a GVWR (gross vehicle weight) of 26,001 lbs onwards. You can consult the official website of the DMV to find the information about changes for CDL (commercial) drivers. These changes are the result of the law that abolishes the Non-CDL Class C license.

Operator, Class D: The DMV issues this type of license to people 18 years of age and above. Those 17 years of age, but who completed a Driver's Education course, are also eligible for obtaining this type of license. Someone with such a type of license is allowed to drive passenger cars and trucks with a GVWR of not more than 26,000 lbs. They are also allowed to drive trailers and other towing vehicles with a maximum weight of 10,000 lbs.

However, a Class D driver is allowed to tow a vehicle with a GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs, when the combined weight of the two vehicles does not surpass 26,000 lbs.

Taxi and Livery, Class E: The Class E driving license is issued to people 18 and older. This type of license applies for the same classes of vehicles that a class D driver can drive. In addition to that, for-hire vehicles with the capacity of carrying maximum 14 passengers can also be driven under this type of license.

Junior License, Class DJ: These are meant for people below 18 years of age. These types of driver's licenses are issued by the DMV with restrictions. You can get full information about them in the Learner Permits and junior section of your state DMV website. Your state DMV website can be found here—http://www.dmv-search.com/.

This teen driver's license allows the license holder to drive passenger cars and trucks with a GVWR of maximum10,000 lbs. A class DJ license holder can also drive towing vehicles with a maximum GVWR of 3,000 lbs. or less.

Motorcycle, Class MJ: for motorcycles: This type of license authorizes the person under 18 to drive motorcycles, but with restrictions. The full details of the eligibility for this type of license have been discussed in the sections, Learner Permits and Junior Licenses in the DMV website.

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