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North Carolina has a regular driver license system and a commercial driver license (CDL). The type of vehicle you will operate determines the class of driver license you must have and the type vehicle in which you must take the driving skills test. The driving skills test must be performed in a vehicle representative of the class license desired.

If you are 18 years of age or older you may apply for an original North Carolina driver license. Under North Carolina's classified license system most drivers need only a Class C license to operate personal automobiles and small trucks.

Types of regular license.

Class A: Required to operate any combination of vehicles exempt from commercial driver license (CDL) requirements with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is greater than 10,000 pounds. Also required for operating any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds, if the vehicle being towed has a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds.
Class B: Required to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more that is exempt from CDL requirements, and any such vehicle while towing another vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or less.
Class C: Required to operate any vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds that is exempt from CDL requirements and is not towing a vehicle with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds. Most drivers need only a Regular C license to operate personal automobiles and small trucks.

Learner's Permit.

If you are age 18 or older you can apply for a Learner's Permit.

  • A Learner's Permit authorizes the permit holder to drive specified type or class of motor vehicle while in possession of the permit.
  • The permit holder must, while operating a motor vehicle over the highways, be accompanied by a person who is licensed to operate the motor vehicle being driven and is seated beside the permit holder.
  • A Learner's Permit is valid for a period of 18 months.
  • Required testing for a Learner's Permit includes: vision, traffic signs, and driving knowledge.