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California Driver Handbook - Driver License Classes


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: A driver of a vanpool may operate with a Class C license but shall possess evidence of a medical examination required for a Class B license when operating vanpool vehicles. 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.


  • 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).

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