Florida Driver's License Types
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) issues several types of driver's licenses. Teen drivers typically first earn their learner's license before getting a Class E license, which is for people who drive noncommercial vehicles.
Commercial drivers, such as truck and bus drivers, require a commercial driver's license (CDL). Motorcyclists must apply to have a motorcycle endorsement added to their Class E license, and other endorsements are available for specific types of vehicles.
Class E Driver's License
The Class E license is the standard driver's license for people who drive personal vehicles. It allows you to drive a noncommercial vehicle that weighs less than 26,001 pounds. These include:
- Vans that carry up to 15 people (including the driver)
- Recreational vehicles (RVs)
- Mopeds, scooters and other two- to three-wheeled vehicles that are not motorcycles
Class E Learner's License
The Class E learner's license is commonly known as a learner's permit. Drivers with a learner's permit:
- Can only operate a vehicle that weighs less than 8,000 pounds
- Cannot operate a motorcycle
- Must have a licensed driver in the passenger seat who is 21 or older
- Can drive only in the daylight during the first three months of having the permit
- Can drive at night until 10:00 p.m. after the first three months
Class E Learner's License
You can complete the four-hour DATA course online using your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
If you have a learner's permit, you have already met the drug and alcohol course requirement. Also, you are not required to take the course if you have a current or previous driver's license from another state, country or jurisdiction.
If you have a Class E driver's license, you can get a motorcycle endorsement added to your license that allows you to operate a motorcycle.
To earn your motorcycle endorsement, you must meet the following requirements:
- Learn the basics of operating a motorcycle by completing the BasicRider Course (BRC) or the BasicRider Course updated (BRCu) from an authorized course provider.
- Within one year of completing the course, go to a driver's license branch with proper identification and pay the fee to get your motorcycle endorsement.
For a complete list of FLHSMV locations, visit the FLHSMV Locations page.
Motorcycle-Only Driver's License
If you do not wish to drive a car, it is possible to get a motorcycle-only endorsement on your driver's license.
The requirements are as follows:
- You must pass the standard Class E Knowledge Test.
- If you are under 18 but at least 16 years old, you must hold a learner's permit for one year with no traffic convictions.
- You must complete a BRC or BRCu motorcycle safety course from an authorized course provider.
- You must visit a driver's license branch with proper identification and pay the fee to get your motorcycle-only endorsement.
Commercial Driver's Licenses
You need a CDL to drive commercial vehicles such as semi trucks and buses.
CDLs come in three classes:
- Class A allows you to operate a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of up to 26,001 pounds. If you need to tow a trailer or vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds, and the total weight of your vehicle and trailer is no more than 26,001 pounds, then this license is appropriate.
- Class B allows you to operate a straight truck with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.
- Class C allows you to operate a vehicle that transports hazardous materials in amounts that require a placard. It also allows you to drive a vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 that is used to transport more than 15 people.
Some exemptions exist that allow you to drive a vehicle that would otherwise require a CDL, such as an emergency vehicle, with a Class E license. Some vehicles also require special endorsements to drive, including school buses or tanker trucks. See the FLHSMV page on license classes and endorsements for more details.
Driver's License Restrictions
A license can be restricted for various reasons. If you don't comply with the restrictions on your license, you could receive a ticket or have your license suspended.
Each restriction is represented by a code that appears on your driver's license. For example, code A requires you to always wear corrective lenses, such as glasses or contacts, while you drive. See the Official Florida Driver License Handbook for a full list of restrictions.
A hardship license is a special license you can apply for after your driver's license is suspended or revoked. It will restrict you to driving to and from work and certain other locations for business purposes.