Regular Driver License
What is a Regular (Class D) License?
A Class D License is a regular driver license and is required to operate a passenger vehicle.
A Class D vehicle is defined as any vehicle, or any combination of vehicles, with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less, as long as:
- The vehicle is not used for the purpose of transporting hazardous materials which are required by law to be placarded.
- The vehicle is not used to transport more than fifteen passengers including the driver, or
- The vehicle is not a school bus used to transport children to and from school for compensation.
Generally speaking, the majority of applicants for a Tennessee driver license will be operators of regular passenger vehicles, pick-up trucks, or vans. The Driver License Manual is designed to provide the information you need to get a Class D license.
If the vehicle is used for any of these purposes, the driver is required to obtain a Commercial Driver License.
For a Regular Class D Driver License you will need:
For a Hardship Class H Driver License you will need:
- Required Documents
- Hardship approval letter noting authorized driving routes and times. This must be the original letter from Tennessee Department of Safety.
If you are under eighteen (18) years of age you will need:
- Required Documents
- Proof of school attendance/progress (SF1010 Form, provided by the school; necessary for Learner Permit only unless student is applying for TN Intermediate Driver License with an out-of-state Learner Permit or Driver License)
- Teenage Affidavit/Financial Responsibility (also available at the Driver Services Center)
- Certification of 50 Hours Behind the Wheel Driving Experience (SF-1256) (also available at the Driver Services Center)
- If you are applying for an Intermediate License with an out-of-state permit, you must also provide a Motor Vehicle Record from the issuing state. See Driver License FAQ #6, Graduated Driver License FAQ #3, and Section A-3, GDL Section, Comprehensive Driver Manual for more information. Visit our Out of State Driver Services page for links to other states' online driver services.
To obtain a Tennessee Driver License for the first time when an applicant is under the age of 18, proof of prior driving experience is required. The applicant must either:
- Obtain a learner permit for at least six (6) months (180 days)
- Have been licensed to drive in another state for at least 90 days.
Applicants not yet eighteen years old must have an adult sign a Minor/Teen-age Affidavit and Cancellation form, which can be picked up at any driver license station or downloaded in Adobe PDF format.
Who is not eligible?
- Anyone whose license is currently suspended or revoked in Tennessee or any other state.
- Anyone the Commissioner has reason to believe would be unable to operate a motor vehicle safely because of mental or physical disabilities.
- Anyone who has been proven to be a habitual drunkard or who is addicted to the use of narcotics.
- Anyone required to show proof of financial responsibility and has not yet done so.
- Anyone under the age of 18 who has dropped out of school before graduating, or who does not make "satisfactory progress" in school.
- Anyone who is not a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident will not qualify for the issuance of a driver license or identification only license.
Who is not required to have a driver license?
- Operators of any road machinery, farm tractor, or implement of husbandry that is temporarily operated or moved on a highway.
- Non-residents who have in their immediate possession a valid driver license issued by their home state or country, equivalent to the appropriate class or type of Tennessee license.
- Individuals who are not U.S. citizens and who, in connection with their employment in managerial or technical positions in Tennessee, may operate vehicles with a valid driver license issued by another state, country, or international body for a period of six (6) months.
- Students pursuing an approved driver training course in a public or private secondary school, or in a licensed commercial driver training school for passenger vehicles, when accompanied by a certified instructor.
Where do you go to get your license?
Download the Driver License Manual
The Comprehensive Driver License Manual is designed for all current and potential drivers in Tennessee and will help new and old drivers alike get ready for initial, renewal, and other license applications by explaining:
- the different types of licenses available
- the documentation and other requirements for license applications
- details on Intermediate Driver Licenses and how this graduated driver license works for driver license applicants under age 18
- basic descriptions of the tests required for a Driver License
It also includes information needed to pass the knowledge tests for a Class D Tennessee driver license.