What Kind of License Do You Need to Drive a Tow Truck in New York?

Driving a tow truck in New York requires a special Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) endorsement. The state of New York has different rules and regulations for towing than other states, and no specific tow truck license exists. This means that drivers need to possess the right type of CDL in order to legally transport vehicles.

Types of CDLs

To drive a tow truck in New York, you need to possess a Class B or Class C CDL. A Class B requires an Air Brakes endorsement, while a Class C requires both an Air Brakes and Passenger endorsements. The state also requires that all drivers pass an additional knowledge test for the Tow Vehicle endorsement before they can legally drive a tow truck.


In addition to the written exams and driving tests required for all CDL applicants, tow truck drivers must take specialized exams related to towing safety.

These tests are designed to ensure that drivers have the necessary knowledge to safely and correctly operate their vehicle when hauling heavy loads.

Background Checks

New York requires all applicants for CDLs, including those applying for the Tow Vehicle endorsement, complete background checks before they can be issued the license. This includes a criminal background check as well as verification of past driving records and employment history.

Licensing Requirements

Once all of the above requirements have been met, drivers must take an on-the-road driving test in order to receive their license. During this test, drivers must demonstrate their ability to safely operate a tow truck in various conditions including highway driving, urban areas, and parking lots. Once they have passed this test, they will be issued their Commercial Driver’s License with Tow Vehicle endorsement sticker attached.

Conclusion: In order to legally drive a tow truck in New York State, you must have either a Class B or Class C Commercial Driver’s License with both Air Brakes and Passenger endorsements as well as an additional Tow Vehicle endorsement after passing written tests and background checks as well as an on-the-road driving exam.

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Karen Watkins