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Learn How to Get Your Commercial DZ Driver’s License in Ontario

5 Oct by Commercial Driver HQ

Learn How to Get Your Commercial DZ Driver’s License in Ontario

Are you interested in getting your CDL but you don’t like the idea of driving a tractor-trailer combination? If so, a DZ license is exactly what you’re looking for. While you may still have to drive a trailer at some point, it won’t be a long or heavy load.

Yes, driving professionally has its ups and downs but it is a career that offers a degree of freedom and flexibility and comes with many perks. Commercial driving jobs are in high demand and lead you through many interesting places. You will have the opportunity to explorer new parts of your area and work without the limitations of full time employment.



DZ License Requirements

The class D license allows for drivers to operate trucks and trailers over 11000kgs, as long as a towed vehicle is not over 4600kgs. Only a recreational vehicle towed by a pick-up truck may exceed the 4600kg weight limit.

5 ton truck driving downtown around buildings

Class D’s requirements are

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid G class driver’s license
  • Pass the vision and medical examination
  • Pass the written knowledge test and the road test

What is a Z-endorsement?

A Z-endorsement on your commercial driver’s license qualifies you to drive a vehicle operating with air brakes. Air brakes are common on most trucks so it is important to get your Z endorsement. Not only will it make you a more versatile driver, but it will also make you more valuable to employers. You can take your Z-endorsement tests paired or separately from your D license tests.

The Official Air Brakes Handbook can be found online at the Ontario website as well as at your local DriveTest centre.

When you apply for Z-endorsement you will have to take a written knowledge test and a practical test. This is where combining the D License and Z-endorsement saves time.

In addition to the requirements above, it is important to have a clean driving record. Employers will want to know about your driving history and a clean driving record shows them that you will be a safe choice for their team.

How to get your DZ license in 7 Easy Steps

There 7 easy steps to follow to obtain your DZ license

Dump truck being loaded by front end loader
  1. Visit a DriveTest Centre
  2. Complete your medical exam
  3. Study for the test
  4. Apply for your license
  5. Pass the knowledge test
  6. Experience behind the wheel
  7. Pass the road test

Visit a DriveTest Centre

Your local DriveTest centre is a great place to start if you are looking to obtain a commercial license. Furthermore, they will be able to give you complete up-to-date information on exactly what steps you need to take. The staff will be able to confirm any requirements for your applicable license type and you will also be able to pick up a copy of the form for your medical examination.

Check out the DriveTest website to find your closest DriveTest centre.

Complete your medical exam

The DriveTest centre requires a completed medical exam before any testing can take place. Book an appointment with a physician or a nurse practitioner and have them fill out the medical exam form you picked up earlier. The medical exam will cost you somewhere between $50 and $150, call your doctor’s office before heading in. Health care professionals are legally required to inform the licensing authorities of any condition that may impair your ability to drive. Once the doctor or nurse signs off on your medical forms you will have 6 months to apply for your license before the form expires. If the form expires before you can apply for your license, you will have to pick up a new form and complete the exam again.

Study for the test!

Now that you know you meet the requirements to apply for your DZ license, you need to study for the written knowledge test. If you don’t already have one, get yourself a copy of the MTO Truck handbook and read every page. The questions on the knowledge test stem from the information in the handbook, so it is important to read and understand the material the handbook covers.

The same goes for the Z-endorsement knowledge test.

Apply for your DZ license

Next, with your handbook memorized and your medical form complete, head back to the DriveTest centre and apply for your driver’s license. It is best to apply for your Z-endorsement at the same time as your D license. While there is no cost advantage to taking the two together, you will save yourself some time and a second trip to the DriveTest centre.

It is necessary to pass a vision test when applying for a driver’s license of any kind. You will need to visit an optometrist for a more in depth examination if you fail the vision test at the DriveTest centre. The optometrist will test the strength of your eyes as well as your peripheral field and if completed successfully, you will be able to re-apply for the license. You can find a copy of the vision report form on the MTO website or on our Driver Resources page.

There are several required fees when applying for a commercial license.

Dump truck dumping a load
  • Commercial license package (knowledge test and road test): $120.00
  • Full commercial license package if you’re between ages 65 and 79: $29.75
  • Z-endorsement (written and practical): $65.75
  • Five year commercial license: $90.00

Once you pay your fees, pass the vision test, and hand in your medical forms, it is time to take the test!

Pass the Knowledge Test

A successful knowledge test shows that you understand the fundamentals of operating a DZ class vehicle. You can take the test at any DriveTest centre, no appointment necessary. Commercial tests are available on paper in 8 different languages including English, French, Hindi and Tamil. In addition to the paper test, a computerized version is available in both English and French.

Knowledge test are un-timed but generally take between 20-30 minutes. There are three sections of multiple choice questions based on the material covered in the handbooks. The examiner will mark your test when you are complete and you must finish the test with a score of 80% or higher to proceed. If you fail the test you must pay the fee a second time and try the test again.

Experience Behind The Wheel

At this point can start to put some time in the cab, if you already have your G license you can start practicing with a friend who already has their DZ license.

Another way to gain experience is to attend a trucking school. Schools provide more in depth instruction into the operation of the vehicle and offer a safe method for learning the ropes.

Book and pass your road test

Now that you’ve put a groove in your seat, you can feel confident booking a road test. You can book a road test online or over the phone or in person and are available year round. While booking your road test, indicate that you would also like to include the Z-endorsement practical test. Commercial license tests usually take around an hour to complete and consist of a lot test and a road test. The Z-endorsement practical test takes around half an hour and takes place in a parking lot.

You will need to bring a few items with you to your road tests. Here is your test day pack list:

  • a D class vehicle in good working order (insured vehicle required)
  • your current driver’s license
  • a paper copy of the road test confirmation email
  • your test fees

Specifically for Z-endorsement

  • wheel chocks
  • a stopwatch
  • knowledge of the size and type of air brakes on the test vehicle
  • a way of holding the break pedal engaged
  • something to mark a measure the pushrod stroke
  • hard hat and safety glasses
  • brake adjustments limit chart

You must complete a pre-trip inspection as the first part of the test. During the test the examiner will have you perform specific tasks and will evaluate you on your performance.

If you fail the test the examiner will show you where you need improvement and you will have to wait 10 days to take the test again. If you pass the test, you will be granted a 90 day temporary license and will be permitted to drive any vehicle in your licensed classes.

Put Your New Commercial License To Work

Congratulations! Now that you have your commercial driver’s license you are fully qualified to operate class D vehicles equipped with air brakes. Your new license has opened the door to many new career paths and with a severe shortage of drivers expected by the year 2020, the future for a new driver looks bright.

How did you do on the tests? Have some advice for aspiring DZ drivers? Leave a comment below and share with your friends.