Commercial Driver's License

esting and licensing heavy truck and bus operators are required by law in Kentucky. These minimum standards will guarantee the fitness of commercial motor vehicle operators by requiring demonstrated ability to drive heavy vehicles before a license is issued. The Commercial Driver's License (CDL) laws and standards cover drivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Mexico, and Canada. Motor Carriers will be held responsible if their drivers operate a commercial motor vehicle without a valid CDL.

Useful CDL Resources


MyCDL Quick Start Guides


​CDL Document Portal​​
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​WHO NEEDS A CDL

​For any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating ( GVWR ) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is more than 10,000 pounds.​

  • ​Any straight truck with two or more axles and a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more;

  • Any vehicle with two or more axles and a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, pulling a vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less;

  • A single vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) if the GVWR is 26,001 pounds or more.


  • ​Any vehicle with a GVWR of fewer than 26,001 pounds transporting hazardous materials for which placarding is required;

  • A single vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) if the GVWR is less than 26,001 pounds.​


​​​​​If driving a commercial motor vehicle as defined below, you are required to carry a medical examination certificate, even though you are not required to carry a  CDL license.​


Commercial Motor Vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle:

  • ​​Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater: or

  • Is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation.

  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

  • ​Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 USC 5103 and transported in quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.​​

​RESTRICTIONS AND ENDORSEMENTS 

Endorsements:
  • H Hazardous Materials

  • N Tank

  • P Passenger

  • T Double/Triple Trailer

  • X Tank/Hazardous Materials combined

  • S School Bus

    • ​Effective July 1, 2023, school bus endorsement holders will no longer be required to submit to an annual medical exam due to a revision in KRS 281A.175.  The medical certificate can be valid for a period of up to 24 months.​

​Restrictions:
  • L No Air Brake Equipped CMV

  • Z No Full Air Brake Equipped CMV

  • E No Manual Transmission Equipped CMV

  • O No Tractor-trailer CMV

  • M No Class A Passenger Vehicle

  • N No Class A and B Passenger Vehicle

  • K Intrastate Only

  • V Medical Variance

  • P No Passengers in CMV Bus

  • X No Cargo in CMV Tank Vehicle

  • 8 Other (special restrictions)

REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A PERMIT/ LICENSE

ALL CDL PAPERWORK MUST BE PROCESSED ON THE DRIVING RECORD BEFORE TESTING
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  • CDL paperwork includes a valid Medical Certificate, Self-Certification, and Commercial application

  • ​Driver must be at least 18 years of age.

  • ​Driver must be a Permanent Resident or US Citizen to apply

    • ​​* Effective July 1, 2023, a non-domicile commercial learner’s permit (CLP), or commercial driver’s license (CDL) may be issued to a driver who is not a US Citizen or permanent resident.  An applicant domiciled in a foreign jurisdiction must provide an unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) issued by USCIS or an unexpired foreign passport accompanied by an approved I-94 form documenting the applicant’s most recent admittance into the United States.  An applicant for a non-domiciled CLP or CDL is not required to surrender his/her foreign license.  The non-domiciled CLP or CDL will be valid for the same length of time as their approved length of stay in the United States.​​

  • Before obtaining a permit/license, all new applicants must complete the required written, vision, and skills tests, administered by the Kentucky State Police.

  • ​No tests are required for persons transferring to Kentucky with valid driving privileges, except for persons transferring from foreign countries. ( Except Hazmat Endorsement)

  • With the passage of SB 124, no testing is required for persons with licenses expired for less than five (5) years. 

  • Any driver suspended or expired for more than five (5) years will start over with a permit as a new driver.​


ENTRY-LEVEL DRIVER TRAINING (ELDT) REGULATIONS

  • Entry-level drivers include those applying to: 

    • ​Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time; 
    • Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or 
    • Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.
  • ​The ELDT regulations do not apply to individuals except from the CDL requirements under 49 CFR part 383. This includes:

    • ​Individuals applying under §383.3(c), (d), or (h);
    • Individuals applying for a restricted CDL under §383.3(e) through (g);
    • Military personnel who meet all requirements and conditions of §383.77; or
    • Individuals applying for removal of a restriction per §383.135(b)(7).
  • Entry-level drivers subject to the ELDT regulations must complete entry-level driver training from a training provider registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

  • ​An applicant who obtains a commercial learner's permit (CLP) before February 7, 2022, is not required to complete the entry-level driver training for obtaining a CDL, so long as the applicant obtains a CDL before the CLP or renewed CLP expires.

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For a list of registered training providers, and to learn more about the ELDT requirements, visit the  FMCSA Training Provider Registry
​SKILLS TEST

CDL skills testing appointments are made by calling the Kentucky State Police at 1 (800) 542-5990.​


WANTS AND WARRANTS CHECK FOR ALL CDL DRIVERS (KRS 281A.300​)​

All applicants for a CDL (original and renewal) must undergo a "hot file" check conducted by the Kentucky State Police. The cost is $3.00 and will be collected by the KYTC Driver Licensing Regional office at the time of issuance. It will be a quick check and will not delay the driver in receiving their CDL. If a "hit" occurs, a notice will be sent to the law enforcement agency that originated the warrant for further investigation.


RENEWING A CDL

Also, prior to the issuance of an original, renewal or upgrade CDL / CLP all CDL holders/applicants must self-certify as to what type of driving vehicle they are operating in or expect to operate in by completing TC 94-169 Commercial Driver License Self Certification form. The above information must be forwarded to the Division of Driver Licensing and posted to the driver’s CDLIS record prior to applying for issuance of a CDL / CLP at a Driver Licensing Regional office.

Also, 49 CFR 384.206 mandates new CDL applicants, renewals, upgrades and CDL transfers to complete a commercial driver's license application 10-year history survey. Drivers/applicants must provide a list of all states where they held a license to operate any type of vehicle in the previous 10 years. Failure to disclose the required information subjects the applicant to a possible 60 (sixty) day suspension for falsifying an application.
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​​HAZMAT THREAT ASSESSMENT PROGRAM​

​ ​The USA PATRIOT Act requires all drivers transporting hazardous materials to undergo a security threat assessment. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)​ developed a program to implement this requirement.


​The security threat assessment must be completed every five (5) years. The Division of Driver Licensing will send an applicant currently holding a CDL Hazardous Materials Endorsement a notification letter approximately 60 days before the expiration of the security threat assessment. This notification will advise the applicant to initiate and complete the fingerprint-based criminal background check before the expiration date.

To make an appointment or check the status of the Hazmat Driver Security Threat Assessment, applicants may contact KSP at 1 (888) 655-9655.

We can also use your TWIC document as proof of the security threat assessment. You will need to provide the CDL Section with a copy of your TWIC card. Upon verification of the card, it will be added to your Kentucky driving record. The email address for submitting a copy (front and back) of the TWIC document is kytc.twic@ky.gov​, and the fax number is 844-535-7272. This email and fax are only for the TWIC document.


Any "first-time" applicants wishing to obtain Hazardous Materials Endorsement must:
  • If the applicant already holds a CDL, they must call KSP (1 (888) 655-9655) to set up an appointment for fingerprinting. There are eight sites (listed below) across the state for fingerprinting. 

  • If the applicant does not hold a CDL, they must obtain a CDL permit. Once a permit is obtained, the applicant must call the KSP (1 (888) 655-9655) to set up an appointment to be fingerprinted.

At the KSP Hazmat fingerprinting site, applicants must to show two forms of identification, their CDL permit along with a regular Operator's license or a Commercial license, and another form of identification, i.e., birth certificate, INS documentation.

The fingerprint-based criminal background check will cost $115.00, paid by certified check, cashier's check, or money order to the Kentucky State Treasurer. You can also pay online before the appointment with a debit/credit card at the KSP Website. This fee is for the fingerprint-based criminal background check only, not for the Hazardous Material Endorsement.

The application will be sent to the Transportation Safety Administration, and the fingerprints will be sent to the FBI. Applicants will receive notification from TSA and the Division of Driver Licensing when the assessment is complete. TSA will notify the state that the identified applicant (CDL number) is either approved or disqualified. An entry will then be made on the applicant's record, verifying that the applicant has completed the fingerprint process and is either approved or denied. If the applicant is denied, the reason will not be stated. The only information provided to the applicant is how to appeal the decision through TSA.

If the applicant is approved, the applicant may continue with the Hazardous Material endorsement by scheduling an appointment at any KYTC Driver License Regional office​, pay the $5.00 test fee, and take the written knowledge test. If the applicant passes the test, the endorsement will be issued.

The endorsement will only be added to one license, per FMCSA regulation 383.23(c)(3).

We can also use your TWIC document as proof of the security threat assessment. You will need to provide the CDL Section with a copy of your TWIC card. Upon verification, the card will be added to your Kentucky driving record. The email address for submitting a copy (front and back) of the TWIC document is kytc.twic@ky.gov​, and the fax number is 844-535-7272. This email and fax are only for the TWIC document.


All CDL Hazmat endorsement holders must take the hazmat written and vision tests to renew a Commercial license UNLESS it has been less than two (2) years from the last test date. 

The testing fee is $5.00. Upon passing the test, the license will be issued with the hazmat endorsement.

The security threat assessment will be required every five (5) years based on the expiration date of your current threat assessment or TWIC information on your Kentucky driving record. You will be notified 60 days before the expiration date to begin the fingerprint-based criminal background check.


All commercial drivers transferring to Kentucky with a hazmat endorsement must take the written knowledge and vision tests. The testing fee is $5.00.

We will access your security threat assessment information from TSA, or you may provide us with your current TWIC document. After verification of this information, it will be added to your Kentucky driving record. 

In the future, you will receive notice 60 days before your security threat assessment expires.​


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HAZMAT FINGERPRINTING LOCATIONS​​​

 Lexington​​​​​​​
141 Leestown Center Way​​
​Lexington, KY 40511​
Monday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm​
 Louisville, at Bowman Field
3501 Roger E. Schupp Street
​Lousiville, KY 40205​
Monday & Wednesday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm​
 Independence​​​​​​​
1655 Delaware Crossing
​Independence, KY 41051​
Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 3:00 pm​
 Paducah, at McCracken County Courthouse​​​​​​​
2855 Jackson Street​
​Paducah, KY 42003​
Thursday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm​
 Madisonville, at Regional Office​​​​​​​
56 Federal Street
​Madisonville, KY 42431​
Wednesday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm​

 Morehead Driver Licensing Regional Office​​​​​​​
126 Bradley Avenue
​Morehead, KY 4​0351​
Thursday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm​ ​
 Elizabethtown Driver Licensing Regional Office​​​​​​​
1055 North Mulberry
Elizabethtown, KY 42701
Wednesday – Friday 8:00 am to 3:00 pm

 Bowling Green, at Regional Office​​​​​​​
360 E 8th Avenue, Suite 140
​Bowling Green, KY ​42101​
Tuesday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm​
 London Driver Licensing Regional Office
845 South Main Street​
​London, KY 40743​
Wednesday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm​
 Pikeville Driver Licensing Regional Office​​​​​​​
126 Trivette Drive, Suite 103
Pikeville, KY 41501
Tuesday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm

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​GENERAL RULES

  • ​​​You cannot have more than one license. If you break this rule, a court may fine you up to $5,000 or place you in jail. You must be licensed in your home state.

  • You must notify your employer within 30 days of a conviction for any traffic violation (except parking). This is factual, no matter what type of vehicle you were driving.

  • You must notify your motor vehicle license agency within 30 days if you are convicted of a traffic violation (except parking) in any other state. This is factual, no matter what type of vehicle you were driving.

  • You must notify your employer if your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled or if you are disqualified from driving.

  • You must give your employer information on all driving jobs you have held for the past ten years. You must do this when you apply for a commercial driving job.

  • After April 1, 1992, no one could drive a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL. A state may fine you up to $5,000 or place you in jail for breaking this law. Your employer may not let you drive a commercial motor vehicle if you have more than one license or your CDL is suspended or revoked. A court may fine the employer up to $10,000 or place him in jail for breaking this rule.​​


​WAIVERS AND VIOLATIONS

Below is a list of violations that could result in the loss of commercial driving privileges for periods ranging from 24 hours to life:

24 HOURS - Driving a commercial motor vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol or controlled substance in the blood, breath, or urine.

60 DAYS - Two serious moving violations in three years. A serious violation is defined as 
  • speeding 15 mph or more
  • improper/erratic lane change
  • following too closely
  • reckless driving
  • any violation arising in connection with a fatal accident
  • driving a commercial motor vehicle without having a commercial learner's permit or Commercial license in possession
  • driving a commercial motor vehicle without the proper class commercial learner's permit or commercial license or required endorsements
  • texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle
  • using a handheld mobile telephone while driving a commercial motor vehicle
  • Any person who knowingly falsifies information or certification required to obtain a commercial driver's license, permit, or duplicate commercial driver's license, will be subject to an administrative hearing and disqualified for at least 60 consecutive days.
120 DAYS - Three serious moving violations in three years.

180 DAYS - Convicted of operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle while placed out of service
  • 2 years for the second offense in a separate incident within a ten (10) year period; and
  •  3 years for the third or subsequent offense in a separate incident within a ten (10) year period.

1 YEAR - First conviction of any of the following or For life - Second conviction of any of the following:
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or more or under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Leaving the scene of a traffic accident
  • Using the commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony.
  • Refusal of a chemical test
  • Driving a CMV while being suspended on prior CMV operation violations
  • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV
3 YEARS - Violating any law above while transporting hazardous materials

FOR LIFE- First conviction of using the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance, or using a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving an act or practice of severe forms of trafficking in persons as defined and described in 22 USC 7102 (11)​.

All tests are required if applying for a CDL or CLP reinstatement and the commercial privilege has been suspended for (1) one year or more.


It is against the law to operate a commercial vehicle with any amount of alcohol or controlled substance in the blood, breath, or urine. If a driver tests between .01% BAC to .039% BAC, that driver shall be out of service for 24 hours. If a driver tests over .04% BAC, they will be disqualified for one year, regardless of whether the driver was operating a commercial or non-commercial vehicle. 

A second conviction carries a penalty of disqualifying a commercial driver for life. Penalties apply to the driver's commercial driving privileges only.

Considered by FMCSA to be a controlled substance, CBD is extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis. Consuming high quantities of CBD oil will leave enough THC in your system to trigger a positive test result and cause impairment. 

FMCSA offers more information on how this relates to the legalization of marijuana in some states and how it relates to meeting the qualification standards of operating a commercial vehicle.

Please note that if a commercial license/permit holder is convicted of any alcohol/drug-related driving offense, an automatic suspension of the commercial status is one year, regardless of whether the driver is cited in a commercial or non-commercial vehicle.​



All moving convictions must be posted to the driving record if the driver is a CDL holder or the conviction occurred in a CMV. State Traffic School will prevent points from being assessed but will not prevent the conviction from appearing on the record.​

601 KAR 11:040 sets forth the procedure and standards for obtaining an Intrastate Medical Waiver. If a commercial driver does not meet the federal medical guidelines outlined in 49 CFR 391., subpart E, he may apply for this Intrastate Medical Waiver.


The driver may contact the Division of Driver Licensing in Frankfort to apply for this waiver. At that time, the driver will be sent a medical waiver packet containing a form, "Request for Medical Waiver." Also in the packet are the following supplemental medical report forms: Cardiovascular Conditions, Neurological Conditions, Musculoskeletal Conditions, Metabolic Conditions, Alcohol or Drug Dependence, Mental and Emotional Conditions, and Vision Conditions. A licensed physician shall determine which forms apply to the applicant's medical condition and complete these forms. If the vision form is applicable, an optometrist or ophthalmologist must complete the form. Along with the request for waiver and appropriate medical report forms, the Division of Driver Licensing must receive a long-form copy of the driver's last DOT physical examination.

The Division of Driver Licensing will base its decision on granting the requested waiver from the information obtained from the medical report forms, the DOT physical, and the applicant's driving history. If the Intrastate Medical Waiver request is granted, the applicant will receive a letter of approval along with the Medical Waiver card that indicates "Medical Waiver Granted, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet." This card will indicate, "This waiver is valid during Intrastate Commerce Only." The CDL license or permit will indicate the "K" restriction (intrastate only).

After being granted a medical waiver, the driver must submit periodic medical updates. The proper forms will be computer generated and automatically mailed to the driver. If the Division of Driver Licensing does not receive the updated information within 45 days, the Intrastate Medical Waiver, along with the driver's commercial driving privileges, will be canceled and remain canceled until the information is received.​


This restricted CDL may be issued to employees of farm retail outlets and suppliers, agrochemical businesses, custom harvesters, and livestock feeders. The license is valid for 60, 120, or 180 days in 12 months but is only valid within 150 miles of the land being serviced. It does not apply to any class A vehicles transporting fertilizer within any organic substance, fuel, gasoline, pesticides, or propane.

The applicant and the employer must complete the Farm-Related Services/Restricted CDL Application TC94-17. The applicant will also need to submit the Commercial Driver's license application, the Self- certification form, and the Medical Examiner's certificate through the MYCDL portal. Once the above information has been processed, the applicant will take the completed Farm-Related/Restricted CDL application to an issuing location. KSP examiner will administer the vision test. The cost of this license is $15.00

If you have questions, please call KYTC at (502) 564-1257.


Qualified, eligible military service members on active duty or those discharged within the past 12 months who wish to obtain a Kentucky Commercial Driver's License can waive some of their testing on their training and experience. This program is only available to those service members obtaining their initial CDL rather than for upgrades or restriction changes to an existing CDL.

For a Skills Test Waiver, the applicant and their Commanding Officer must complete the waiver's application. The Commanding Officer must submit the application and required documentation by email to the CDL Section of the Division of Driver Licensing at KYTC.CDLWaivers@KY.gov. The CDL Section will review the application and supporting documentation and contact the Commanding Officer to verify the application. The notification letter is mailed to the applicant. If approved, the applicant must present the approval letter to the driver licensing issuing office for their county of residence. The applicant is responsible for paying the application and license fees and complying with other licensing requirements.

The Skills Test Waiver is available to all service members with the appropriate military and commercial driving training experience. After the application is received, verified, and approved, these applicants will have their skills test waived but must take the written knowledge test. This does not include any endorsements that require a skills test. For further information, please contact KYTC at (502) 564-1257.

Required Documents:
  • Waiver application
  • Military CDL 
  • DD214 or proof of military status-active/discharged within the last 12 months
  • ​DD348 or Equivalent
  • ​Commercial Driver's License application
  • Medical Certificate
  • Self Certification
  • Military Exemption Form TC 94 167​


​A commercial driver's license may be issued to an individual eighteen (18) years of age who holds a valid automobile Class D driver's license and has passed the vision and knowledge test required for a commercial driver's license of the class vehicle to be driven if the individual only drives a commercial motor vehicle in intrastate commerce and does not drive a school bus or a vehicle hauling hazardous material. The license shall be class-specific and contain a "K" restriction noting that the commercial driver is limited to Kentucky intrastate commerce.​

​HOW DOES THE SYSTEM PREVENT MULTIPLE LICENSES?​

Kentucky has joined an information system called the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS), which will serve as a clearinghouse of information on commercial drivers nationwide. CDLIS will be used to eliminate drivers from holding multiple licenses and obtaining fraudulent licenses. For information regarding skills test appointments or test date availability, call Kentucky State Police at 1 (800) 542-5990. 

For information on CDL regulations or questions regarding licensing of commercial drivers, call the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet at (502) 564-1257.​