Kentucky CDL Requirements

Kentucky CDL Classes

      You must be at least 18 years old to operate a commercial motor vehicle within the state of Kentucky (intrastate) and at least 21 years of age to drive a commercial motor vehicle across Kentucky state lines (interstate). You must also be at least 21 years of age to haul materials that are deemed hazardous.

      A commercial motor vehicle is defined as any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used for the purpose of interstate commerce on a highway to transport either passengers or goods.

      You need a Kentucky CDL in order to operate either commercial or non-commercial motor vehicles that fall into the following categories:

Class A
      Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the gross vehicle weight rating of the towed vehicle is in excess of 10,000 pounds.  

Class B
      Any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 or more pounds, as well as any vehicle towing another vehicle that does not exceed a weight of 10,000 pounds. 

Class C
      Any vehicle or combination of vehicles that does not meet the criteria of either Class A or Class B, but is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or is used in transporting materials classified as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act. Each applicant must also have a passenger or hazardous materials endorsement in order to obtain a Class C commercial driver’s license. 

Applying for a Kentucky Commercial Learner’s Permit

      You must already possess a Kentucky commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before you can take the CDL skills test. Before applying for a Kentucky commercial learner’s permit, you must already possess a valid Kentucky Class D driver’s license. You will be issued a Kentucky commercial driver’s license (CDL) when you pass both the written general knowledge test and the CDL Skills Test. 

      In order to obtain a Kentucky commercial learner’s permit, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old for intrastate driving (within Kentucky state lines).
  • Be at least 21 years of age for interstate driving (outside Kentucky state lines).
  • Possess a valid Kentucky Class D driver’s license for at least one year.
  • Provide your Social Security card.
  • Prove you are of legal U.S. status by providing the required documents .
  • Provide proof of current Kentucky residency that shows your name and current address (i.e., a utility bill, vehicle registration, etc.).
  • Provide your current D.O.T. medical examination (cannot be more than 2 years old).
  • Pass the CDL general knowledge written test. 
  • Pay the $11 fee for the commercial learner’s permit.

The CDL General Knowledge Written Test

      The CDL general knowledge written test is given by the Kentucky state police at the local exam stations. The test is made up of 50 questions and covers the following subjects:

  • Vehicle operations under various conditions.
  • Cargo handling.
  • Vehicle inspection.

      An additional 20 questions about combination vehicles will be included for Class A applicants and an additional 25 questions about air brakes will be included for any applicants that plan to drive a commercial motor vehicle equipped with air brakes.

      If an applicant is planning to add certain CDL endorsements onto their commercial driver’s license, then the following will be added to the written exam:

  • 20 questions for the “Double/Triple Trailer” endorsement.
  • 20 questions for the “Tanker” endorsement.
  • 20 questions for the “Passenger” endorsement.
  • 20 questions for the “School Bus” endorsement.
  • 30 questions for the “Hazardous Materials” endorsement.

      In order to receive a passing score, the applicant must answer at least 80% of the questions correctly. If an applicant fails the basic knowledge test, they may retest as many times as they need to pass without paying any additional fees. However, all applicants must wait at least 24 hours before they can retest.

      Be sure to download and study the Kentucky Commercial Driver License Manual as it contains the information you need to pass the CDL knowledge tests, including some sample test questions.

      Our Free CDL Practice Tests will help prepare you for the actual CDL knowledge tests administered by the DMV.

      Click here to see a map and clickable list of Kentucky driver’s license branch locations that offer the CDL written tests.

Applying for a Kentucky Commercial Driver’s License

      In the state of Kentucky, all CDL applicants are required to undergo a background check for any warrants that may have been placed on that applicant. This is called a “hot file” check and is administered by the Kentucky state police. The hot file check is instantaneous and will not delay the applicant from receiving their CDL. The cost is $3.00 and is collected by the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. The local law enforcement agency will be notified if the CDL applicant comes up “hot” and a further investigation will be carried out.

      In the state of Kentucky, if you are applying for a Class B or Class C commercial driver’s license with “P” and “S” endorsements only, then you are not required to take the CDL Skills Test.

      In order to obtain a Kentucky commercial driver’s license, you must:

  • Possess a valid Kentucky commercial learner’s permit.
  • Possess a current Department of Transportation medical card.
  • Provide proof of vehicle insurance and vehicle registration (must be verified before you can take the test).
  • Provide a passenger with a valid Kentucky CDL to ride with you in your commercial vehicle to the test site.
  • Pass the CDL general knowledge test.
  • Pass the CDL Skills Test.
  • Pass the vision exam (FMSCA regulations requires applicants to have at least 20/40 vision in each eye).
  • Complete and submit the Kentucky Commercial Driver License Application.
  • Pay the skills testing fee of $50 (if the applicant has held a Kentucky operator license for 30 days or more).
  • Pay the skills testing fee of $150 (if the applicant has held a Kentucky operator license for less than 30 days).
  • Pay the $24 application fee for the commercial driver’s license ($9 for Class B/C with P & S endorsements only).
  • Pay the $40 fee for the commercial driver’s license.

The CDL Skills Test

      The CDL Skills Test consists of a Pre-trip inspection, a Basic Vehicle Control test, and an On-Road Driving test and must be taken in the same class and type of motor vehicle you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL.  If you take the CDL Skills Test in a commercial motor vehicle that is not equipped with air brakes, then you will have an air brakes restriction attached to your commercial driver’s license.

      All applicants must wait a minimum of ten days, after they receive their commercial learner’s permit, before they can contact the Kentucky state police to set up an appointment for the CDL Skills Test.

      The CDL Skills Test is a three part test and consists of the following:

  • Pre-trip Inspection: Before you can take the CDL driving tests, you will first be tested on your knowledge of the class of vehicle you plan on driving once you obtain your CDL. The Pre-trip inspection also determines if your commercial vehicle is safe enough to drive on public roads.
  • Skills Test: Before you can take the CDL Road Test, you will first need to prove that you have the skills to operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roads. This test consists of various off-road maneuvers such as backing up your vehicle. 
  • Road Test: Once you pass the first two tests, you will be required to drive your commercial vehicle on public roads in various traffic situations. You will be required to operate the same class of commercial vehicle you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL.

      The Road Test will be driven on a route that is predetermined by the examiner and will most likely include the following:

  • Left and right turns
  • Intersections
  • Railway crossings
  • Curves
  • Up grades
  • Down grades
  • Rural roads
  • Semi-rural roads
  • City streets
  • Multi-lane streets
  • Expressway driving
  • Merging into traffic
  • Lane changes
  • Changes in speed
  • Signaling
  • Searching for road hazards
  • Lane positioning
  • Controlling your speed

      The CDL Skills Test can be taken up to four times before the applicant is required to pay an additional $50 to retest. The combination air brake and endorsement tests require a $5 retest fee for each time the test is taken if you fail the first test.

Be sure to download and study the Kentucky Commercial Driver License Manual as it contains the information you need to pass the CDL Skills Test.

      Click here to see a map and clickable list of Kentucky CDL Skills Test sites (all CDL Skills Test sites are marked with a double asterisk).     

Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver’s License

      In order to apply for a commercial driver’s license, you must have a medical form completed by one of the following:

  • Licensed U.S. doctor of medicine (M.D.)
  • Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O)
  • Licensed physician assistant (P.A.)
  • Advanced practice registered nurse
  • Chiropractor

      The Medical Examiner’s Certificate must be dated within the previous two years and attached to the Medical Examination Report (Form 649-F). The Kentucky Division of Driver Licensing will only accept a Medical Examination Report (Form 649-F) that has been completed by a qualified physician who has been certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can search for a FMCSA certified physician by using the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

      The FMSCA requires you to have at least 20/40 vision in each eye and a field of vision of at least 140 degrees in order to be certified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Under certain conditions, you may be able to be waived from these requirements.

      You can submit your completed and signed Medical Examiner’s Certificate, Medical Examination Report (Form 649-F), and Kentucky Commercial Driver License Self-Certification Form by doing any of the following:

  • Fax your completed and signed documents to: (502) 564-3250
  • Scan and email your completed and signed documents in PDF format to: KYTC.CDL@ky.gov
  • Mail your completed and signed documents to:

                               Division of Driver Licensing 
                               200 Mero Street 
                               Frankfort, KY 40622

      Please include your name, address, and contact phone number on all mailings and faxes. Make sure your information is legible and be sure to double check and, if needed, correct any errors before submitting your documents. All CDL applicants are advised to keep copies of these documents for their own records. Failure to comply with state and federal self-certification regulations will result in a suspension, downgrade, or cancellation of your commercial driving privileges.

Hazmat Endorsement

      Any person that is applying for a Hazardous Materials CDL endorsement is required to undergo a federal background check and federal fingerprint check according to guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration. All applicants must also provide the required documents to verify their identification and legal U.S. status. For more information, check out the Transportation Security Administration’s F.A.Q. page.

      You can apply for the security threat assessment on the TSA Hazardous Material Endorsement Enrollment Website. You must begin applying at least 30 days before the expiration of your CDL. You can start the application process on the HTAP Online Application Website. To apply by phone call (855) 347-8371. Use the TSA Enrollment Center Locator to find the nearest TSA approved fingerprint office.

Military Drivers

      In the state of Kentucky, if you are currently serving in the military or have been honorably discharged within the last 90 days, and you have driven military vehicles in the same class as the vehicle you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL with a 2 year safe driving record, then you may qualify for the waiver of the CDL Skills Test and may be exempt from taking the CDL Skills Test. You will still be required to take the written tests. Certain restrictions apply. Download, print, and complete the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver to start the process. 

Farm Related Services Restricted CDL

      In the state of Kentucky, employees of the following may qualify for a restricted commercial driver’s license:

  • Farm Retail Outlets
  • Suppliers
  • Agrichemical Business
  • Custom Harvesters
  • Livestock Feeders

      The farm related restricted CDL is valid for up to 60, 120, or 180 days in any 12 month period. The CDL holder may only operate a commercial motor vehicle within 150 miles of the land being serviced. The restricted CDL does not apply to any Class A vehicles transporting the following:

  • Fertilizer (within any organic substance)
  • Fuel
  • Gasoline
  • Pesticides
  • Propane

      For more details about the farm related restricted CDL, see your local Circuit Court Clerk.

Kentucky CDL Endorsements

      H      Placarded Hazmat      Required to transport hazardous materials under DOT regulations. 

      N      Tank Vehicles      Required to transport liquids in bulk containers of 1,000 gallons or more.

      X      Tanker/Hazardous Materials Combination   Required to transport hazardous materials in tank vehicles   

      T      Double/Triple Trailers      Indicates CDL holder is certified to operate multiple trailer haulers. 

      P     Passengers      Indicates the CDL holder is certified to operate passenger vehicles.

      S     School Bus      Indicates the CDL holder is authorized to operate a school bus. The “P” endorsement is also required.

Kentucky CDL Restrictions

      The following CDL restrictions are based on the driver passing the necessary commercial driver’s license written knowledge tests or CDL Skills Tests. The following restrictions may be added or removed from the commercial driver’s license: 

  • E – Automatic Transmission Commercial Motor Vehicle
  •  Vehicles not Equipped with Air Brakes
  •  Except Class A Bus
  • J – Except Class A and Class B Bus
  •  Vehicles other than Tractor Trailer 
  • I – Intrastate Driving Only

Important Kentucky Commercial Driver’s License Resources

Kentucky Commercial Driver License Manual
Kentucky CDL Practice Tests
Letter for First Time CDL Applicants
Kentucky Commercial Driver License Application TC 94-32
Kentucky Commercial Driver License Self-Certification Form TC 94-169
TSA HAZMAT Endorsement Threat Assessment Program F.A.Q.
TSA Application for a Hazardous Materials Endorsement
Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
Medical Examination Report Form 649-F
Medical Examiner’s Certificate
National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

     

      Check out our list of truck driving schools in Kentucky that will provide you with the necessary skills to obtain your commercial driver’s license and start your career in the exciting field of commercial truck driving! You may also want to check out our nationwide list of truck driving schools.

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Map of Kentucky CDL Test Sites

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 **The CDL Skills Test is available at this location.

Some CDL testing locations require you to set up an appointment. CDL testing hours may vary. Please call the testing location for more information.

 

Map of Kentucky CDL Test Sites

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**The CDL Skills Test is available at this location.

Some CDL testing locations require you to set up an appointment. CDL testing hours may vary. Please call the testing location for more information. 

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Kentucky CDL Requirements
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