Commercial Driver FAQs in Kentucky
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Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding commercial vehicles, drivers, and licenses. If you don't find what you're looking for here, refer to the CDL Manual.
What kind of tests will I have to take to obtain my CDL?
You must first take a knowledge test that covers subjects such as vehicle control, inspection, and cargo. Next, you'll take a road test and pre-trip inspection, which are offered together in order to evaluate your ability to drive safely. You must provide your own vehicle for these tests. Finally, you'll take a basic control skills test to evaluate your basic vehicle control skills.
You will be required to retest for your hazmat endorsement when you renew your CDL, and also if you are new to Kentucky and haven't taken a hazmat endorsement test in two years. Additionally, you'll need a hazmat background check. This is done through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), though you get fingerprinted locally. The fee is $89.25.
If you voluntarily surrendered your CDL, you have one year to have it reissued at the Circuit Court Clerk's office without retesting; however, if your CDL is expired for one year, you must take the written tests again.
You must take all tests again if you're trying to get your CDL reinstated after being suspended for one year.
Refer to our Applying for a New CDL section for details about endorsement testing.
How much will it cost to upgrade my license class?
Whether you're going from a class B or C to an A, or from a class C to a B, the total fee will be $47. This includes the fees for the application, permit, and license.
What are the CDL restrictions?
- I―Intrastate driving only
- K―Vehicles not equipped/air brakes
- S―School bus, mass transit, or non-profit
- L―Except Class A bus
- J―Except Class A and B bus
- O―Vehicles other than tractor trailers
How much will it cost to add endorsements and drop restrictions?
You'll pay a total of $17 ($5 for the endorsement and $12 for the new license) if you want to add a tanker, double/triple, or hazmat endorsement.
You'll pay a total of $47 if you want to add a passenger endorsement or drop a K, L, O, or J restriction.
What is the new school bus endorsement?
Per the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act (MCSIA), the school bus endorsement requires school bus drivers to obtain an "S" endorsement on their license and to take special written and road tests; however, those drivers who have been operating school buses for quite some time may be exempt from the road test. To apply for exemption, contact the Kentucky Division of Driver Licensing at
- ATTN: CDL Section
- Division of Driver Licensing
- 200 Mero St.
- Frankfort, KY 40622
Can I have multiple licenses?
No, and if you try you risk being fined $5,000 and/or going to jail. The Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) prevents drivers from obtaining multiple and fraudulent licenses.
I was ticketed for a traffic violation last week. What do I need to do?
When you're convicted of any traffic violation (except for a parking violation), you are required to notify both your employer and your motor vehicle license agency within 30 days of the conviction.
I work for a livestock feeder. Are there special CDLs for people like me?
Of sorts. There is a restricted CDL available for people who work in farm-related services. This includes farm retail outlets and suppliers, agrochemical businesses, custom harvesters, and livestock feeders such as yourself.
During one 12-month period, you can hold this license for 60, 120, or 180 days and it's only legal within 150 miles of the land on which you're working. Contact your local Circuit Court Clerk's office for more details.
Can I get a medical waiver?
Perhaps. To apply for a medical waiver, contact your local Circuit Court Clerk's office or the DDL office in Frankfort. You'll need to request a medical waiver packet. The decision as to whether or not you receive the waiver will be based on the request form (included in the packet), your physical, and your driving history.
If you're granted the waiver, you'll be required to submit to medical updates periodically. You'll be sent the update forms in the mail and will have 45 days to complete and send them back to the DDL; if you fail to do so, your medical waiver and commercial driving privileges will be canceled until the DDL receives the information.
See the KY Vehicle Code for more information about the medical waiver.
Can a CDL be suspended just like a regular driver license?
It sure can, for anywhere from 24 hours to life. The following violations could result in suspension:
- Driving a commercial vehicle with any amount of alcohol or other drug in your system
- Obtaining two serious moving violations in three years
- Providing incorrect information in order to obtain an original or duplicate CDL or permit
- Driving a commercial vehicle while out of service
- Three serious moving violations in three years
- First conviction of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04% or greater, or under the influence of another drug
- First conviction of leaving a traffic accident scene
- First conviction of using the commercial vehicle in commission of a felony
- First conviction of refusing to submit to blood, urine, or breath testing
- Committing any of the one-year suspension violations while carrying hazardous materials
- Second conviction of any of the one-year suspension violations
What is this "hot file" check I keep hearing about?
All CDL holders are required to go through a "hot file" check in order to determine whether the CDL applicant or holder has any outstanding warrants. The fee is $3 and the check won't delay the application or renewal process as it is immediate. Read up on the details.
Are there any forms available online besides the CDL and hazmat applications?
Yes. The Kentucky DDL provides several applications and forms online, and they can be viewed as E-forms (downloadable to your hard drive) or I-forms (for viewing online only). For more information about these form types, as well as a number of the forms themselves, visit the DDL Forms Library. Also find a selection of motor carrier forms.
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We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.