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Commercial Driver License (CDL) Suspensions in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) closely follows federal regulations when it comes to enforcing CDL laws.
A loss of your CDL privileges is most often executed through disqualifications. If you drive a commercial motor vehicle for a living, a disqualification of your CDL privileges can be devastating.
Read more to learn all about CDL suspensions, hearings, and reinstatement in Kentucky.
Rules for Kentucky CDL suspensions can differ from the standard driver’s license rules. In fact, most regulations are harsher for commercial drivers.
Offenses leading to CDL disqualifications are categorized into the following:
- Major offenses.
- Serious traffic violations.
- Railroad-highway grade crossing offenses.
- Violations of out-of-service orders.
NOTE: If you are convicted of a traffic conviction, regardless of vehicle type, you must tell your motor vehicle licensing agency within 30 days. (This does not apply to parking violations.)
In Kentucky, the following constitute major offenses*:
- Alcohol- and drug-related offenses, such as:
- Driving your commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher.
- Refusing a test to determine your BAC (i.e. violating implied consent).
- Fleeing the scene of an accident.
- Using the CMV to commit a felony, including the manufacturing and distributing of a controlled substance.
- Causing a fatality because of negligent CMV operation.
- Operating a CMV while you have a disqualified, suspended, or revoked commercial driver’s license.
If you commit a major offense, you face the following disqualifications:
- 1st violation: 1 year.
- 3 years if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time.
- 2nd violation: Lifetime disqualification.
* Major offenses can lead to CDL disqualification whether you commit them in a commercial vehicle or a non-CMV.
Serious Traffic Violations
Kentucky and federal law define the following as serious traffic violations:
- Excessive speeding (15 mph over the speed limit) or reckless driving.
- Making improper lane changes.
- Following vehicles too closely.
- Violating any motor vehicle traffic control law (other than a parking violation) that results in a fatal accident.
- Operating a commercial vehicle without a valid CDL or the proper CDL endorsements.
Your CDL will be disqualified after your:
- 2nd violation within 3 years: for 60 days.
- Your disqualification is subject to an administrative hearing where you may be able to contest the disqualification.
- 3rd violation within 3 years: for 120 days.
Railroad Crossing Violations
Railroad Highway Grade Crossingviolations refer to offenses made when crossing a railroad in your CMV.
Railroad violations include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to slow down and check that the tracks are clear.
- Failing to stop when required.
- Driving across the tracks when you don’t have enough space or clearance.
You face the following CDL disqualification penalties for railroad crossing violations:
- 1st violation: At least 60 days.
- 2nd violation within 3 years: At least 120 days.
- 3rd violation and any subsequent violations within 3 years: At least 1 year.
If you violate an out-of-service order, your CDL can be disqualified as follows:
- 1st violation in 10 years: Minimum 90 days.
- 2nd violation in 10 years: Minimum 1 year.
- 3rd violation or subsequent violations in 10 years: Minimum 3 years.
NOTE: For any violation, you are subject to additional fines and penalties imposed by the court.
Check Your License Status
If you are concerned about your CDL status, or even if you just want to view your driving history, you can check your Kentucky driving record.
Your driving record is an account of your driving history, which will show any tickets, accidents, suspensions, DMV points, etc.
Because your CDL is vital to your career, it’s a great idea to check your Kentucky driving record periodically.
It is illegal for you to have any detectable amount of alcohol in your blood, breath, or urine when you are operating a commercial vehicle in Kentucky. If you test for alcohol – even if it’s below the legal limit – you will be given an out-of-service order for 24 hours.
Your CDL will be disqualified for any alcohol-related offenses outlined for standard driver’s license suspensions in Kentucky while driving a non-commercial vehicle.
Additionally, CDL carriers must adhere to stricter rules while operating a commercial vehicle. Your KY commercial driver’s license will be disqualified if you:
- Test for blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over the CDL legal limit (0.04%), regardless of a criminal court conviction.
- Refuse to test for BAC.
- Are criminally convicted for DUI.
You may also face other court-mandated penalties and fines.
In order to reinstate your commercial driving privileges, you must wait for your disqualification period to end.
Once you’re eligible to reinstate your KY CDL, you may have to retest for a new one.
If your commercial driver’s license has been disqualified for 1 year or more, you must take all CDL application tests. For more information, read our page about applying for a new CDL.
For more information about your CDL reinstatement, contact the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet:
- By phone at (502) 564-1257.
- In person at any licensing office.