Commercial Driver FAQs in Kansas

What vehicles am I allowed to drive with my CDL?

It depends on what class license you hold. Also, much of what you may drive or transport has to do with the endorsements on your CDL. Here's a breakdown:

  • Class A CDL: Allows you to drive any combination of vehicles with a combined GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, if the GVWR of the vehicle or vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs.
  • Class B CDL: Allows you to drive a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, or any such vehicle with a trailer with a GVWR of no more than 10,000 lbs.
  • Class C CDL: Allows you to drive any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 passengers or more, including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials.

If you want to drive other types of commercial vehicles, you will be required to hold separate endorsements for the vehicle or cargo type. Here's a list of the vehicles and cargo that require endorsements, with the endorsement letter following each vehicle type:

  • Bulk liquid tankers (N)
  • Doubles/triples (T)
  • Passenger buses (P)
  • School buses (S)
  • Hazmat cargo, regardless of vehicle size (H)

Also, if you want to drive a vehicle with air brakes, you must take an air brakes written knowledge test and you must use a vehicle equipped with air brakes for your road test.

I'm interviewing next week at a construction company that builds roads and clears land. Will I need a CDL to work for them?

That depends on exactly what work you will be doing. If you will be trained to drive heavy equipment such as a water truck, a front loader, a grader or a rock truck, then it might surprise you to learn that you do not need a CDL. Those vehicles are never driven on public roads; they must be towed to and from the job sites and it is illegal for them to traverse public thoroughfares.

However, if you are being hired to drive a dump truck or a cement mixer or any type of construction vehicle that is required to be driven on public roads, streets or highways, you will need a CDL. Ask your foreman or the HR department if you are hired. Oh, and best of luck on your interview!

I'm training to be a school bus driver. Besides a CDL and a lot of patience, what else will I need?

Along with your Class A commercial license, you will need a "P" (passenger} endorsement, plus the separate "S" endorsement in order to be allowed to drive a school bus. The "S" Endorsement Study Manual will go over all the details you'll need to know before you take your "S" endorsement test.

I want to drive a truck and go over the road. I'm 19 now; can I get my CDL?

You are eligible to apply for a CDL at the age of 18 years old in Kansas. However, until you're 21 years old, you may drive a commercial vehicle within the state of Kansas only. If by over-the-road you mean cross-country type trucking, then you must be at least 21 years old.

I have my CDL and have been offered a job hauling milk in one of those new tankers with baffles. Do I still need an endorsement?

Yes, you will need a tank endorsement to drive a tanker, even if the tanker is fitted with a baffle system. Baffles may help slow down the movement of the liquid, but tankers still have differences, and you must be trained properly to drive them. Check a copy of the Commercial Driver's License Manual for more details.

My parents are thinking about getting one of those huge RVs for travel. Will either of them need a CDL? What if they want to share the driving? They are both very capable drivers.

It varies according to the weight of the vehicle. If the RV weighs enough to be considered a commercial motor vehicle, your parents will need CDLs (refer to the first question/answer on this page for weights). Otherwise, they may drive the RV with their regular driver's licenses.

I just moved to Kansas and I have a CDL from my home state. Do I need a CDL from Kansas, too, or can I use the one I have?

Federal law states that you may hold only one driver's license of any type, at any one time. Kansas law states that you must surrender your out-of-state CDL within 30 days of your arrival in Kansas. So yes, you will have to get a Kansas CDL, and surrender your out-of-state CDL within 30 days of moving here.

I understand that the rules for drinking and driving a commercial vehicle are stricter than for a private car. Is that correct?

Yes, they are. If your are stopped by law enforcement and found to have a blood alcohol level of more than 0.04% and you are driving a commercial vehicle, you will be arrested for DUI. The mandatory suspension times vary, depending on how many convictions you've had. They are:

  • A suspension of your CDL for at least 60 days if you have committed 2 violations within a period of 3 years involving a commercial vehicle
  • A suspension of your CDL for at least 120 days for 3 violations (and subsequent violations) within 3 years
  • A suspension of your CDL for 1 year for your 1st DUI offense
  • A suspension of your CDL for life for your 2nd DUI offense

So, as you can see, drinking/drugs and driving, especially with a CDL, is not taken lightly at all in Kansas.

Be careful with even very small amounts of alcohol if you are thinking of driving afterwards; in Kansas if you are stopped and tested and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, you will be put out of service for the next 24 hours. While this is not an arrest, it is a legal order not to drive and could result in missed deadlines and connections.

I received a speeding ticket. How long do I have to notify my employer?

You have 30 days in which to notify your employer of any traffic violation convictions, except parking violations. If you are ticketed and subsequently convicted of a moving violation outside of Kansas, you are required to notify the Kansas DMV within 30 days. You are also required to notify your employer if your license is canceled, suspended, or revoked, or if you are disqualified from driving for any other reason, such as medical issues.

If I only drive truck part-time and work for my uncle, do I still need a CDL?

Yes, you do. No matter what, if you drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) you must hold a CDL. If you are caught driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL, you could be fined or even taken into custody. Talk to you uncle about getting some formal commercial driver education for you so that you can drive for him legally.

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