How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Kentucky
The Kentucky CDL, or commercial drivers license, requirements and procedures are overseen by the Transportation Cabinet (KTC). Drivers in Kentucky can submit an application for a CDL license in person or online after meeting all of the state’s eligibility requirements. To be found eligible, drivers must be of a certain age, be able to provide the necessary application materials and pass the state driving exams for the class of vehicle for the license being issued.
All Kentucky drivers applying for the CDL must first receive their commercial permits, allowing them to practice driving vehicles in the applicable class before having to take the driving skills exam. Once a driver has held his or her permit for the required length of time, he or she can move forward in the commercial license application process. Drivers can apply to receive special endorsements to have permission to operate specific types of vehicles or carry some types of goods or people. Processing fees apply to all requests.
CDL Requirements in Kentucky
CDL license requirements in Kentucky restrict access to commercial licenses for drivers who are at least 18 years of age. Other important CDL requirements that all KY drivers must comply with include the following:
- Possess a Class D Kentucky driver’s license
- Provide proof of full name, date of birth and Social Security Number (SSN)
- Hold a CLP for the necessary length of time
- Ten-Year History Survey Request
- Completed medical certificate
- Pass vision screening
- Pass all necessary written knowledge tests
- Pass all necessary driving skills exams
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Kentucky
All Kentucky drivers must receive a CDL permit before they are granted permission to apply for a full commercial license. The CDL learners permit is issued when the driver submits all of the abovementioned application materials to the KTC. This initial request can be sent in online, through the state’s “MyCDL” web portal, or brought to a local licensing agency nearby.
All applicants will have to visit a Kentucky State Police licensing office to take the required written knowledge exams and receive the permit.
CDL permit rules in Kentucky state that drivers must earn a permit before receiving a full license, because it gives drivers the opportunity to practice driving vehicles in the appropriate class under the supervision of experienced instructors. Commercial permits are valid for six months, once issued, and can be renewed once.
CDL Written Test in Kentucky
All Kentucky candidates for a commercial license must take the CDL general knowledge exam under the supervision of the KY State Police at a local exam station. This CDL written exam consists of 50 questions that cover several topics, including vehicle operation, maintenance and inspection.
Drivers applying for certain classes or endorsements may have to take any of the following exams:
- Combination Vehicles: For applicants for Class A license
- Air Brakes: For applicants driving vehicles with air brakes
- Doubles/Triples Endorsement
- Tanker Endorsement
- Passenger Endorsement
- Hazmat Endorsement
- School Bus Endorsement
Kentucky CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
The KTC recommends CDL training for all drivers before attempting to take the commercial driving skills exam, though it is not required. Useful CDL prep can also be done with the Commercial Driver License Manual, issued in collaboration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Interested drivers can also enroll in any of a number of private education programs available at training centers around the state in order to gain more hands-on experience with the help of an experienced instructor.
How to Get a CDL License in Kentucky
How to get a CDL in Kentucky begins by gathering and completing the necessary paperwork and supporting material for a complete application. In Kentucky, you can take the following steps to apply for CDL credentials:
- Visit your local Circuit Clerks Office or the MyCDL web portal to obtain the required forms: Commercial Drivers License Self Certification (form TC 94-169), Commercial Drivers License Application (TC 94-32), and Medical Examination Report – For Commercial Driver Fitness Determination (form TC 94-35)
- See a qualified doctor to have your DOT physical exam
- Submit the CDL application material and medical certificate to the KY Division of Driver Licensing (DDL) online, by email to CDL@KY.gov, by fax to 502-564-3250 or by mail to the below address:
Division of Driver Licensing 200 Mero St., Frankfort Kentucky, 40622
- Upon receiving written notification in the mail that your information has been received, you must return to your local Circuit Clerks Office to complete the remainder of the process
- Take your written knowledge exams
- Keep your commercial permit for at least two weeks before scheduling your appointment to take the driving skills exam by calling 800-542-5990
- Take the necessary road exams. If you pass, you can receive your commercial license
CDL Driving Test in Kentucky
When taking the CDL test in Kentucky, commercial drivers are required to provide their own vehicles in the same class as the license being requested. The purpose of the CDL driving test is to ensure that the driver knows how to safely operate and maintain his or her vehicle in a variety of situations. The basic Kentucky exam consists of three main parts:
- The pre-trip vehicle inspection test
- The control skills test (maneuvers around obstacles, backing skills, etc.)
- The road skills test (in traffic with examiner)
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Kentucky
Kentucky residents may be able to qualify for a military CDL if they are currently in the military or recently left the armed forces within the last year. This CDL for veterans and active-duty military personnel allows for eligible drivers to waive the final road skills exam and receive a commercial license immediately after passing the necessary knowledge exams and vision test.
To receive this waiver, drivers will have to demonstrate having adequate experience with applicable vehicles while in the service.
CDL Medical Exams in Kentucky
A CDL medical exam must be completed by most first-time and transfer applicants to receive a commercial license in Kentucky. The CDL physical must be completed by a qualified physician that can testify to the health status of the driver and his or her ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. The completed medical certificate can be submitted to the DDL online, by mail or in-person.
Types of CDL Classes in Kentucky
Commercial drivers in Kentucky can apply for three types of CDL classes: A Class A license, Class B license or Class C license. The Class A CDL is valid for any combination of vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR ) of 26,001 pounds or more.
The Class B CDL is used by drivers of straight trucks and vehicles with two or more axels and a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, in addition to passenger vehicles carrying 16 or more people. The Class C CDL is reserved for drivers of vehicles with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds that are used to transport 16 or more people or hazardous materials.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Kentucky
The KTC offers five different CDL endorsements that commercial drivers in Kentucky can add to their licenses if they can pass the additional testing requirements. Eligibility requirements and application procedures vary for each endorsement. The endorsements available in Kentucky are:
- T: Double/triple Trailer Endorsement
- P: Passenger Endorsement
- N: Tanker Endorsement
- H: Hazmat Endorsement
- S: School Bus Endorsement
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Kentucky
Intrastate and interstate CDL licenses are the two broad categories of commercial licenses available to drivers resident in Kentucky. An intrastate license restricts the driver to transporting people or goods within state boundaries. An interstate license is more open, allowing for the driver to cross state boundaries and transport goods and services not originating in Kentucky wherever necessary. KY drivers must declare which type of license they want when submitting their applications.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Kentucky
The CDL license cost in Kentucky varies significantly, based on the driver and license category of the service being rendered. Drivers must pay for the initial CDL permit cost, and possibly any of the following sampling of additional commercial license fees charged by the KTC:
- Standard commercial permit (valid for 180 days): $11
- Skills testing fee: $50 ($150 for first-time holders of a KY license)
- Original CDL: $40 (prorated fees according to current operator’s expiration)
- Renewal CDL: $47
- Transfer CDL: $60
- Transfer CDL with motorcycle: $70
- Voluntary travel ID commercial permit (valid for 180 days): $14
- Application fee: $24
- S endorsement application fee: $9
- Standard renewal operator/CDL: $88
- Voluntary travel ID renewal operator/CDL: $93
- Standard renewal operator/motorcycle/CDL: $98
- Voluntary travel ID renewal operator/motorcycle/CDL: $103
Kentucky CDL Forms
- CDL Application
- CDL Self-Certification Application
- National Hazardous Materials Endorsement Application
Note: DMV forms change regularly. The forms provided above are current based on the date of writing.
- Commercial Drivers License (CDL) from KY.gov
- New Pricing for Typical CDLs from KY.gov
- Commercial Driver License Manual from KSPonline.org