Kentucky CDL Requirements

You must get an Kentucky commercial driver’s license (CDL) to be able to drive commercial vehicles in Kentucky. For Federal CDL Requirements applicable to every state, click here.

Kentucky adopted the Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, and is part of a nationally uniform system of classifying, testing, and licensing commercial vehicle drivers.

When is an Kentucky CDL Required

You need an Kentucky CDL when you operate the following vehicles:

CLASS A – Applies only to “combination” vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) more than 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Class A CDL (plus any appropriate endorsements) can also operate all vehicles included in Class B, C, and D (below)

CLASS B – Includes single or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being pulled must not be more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with an Kentucky Class B CDL (plus appropriate endorsements) can also legally operate all vehicles in Class C or D.

CLASS C – Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that meets neither the definition of Group A nor that of Group B as contained in this section, but that either is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F).

CLASS D – Private passenger, regular operator.

Kentucky CDL Age Requirements

You must be at least 18 years of age to drive within state lines (intrastate).

You must be at least 21 years old to:

  • drive commercial vehicles across state lines (interstate)
  • haul hazardous materials

How to Apply for an Kentucky CDL

See CDL Documentation and Identification Requirements for Kentucky here.

You must be either a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident to apply for a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), per 49 CFR 383.71.

When you apply for a CLP or CDL you must present documents of identification proving your identity, lawful status, Social Security number, and Kentucky residency.

How much does the Kentucky CDL cost?

The fees are as follows:

CDL application – $24 (except Class B/C with P & S endorsements only – $9)
CDL instruction permit – $11
Original CDL – up to $40 (prorated fees according to current operator’s expiration)
Renewal CDL – $47/Class B or C with P & S endorsements only – $32.00
Transfer CDL – $60; with motorcycle – $70.

Upgrades in Class

Class B or C to A – application, permit and license fees, for a total of $47 plus skill test fee, if applicable.
Class C to B – application, permit and license fees, for a total of $47 plus skill test fee, if applicable.
Add Endorsements/Drop Restrictions
$5 for tanker, doubles/triples, and hazardous materials. The new license will cost $12, for a total of $17.
The following license actions will require an application fee, CDL instruction permit fee, skills test fee and a new license fee, for a total of $97:
Add passenger endorsement;
Drop K restriction;
Drop O restriction; and
Drop J restriction
The following license action will require an application fee, a permit fee and license fee with a total cost of $32-$47, depending on class license wanted or held at the time of upgrade/add-on.
Add school bus endorsement

Wants and Warrants check for all CDL drivers
KRS 281A.300
All applicants for a CDL (original and renewal) are required to undergo a “hot file” check conducted by Kentucky State Police. The cost is $3.00 and will be collected by the Circuit Court Clerk’s office at the time of issuance. It will be an instantaneous check and will not delay the driver in receiving his/her CDL. If a “hit” occurs, a notice will be sent to the law enforcement agency that originated the warrant for further investigation.

Sources:
Official Kentucky CDL Manual
Kentucky DMV/DPS
FMSCA Guidelines