KSP Banner KSP Banner

Driver Testing Branch CDL Frequently Asked Questions

This page features a number of common frequently asked questions we receive at the Kentucky State Police Driver Testing Branch.  If you have a question and cannot find the answer to it on this page, please feel free to contact us for the answer by clicking here.

Q. Do I need a CDL?


  1. If the manufacturer's weight rating (GVWR/GCWR) of your power unit is 26,001 pounds or greater and you pull something 10,001 or greater you need a class "A" CDL.
  2. If the manufacturer's weight rating (GVWR) of your single vehicle is 26,001 pounds or greater you need a class "B" CDL.
  3. If your vehicle is designed to carry 16 or more persons to include the driver, that meets neither the definition of a group A or group B vehicle, You need a class "C" CDL.
  4. Does your vehicle carry placarded hazardous materials? If the answer is yes you need a class "C" CDL. This applies to a vehicle with a manufacturer's weight rating that is less than 26,001 pounds. Any single vehicle having a GVWR over 26,001 would require a class "B" license, a class "A" would be required if you attach a trailer with a GVWR greater than 10,000 lbs. A class "C" CDL for example would be required for a car transporting medical oxygen cylinders for home deliveries because it would be required to be placarded.

Q. Do farmers need a CDL to operate a vehicle 26,001 pounds or greater pulling something 10,001 pounds or greater? Or driving a vehicle 26,001 pounds or greater with no trailer?

A. No, not as long as the use is inside the Commonwealth of Kentucky or is within 150 miles of your farm if you have entered another state and the use is farm related.

Q. Do firefighters need a CDL?

A. No, not to operate emergency vehicles for official use.

Q. Do you have to have a CDL to operate a military vehicle?

A. No, as long as you are in the military and you are operating a military vehicle during the course of your duty.

Q. Do you need a CDL to operate a recreational vehicle?.

A. No.

Q. What are the steps to get my CDL?


Effective January 30, 2012, Federal Motor Carrier's Safety Regulation 49 CFR 383.71 requires all CDL holders/applicants to have a valid DOT medical card on file with the Division of Driver Licensing in order to obtain/retain a valid CDL license/permit. CDL holders/applicants must provide a legible copy of both front and back of the medical card. Also, prior to the issuance of an original, renewal or upgrade CDL/CLP all CDL holders/applicants must self certify as to what type driving they are operating in or expect to operate in by completing TC 94-169, Commercial Driver License Self Certification form. The above information must be forwarded to the Division of Driver Licensing and posted to the driver's CDLIS record prior to applying for issuance of a CDL/ CLP at the circuit court clerk's office.

The Commercial Driver Licensing application and the Self Certification form are accessible from the DDL website: http://transportation.ky.gov/Organizational-Resources/Pages/Forms-Library.aspx?Department=Driver Licensing

A CDL holder/applicant must forward the required information to the Division of Driver Licensing using one of three methods available. The information may be mailed to Division of Driver Licensing, 200 Mero St., Frankfort, KY 40622, or faxed to 502-564-3250 or scanned and emailed to KYTC.CDL@KY.gov. All CDL holders/applicants will receive written notification when the information has posted to their CDLIS record. Once the driver/applicant has received written notification of their approval they can proceed to the circuit court clerk's office to begin/complete the issuance process.

All applicants will be required to successfully pass a knowledge test either in written or oral form, and a vision test. A CDL instruction permit will then be issued that is valid for six (6) months. You may schedule a road skills test with Kentucky State Police 10 days after the permit has been issued. A permit may only be renewed once in the two (2) year period. If you do not successfully pass the road skills test by the expiration of your CDL instruction permit renewal, you will need to reapply. All fees and written tests will be required prior to a new permit being issued.

Step 1: Go to your local Circuit Clerks Office or visit online and obtain the required forms
TC 94-169 Commercial Drivers License Self Certification form, TC 94-32 Commercial Drivers License Application, and TC 94-35 Medical Examination Report – For Commercial Driver Fitness Determination.

Step 2: Go to a qualified physician and receive a DOT Physical Examination.

Step 3: Submit copies of your medical card and self certification form to DDL.

Step 4: Once you receive your written notification in the mail that all information has been received and posted, return to your local Circuit Clerks Office for processing.

Step 5: Study and take your written test(s) The Commercial Drivers License Manual is available online to help you study for the tests. A copy may also be printed for your convenience from the online website. http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/dt/index.html

Step 6: Receive your permit and practice your driving skills,

Step 7: After you have had your permit for 14 days, schedule your road test appointment by calling 1-800-542-5990.

Step 8: Successfully complete your road test and return to your local Circuit Clerks Office for issuance of your Commercial Drivers License.

Q. How long is my CDL valid?

A. Commercial Drivers Licenses are valid for 4 years and remain valid as long as you keep renewing it. Each time you renew your CDL you will have to show the Circuit Court Clerk a valid DOT Medical Card. If you have a hazardous materials endorsement, you will be required to be fingerprinted and take the written exam prior to renewing your CDL license with a hazmat endorsement.

Q. How long is my DOT Medical Card valid?

A. Two years. But, a doctor can make it valid for a lesser period of time. If you have a medical condition that the doctor determines should be monitored sooner than every two years.

Q. How many times can I take my written CDL test?

A. As many times as you need, but only once per day

Q. How many times can I take my CDL Road Test?

A. When you pay for your CDL Permit you get four (4) CDL Road Tests. If you need more than four (4) attempts to obtain your license, you will have to pay $50.00 in the form of a money order or cashier's check to the Kentucky State Treasure. The check will need to be mailed to

Kentucky State Police
Driver Testing Branch
1250 Louisville Road
Frankfort, KY 40601

Q. Do I need to provide my own vehicle for a road skills test?

A. Yes.

Q. Does the weight on my vehicle tag matter as far as the driver needing a CDL?

A. No, the weight on the tag is not the weight that determines if you need a CDL. The weight is the GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This weight is determined by the manufacturer of the vehicle or trailer. GVWR and GCWR are normally determined by checking the vehicle manufacture's identification plate, usually located inside of the driver's side door or on the header board or tongue of the trailer.

**For buses, the plate may be located inside of the passenger door or to the left of the driver's seat.

Q. Do I need a CDL license if the vehicle has Air Brakes?

A. Air Brakes do not determine whether or not the vehicle requires a CDL to drive it. Only the GVWR of the vehicle determines that.

Q. Can I drive a CDL vehicle by myself as a CDL permit holder?

A. No, you must have a CDL Licensed driver, at least 21 yrs of age with you that has the type CDL you are attempting to attain. Example: If you have a Class A CDL Permit then your passenger must have a Class A CDL License. If you have a Class B CDL Permit you must have a Class B Licensed passenger or a Class A licensed passenger with you. (Your passenger can have a higher class CDL License than you are attempting to obtain but not a lower level CDL). If the vehicle you are driving requires an endorsement such as school bus or passenger, then your licensed driver must have those endorsements also.