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Kentucky CDL License Test

KENTUCKY TRUCK DRIVER TRAINING

Commercial Drivers License
2021 CDL License TEST Requirements
Home Study Course
For Tests Beginning September 1, 2021

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DO I HAVE TO PASS ANY EXAMS TO GET A KENTUCKY CDL?

Yes . . . You will have to pass written exams and skills exams. Just how many exams you will have to take and pass will depend upon the type(s) of commercial vehicles you will be driving and what type of "cargo" you will be transporting.

WHAT ARE THE KENTUCKY CDL WRITTEN EXAMS?

The "written" exams consist of the knowledge portion of your Kentucky CDL exams. There are seven different written exams. Which ones you will be required to take and pass depends upon the type of commercial vehicle that you will be driving. A description of these written exams follows . . .

  • General Knowledge Test . . . Must be taken and passed by ALL CDL applicants no matter what Class of CDL or Type of Endorsement(s) are needed. You WILL take this written test. You WILL pass this written test if you are to obtain a CDL.
  • Air Brakes Test . . . Must be taken and passed if any vehicle you drive has air brakes.
  • Combination Vehicles Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you drive combination vehicles requiring a Class "A" CDL.
  • Passenger Transport (P) Test . . . Must be taken and passed by all bus driver applicants. An additional written test may be required if transporting children to and from school.
  • Hazardous Materials (H) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you transport hazardous materials requiring "placarding".
  • Tank Vehicles (N) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you drive a "tank" with a capacity of more than 1000 gallons.
  • Doubles & Triples (T) Test . . . Must be taken and passed if you pull double or triple trailers.
WHAT ARE THE KENTUCKY CDL SKILLS EXAMS?

The "skills" exams consist of the practical portion of your Kentucky CDL exams. They consist of three parts as follows . . .

  • Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test . . . You will be tested to see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to drive. The examiner will score each item that you correctly inspect and explain.
  • Basic Vehicle Control Test . . . You will be tested on your basic skills in controlling the vehicle . . . including moving your vehicle forward, backward, and turning within a defined area. You will be scored on how well you stay within the exercise boundaries and how many pull-ups you make.
  • On-Road Test . . . You will be tested on your skill to safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations.

The skills exams are taken in the same "type" vehicle that you will be licensed in.

AFTER I PASS ALL OF MY CDL EXAMS . . . THEN WHAT?

You can apply for your CDL. You must provide proof that you possess a valid DOT medical certificate (you will need to get a physical in accordance with MCSR 49 CFR 391.41. . . . the medical forms are included with the CDL Course package), fill out the forms, provide documentation, and pay the appropriate fees.

HOW DO I FIND SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR Kentucky?

We are including the following links to information that is specific to Kentucky. We try to include all available official links, however the State of Kentucky often change their webpages and/or the addressing of those webpages. We constantly update these links, but from time to time they are not available due to recent changes. If you are having problems with any of these links, try typing "Kentucky Official Website" into your Google, Bing or Yahoo search engine and you should be able to find your "starting point" on their website. You should be able to find the Commercial Drivers License information by typing in "CDL" into their internal search (if available) or by following the Drivers License Services links within their website. This is a great source of Kentucky regulations, forms, locations, contacts, etc.

Quickly Access Official Kentucky CDL Information

Kentucky CDL Information
Access to official web pages maintained
by the State of Kentucky
Applying for a Kentucky 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. Effective May 21, 2014 all CDL holders must be medically certified by a Certified Medical Examiner on the National Registry for Certified Medical Examiners. 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.

Also, 49 CFR 384.206 mandates new CDL applicants, renewals, upgrades and CDL transfers to complete a commercial driver license application 10 year history survey. Drivers/applicants must provide a list of all states in which they held a license to operate any type vehicle in the previous 10 years. Failure to disclose the required information subjects the applicant to a possible 60 (sixty) day suspension for falsifying an application.

If you are not a U.S. citizen/permanent resident, you are not eligible to apply for a commercial learner permit or commercial license.

The Commercial Driver Licensing application and the Self Certification form are accessible from the DDL website. 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 Kentucky 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.

A supply of the Kentucky CDL applications and Self Certification forms may be obtained from the Administrative Support Branch at 502-564-1257.

All applicants will be required to successfully pass a knowledge test either in written or oral form, and a vision test. A Kentucky CDL instruction permit will then be issued that is valid for six (6) months. After the Kentucky CDL permit is issued, applicants must wait 14 days before the test is administered. Applicants must call Kentucky State Police to schedule a skill test appointment. 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 Kentucky CDL instruction permit renewal, you will need to reapply. All fees and written/vision tests will be required prior to a new permit being issued.

Kentucky Written Skill Test Fees for Kentucky CDL Permits

If applying for a Kentucky Class B or C with P & S endorsements only, the application fee will be $9 and there will be no skill test fee required. For all others, the application fee will be $24. Effective September 5, 2006 the new skill test fees for Kentucky CDL permits, as mandated by House Bill 707, was implemented. HB 707 directs that the skill test fees collected will be placed in the Kentucky State Police CDL skill testing trust fund, and will be used by the State Police to contract with and train civilian Kentucky CDL skills examiners and to improve the logistics of the Kentucky CDL skills testing process. It applies only to original Kentucky CDL permits and will not be levied against duplicate or renewal permits.
  • At the time of issuance of a Kentucky CDL permit requiring a skills test, a driver who has held a Kentucky operator license for 30 days or longer will pay a skills testing fee of fifty dollars ($50) in addition to the eleven dollar ($11) CDL permit fee.
  • At the time of issuance of a Kentucky CDL permit requiring a skill test to a driver who has held a Kentucky operator license for less than 30 days, a skill testing fee of one hundred fifty dollars ($150) in addition to the $11 Kentucky CDL will be collected.

What's on the Kentucky CDL Knowledge Test?

The Kentucky State Police will give the knowledge test at the local exam stations. Please check with your local Circuit Court Clerk regarding the days and times the examiner will be available.

The knowledge test consists of 50 questions covering a broad range of subjects, including vehicle operations under all kinds of conditions, cargo handling, and vehicle inspection.

The vision test is required whenever the driver takes a written test.

All tests are given in English. No translator is allowed.

Additional knowledge must be shown in the following areas:
  • Applicants for Kentucky Class A license - 20 questions on combination vehicles.
  • Applicants driving vehicles with air brakes - 25 questions on air brakes.

Endorsements are required for the following vehicles:
  • Double/triple trailer - 20 questions
  • Tanker - 20 questions
  • Passenger transport - 20 questions
  • Hazardous materials hauling - 30 questions
  • School Bus - 20 questions
For each test, 80 percent of the questions must be answered correctly to pass. Failure to show basic knowledge of an air brake system will result in a license restriction limiting the driver to operating a vehicle without an air brake system. Applicants may take the basic knowledge test indefinitely without paying retest fees. However, if the applicant fails, the applicant must wait 24 hours prior to re-testing. The skills test may be taken up to 4 times on the 1st $50 skills test fee. An additional $50 will be required if a 5th test is required. The combination, airbrake, and endorsement tests require a $5 re-test fee for each time taken after the initial failure.

Kentucky CDL Re-Testing

Applicants must re-test for the hazardous materials endorsement at renewal of the Kentucky CDL if it has been more than 2 years since the last test. If transferring into Kentucky an applicant must test in order to keep a hazardous material endorsement. If a Kentucky CDL driver surrenders his commercial driving privileges, he has a year to return to the clerk's office and be re-issued the Kentucky CDL without re-testing.

If the Kentucky CDL is ever expired for one (1) year or more, the written/vision tests must be taken prior to a new license being issued. An application fee will be charged. If applying for a Kentucky CDL reinstatement, and the commercial privilege has been suspended for one (1) year or more, all tests are required.

What does the Kentucky road test cover?

Drivers will be required to take this test in the class of vehicle they intend to drive. The test includes a pre-trip inspection, off-road maneuvering, and on-road driving test. The applicant will be required to furnish a vehicle for testing.

After the Kentucky CDL permit is issued, applicants must wait 14 days before the skill test is administered. Applicants must call Kentcky State Police to schedule a skill test appointment. If you passed the written test for air brakes, you will need to skills test in an air brake vehicle, otherwise, you will receive an L restriction.

Kentucky CDL Pre-trip Inspection
Purpose: To see if you know the vehicle is safe to drive.

Test Procedure: You may be asked to do a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle or to explain to the examiner what you would inspect and why. The examiner will mark on a scoring form each time that you correctly inspect or explain.

A manual explaining what you need to inspect is available through the Kentucky State Police or the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Division of Drivers Licensing website.

Kentucky CDL Basic Control Skills Test

Purpose: To evaluate your basic skills in controlling the vehicle.

Setup: The test setup consists of various exercises marked out by lines, traffic cones, or something similar. The exercises may include moving the vehicle forward, backward, and turning maneuvers.

The examiner will explain to you how each exercise is to be done. You will be scored on how well you stay within the exercise boundaries and how many pull-ups you make.

Kentucky CDL Road Test

Purpose: To evaluate your ability to drive safely in a variety of on-the-road situations.

Test Procedures: The test drive is taken over a route specified by the examiner. It may include left and right turns, intersections, railway crossings, curves, up and down grades, rural or semi-rural roads, city and multi-lane streets, and expressway driving.

You will drive over the test route following instructions given by the examiner. The examiner will score specific tasks such as turns, merging into traffic, lane changes, and speed control, at specific places along the route. The examiner will also score whether you correctly do tasks such as signaling, searching for hazards, controlling speed, and lane positioning.

What does the Kentucky CDL cost?
  • Kentucky CDL application - $24 (except Class B/C with P & S endorsements only - $9)
  • Kentucky CDL instruction permit - $11
  • Original Kentucky CDL - up to $40 (prorated fees according to current operator's expiration)
  • Renewal Kentucky CDL - $47/Class B or C with P & S endorsements only - $32.00
  • Transfer CDL - $60; with motorcycle - $70.

Upgrades in Kentucky CDL 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 to Kentucky CDL

$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, Kentucky 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

CDL Transfers

Kentucky CDL Permits

The state of Kentucky does not transfer commercial instruction permits from other states. If you currently hold a commercial instruction permit and wish to transfer to Kentucky, you will have to surrender the out of state permit and take the written knowledge tests in Kentucky. Upon passing those tests, you will be issued a Kentucky commercial instruction permit.

Kentucky CDL Hazardous Materials Endorsement

If you have a hazardous endorsement, you will be required to take the written hazmat test prior to transferring it to Kentucky. There is a $5.00 fee to take the written test.

If your hazmat threat assessment will not cover the life of your new Kentucky commercial license, you will be required to undergo a new threat assessment. This will cost $115.00. In some cases, you may be eligible for a ninety (90) day extension to complete your threat assessment. This will be determined by the CDL section at the Division of Driver Licensing.

Kentucky CDL Written Knowledge Tests
You will need to pass the Kentucky Knowledge Tests that are required for the class of license, restriction, and endorsements you wish to possess. A general knowledge test for the Class A or Class B and C license must be successfully completed by all CDL applicants. The information needed to pass these tests is contained in the FREE Kentucky CDL Handbook. Please read and study this manual carefully.
  • Class A - 70 Questions (50 GK + 20 Combination Vehicles) - Skills test required.
  • Class B - 50 Questions - Skills test required.
  • Class C - 50 Questions - Skills test required for bus, school bus and air brakes vehicles..
  • Passenger Endorsement - 20 questions - Skills test required in bus.
  • School Bus Endorsement - 25 questions - Skills test required in school bus.
  • Doubles/Triples Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Tank Vehicle Endorsement - 20 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement - 30 questions - No additional skills tests.
  • Air Brake Restriction Removal - 25 questions - Additional skills test in vehicle with Air Brakes.

Classes of Kentucky CDL and Required Tests

CDL Class Tests Required Possible Endorsements and Required Tests
Class A
(Combination
vehicle endorsement required)

General Knowledge Written Exam

Combination Endorsement Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
T - Doubles/Triples Written Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class B

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam
Class C

General Knowledge Written Exam

Road Exam

Note: If upgrading to a Class C from a Class D, no road test is required UNLESS the endorsement requires one.
H - Hazardous Materials Written Exam
N - Tank Vehicles Written Exam
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
X - HazMat and Tank Vehicles Written Exam
L - Air Brakes Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam

Kentucky CDL Endorsements

Exam Time Allowed (Minutes) # of Questions on Exam # of Correct Answers Needed to Pass
General Knowledge 60 50 40
Air Brakes 25 25 20
HazMat 30 30 24
Tank 20 20 16
Passenger 20 20 16
Doubles/Triples 20 20 16
Combination Vehicles 20 20 16
School Bus 20 20 16

Access Official Federal CDL General Information

WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS ARE ASKED ON THE CDL WRITTEN EXAMS?

A tiny sampling of questions from each of the written CDL exams follows . . .

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE EXAM (Required for ALL CDL's)

Steering tires must have a tread depth of at least . . .
A. 2/32 inch.
B. 3/32 inch.
C. 4/32 inch.
D. 5/32 inch.

When driving on wet roads, you should reduce your speed by . . .
A. half the distance from the vehicle in front of you.
B. 1/3.
C. 1/2.
D. 2/3.

You're performing your pre-trip inspection for your CDL test. Where should your ignition key be?
A. In the ignition.
B. In your pocket.
C. With your logbook.
D. In the cab.

TRANSPORTING PASSENGERS, (P) ENDORSEMENT

You must stop at least how far from a drawbridge, if there is no traffic light or attendant?
A. 10 feet.
B. 20 feet.
C. 50 feet.
D. 100 feet.

When stopping for railroad tracks, you must stop no closer than 15 feet before the nearest track.
A. True.
B. False.

AIR BRAKES ENDORSEMENT

The air leakage rate for a combination vehicle with the engine off and the brakes applied should be no more than . . .
A. 1 psi in 15 seconds.
B. 3 psi in one minute.
C. 4 psi in one minute.
D. allowed at lower altitudes.

You "put on the brakes" by . . .
A. pushing down on the brake pedal.
B. pushing down on the foot valve.
C. pushing down on the treadle valve.
D. all of the above.

COMBINATION VEHICLES (Req'd by ALL Class A's)

Every combination vehicle with air brakes has two air lines, the service line and the return line.
A. True.
B. False.

How much visible space should be between the upper and lower fifth wheel plates?
A. None.
B. At least 1/4 inch.
C. No more than 1/2 inch.
D. Approximately 1 inch.

DOUBLES AND TRIPLES, (T) ENDORSEMENT

Driving conditions are good. A 100 foot long combination vehicle traveling at 35 MPH would need how much safe following distance?
A. 8/10 of a minute.
B. 10 seconds.
C. 11 seconds.
D. Two vehicle lengths.

Triple trailers are legal in your State of Residence.
A. True.
B. False.

TANK VEHICLES, (N) ENDORSEMENT

Because liquids expand and contract under different temperatures . . .
A. you must be familiar with the difference between bulkheads and baffles.
B. you must know the outage requirements.
C. you must be prepared for possible surge.
D. you must have a HAZ MAT placard in place.

Bulkheads in a tank and baffles in a tank are the same.
A. True.
B. False.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, (H) ENDORSEMENT

The driver may keep hazardous materials shipping papers . . .
A. behind the left side HAZ MAT placard.
B. in a pouch on the drivers door or on the driver's seat when out of the vehicle.
C. with the shipper until acceptance at the destination.
D. in a secure place that is locked.

What is the minimum distance from a Class 3 (flammable liquids) or Division 2.1 (gases) placarded cargo tank that you may smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe?
A. 10 meters.
B. 25 feet.
C. 100 feet
D. 300 feet.

There is a total of 670 questions on the actual Kentucky CDL Course tests, which covers the entire POOL of questions used on the actual CDL examinations. Questions on your ACTUAL TESTS will come from this POOL of questions. Each "CLASS" of CDL and each "ENDORSEMENT" is covered in a separate section. You are required to take only those exams that apply to your driving requirements. The Kentucky CDL Course includes complete "self testing" practice tests and "self scoring" BLANK and CORRECT answer sheets.

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