If you want to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you must obtain a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, because semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles can be challenging to operate and cause catastrophic traffic accidents, the requirements to obtain a CDL in Kentucky are strict.

What Are the Three Types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Lexington, KY?

Kentucky has three types of commercial driver’s licenses. The type of CDL you need depends on the vehicle you want to drive. 

Kentucky Class A CDL

A Class A commercial driver’s license is required if you operate a commercial vehicle or any combination of vehicles with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 26,001 pounds or more. Any vehicles being towed weigh at least 10,001 pounds. 

Kentucky Class B CDL

A Class B commercial driver’s license is required if you operate any of the following commercial vehicles or combination of vehicles:

  • A straight truck with a GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds with two or more axles
  • A vehicle with a GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds with two or more axles and pulling a vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less
  • A single vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, with a GVWR of at least 26,001 pounds

If you are unsure whether a commercial vehicle meets the above specifications, ask your employer or the truck manufacturer for the specs. You must have the correct CDL to operate the vehicle. 

Kentucky Class C CDL

A Class C commercial driver’s license is required if you operate a vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds that transports hazardous materials that require a placard. You must also have this type of CDL to operate a single vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds. 

Restrictions and Endorsements for Kentucky Commercial Driver’s Licenses 

In addition to obtaining your commercial driver’s license, you may be required to obtain a CDL endorsement to transport specific cargo or operate certain commercial vehicles. 

CDL endorsements that you may need include:

  • P – passenger endorsement
  • H – hazardous materials endorsement 
  • T – double/triple trailer endorsement
  • S – school bus endorsement
  • N – tank truck endorsement
  • X – tank/hazardous materials combined endorsement

The DMV may place one or more restrictions on your commercial driver’s license. The restrictions prevent you from operating specific commercial vehicles and/or transporting certain materials. 

CDL restrictions in Kentucky include:

  • M – No Class A passenger vehicle
  • K – Intrastate only 
  • E – No manual transmission equipped CMV 
  • P –  No passengers in the CMV bus
  • O – No tractor-trailer CMV
  • V – Medical variance
  • L – No air brake-equipped CMV
  • X – No cargo in the CMV tank vehicle
  • N – No Class A and Class B passenger vehicle
  • Z – No full air brake equipped CMV

Special restrictions could be applied to a commercial driver’s license, depending on your circumstances. Check with the Kentucky DMV if you have questions about what type of CDL and endorsements you need. 

What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License in Kentucky?

Commercial trucks are powerful vehicles. In an accident with a commercial truck, the people in the passenger vehicles usually sustain most of the catastrophic injuries and deaths. Therefore, the government requires individuals seeking a CDL to prove they are trained, skilled, and competent to operate a large commercial vehicle. 

Kentucky laws require an applicant for a CDL to meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Provide all completed CDL paperwork, including a valid commercial application, Medical Certificate, and Self-Certification
  • The driver is a permanent resident or US citizen
  • Complete and pass a vision, written, and skills test given by the Kentucky State Police

In addition to the above, a driver may be required to submit to drug/alcohol testing. They must also pass a “hot file” check through the Kentucky State Police for wants and warrants. If you intend to transport hazardous materials, you must also undergo a Hazmat Threat Assessment. 

Why Are Special Training and Commercial Driver’s Licenses Required for Truck Drivers in Kentucky?

Commercial trucks have a high risk of causing deaths and permanent impairment when they hit another vehicle. In many cases, the truck accident may involve several vehicles. Therefore, truckers must be highly trained, skilled, and competent drivers. 

It requires skills and knowledge to operate commercial motor vehicles. Inexperienced or poorly trained truck drivers may have a higher risk of causing an accident. Their lack of training and experience means they are unable to handle rapidly changing conditions or anticipate potential problems. 

If you were injured in a truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. However, obtaining compensation for your injuries might not be straightforward. 

You can get answers to your questions and learn more about these personal injury claims by taking advantage of a free consultation with a Lexington truck accident lawyer.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Lexington Today To Get More Information

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, please call Minner Vines Injury Lawyers, PLLC for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.