When do I need a commercial driver's license (CDL)

If you drive a vehicle or vehicles that meets the following definition, a CDL is required (49 CFR §383.5):

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle is a:

  • Combination Vehicle (Group A) - having a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds, whichever is greater; or 
  • Heavy Straight Vehicle (Group B) - having a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater; or 
  • Small Vehicle (Group C) that does not meet Group A or B requirements but that either - 
    • Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or 
    • Is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in this section.

Simply stated:

  1. if the combination is over 26,000 lbs. AND the towed unit is over 10,000 lbs., a Class A CDL is required.
  2. If a single vehicle is over 26,000 lbs., a Class B CDL is required.
  3. If the vehicle is designed to transport 16 or more passengers and does not meet the definition of a Class A or B vehicle, a Class C CDL and P endorsement are required.
  4. If the vehicle does not meet the definition of a Class A or B vehicle, but it is used to transport a quantity of haz-mat requiring placards, a Class C CDL and haz-mat endorsement is required.

Show All Answers

1. When do I need a commercial driver's license (CDL)
2. Do I need a medical certification/card or operate a CMV in Kansas?
3. Do I need to carry my medical card?
4. If a truck has air brakes, does it require a CDL?
5. Is there a CDL air brake endorsement?
6. I am a farmer. Do I need a Class A or Class B CDL?
7. I am an out of state farmer. Will Kansas recognize my CDL exemption?