Federal changes are now in place for Kentucky CDL holders

Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Clinton Circuit Clerk Jake Staton are informing holders of Commercial Driver Licenses, or CDLs, of new federal mandates that went into effect this past Monday, January 30.

The important changes for holders of a Kentucky Commercial Driver License (CDL) began this week as the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet implemented a federally mandated dababase project aimed at improving highway safety.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires CDL holders or applicants to provide medical certification that they are healthy enough to drive. As of January 30, the information is now entered into a national database–the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS).

“Highway safety has been, and continues to be, a high priority of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet,” KYTC Secretary Mike Hancock said. “It is in the public interest to do what we can to assure that CDL operators are medically fit to drive. And it is important for these operators to be aware that the licensing process has additional requirements that are going to take more time. They should not wait until their deadline for renewal.”

For Kentucky CDL holders or applicants, the CDLIS modernization project means that critical information must be submitted to the KYTC Division of Driver Licensing in Frankfort “before” the CDL can be renewed or issued by a circuit court clerk.

The required information includes a license application and a valid medical card. It also includes, as a new requirement, a “self-certification” form in which drivers or applicants state whether they will be operating in interstate commerce or only within Kentucky or engaging in transportation that is exempted from driver qualification requirements.

Processing at the Division of Driver Licensing will take seven to 14 days. Circuit court clerks will no longer be able to enter medical information into an electronic record system. According to Staton, if a driver receives an approval letter, you are to bring it to the circuit clerk’s office for license renewal.

The cabinet is trying to ease the transition. CDL holders whose medical certifications are within 60 days of expiration are being notified of the new process by mail. First-time applicants are being sent a packet of information that explains the new process and includes the license application, medical examination report and self-certification form.

Kentucky has about 150,000 CDL holders, including operators of commercial motor vehicles over 26,000 lbs, federally placarded hazardous material vehicles, school buses and other vehicles that can carry 16 or more passengers. Information is available at: http://transportation.ky.gov/Driver-Licensing/Pages/Applying-for-a-CDL.aspx.

Circuit Clerk Staton said, “As with any changes there are always questions, so please feel free to contact my office and we will be glad to assist you with your concerns.” He concluded, “again, let me emphasize what Secretary Hancock said, ‘you should not wait until your deadline for renewal’ to start this new process.”