Kansas CDL Requirements

Geographically at the center of the mainland US, Kansas is named after the tribe that historically occupied the land. It was originally settled in 1812 but instability and the growing divisions of the Civil War meant it did not join the Union until 1861 after which it underwent a major economic boom in farming. Today it is still one of the most important farming states in the US producing wheat, corn and soybeans. It is one of the flattest states with over two-thirds of the land consisting of prairie converted to farmland. The east consists of flatlands and low hills. As the topography moves west, the elevation rises towards steeper and younger hills mixed with the Great Plains. Kansas has the reputation of being "as flat as a pancake" but there are states with smoother landscapes and flatter land.

Which CDL Licenses are Available in Kansas?

As with the rest of the US, CMV applicants in Kansas have three licensing choices. Applicants are required to complete a series of tests and checks prior to licensing.

Class A CDL

This applies to transport vehicles of a weight 26,001lbs or greater for towing trailers 10,000lbs or greater

Class B CDL

This applies to transport vehicles of a weight 26,001lbs or greater for towing trailers 10,000lbs or less

Class C CDL

This applies to transport vehicles of a weight 26,001lbs or lighter, for hazmat vehicles and those designated to carry 16 or more passengers

Class D

Before any applicant may apply for a class A-C license, he or she must legally hold a Class D

A medical examination is required for all A-C class applicants. You will then be expected to pass a general knowledge test followed by practical skills driving test. If you require further endorsements on your license (for example to drive passenger vehicles, tanks vehicles), further testing is necessary.

CDL Eligibility in Kansas

All states are required to adhere to Federal regulation and law on licensing but with some flexibility to set their own criteria beyond that which is mandated by the Federal government. Kansas may regularly review its regulations in line with the changing needs of industry and citizen safety. All CDL applicants will submit for TSA screening and medical tests.

License and Permits

  • CDL applicants (all classes) must hold a Class D license for a period of two years without penalties for eligibility
  • There will be a series of health checks including an eye test to ensure you are fit enough to drive a CMV
  • Training courses to drive a CMV are not required but are strongly advisable in most cases
  • The testing process consists of a written exam followed by a practical driving test

Age

  • You must be 18 years or older to apply for a CDL
  • You must be 21 years or older to drive outside of the state of Kansas (18-21-year-olds can only drive within state lines)
  • You must be 21 years or older to drive vehicles suitable for carrying hazardous material

Proof of Residence of Kansas

  • Proof of Kansas residence is required at the time of application. You are required by law to notify the state of any change of address within 30 days of moving
  • ID is required with the application at the time of presentation
  • Your SSN is required at the time of application

CDL Requirements for Kansas Residents

  • A Kansas-issued driver's license is required and address should be current, updated within 30 days of a change of address
  • Your SSN must be presented
  • You must provide proof of valid and current insurance
  • Kansas will require TSA screening for all applicants

Kansas CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers

Out of state applicants are subject to further checks in Kansas:

  • Out of state applicants must switch their Class D license for a Kansas-issued license
  • For licenses less than two years out of date, only a state license transfer is required
  • Proof of your US citizenship is required, or Permanent Residence card for foreign nationals
  • You must present details of your Kansas address and SSN card
  • Any medical documentation you have relevant to your CDL application should be presented. This will speed up the application
  • Any exemptions for which you are eligible should be presented at this time

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Kansas CDL

US residents who are not citizens may apply for a CDL on the condition of proving their Permanent Resident status.

  • You should present your Permanent Resident Card issued on arrival
  • Any other supporting paperwork is helpful
  • Your foreign passport and other legal documents (such as a passport or birth certificate) may be requested
  • You must have a home address in Kansas and provide proof of that residence
  • If you have a driver's license from your home country, this should be presented in support of your application. Conditions may require its permanent surrender

Do I Need a CDL?

Kansas is part of a nationwide waiver program for recently retired and retiring military personnel. Known colloquially as "Troops to Trucks", any serving military personnel due to retire soon or discharged between 90 days and one year ago will not need, in most cases, to take the driving skills test. You will be expected to pass the written test section and further requirements for special endorsements. Other people qualified and able and to drive heavy military vehicles are exempt from the driving section also. In some cases, drivers of firefighting and police vehicles may be subject to waivers. The Kansas DOT has further details at the end of the article.

Further waivers are:

  • Drivers of hazmat vehicles licensed for small volume transportation
  • Any person of eligible criteria instructed to drive a CMV in an emergency situation by an authorized peace officer
  • RV vehicles and their drivers
  • Drivers of farm vehicles no more than 150 miles of the farm that is their place of work
  • When an authorized person instructs any individual to operate emergency clearing vehicles
  • Public service equipment such as those used to fight fires and most police vehicles

In most cases, any driving conviction will make your CDL application ineligible or void. DUI convictions (for both drugs and alcohol), excess speed and leaving the scene of an accident are all violations that could affect your ability to apply. If your standard driver's license has been revoked for any reason or suspended or canceled, your application will not be permitted. Also included is any felony involving motor vehicles.

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

  • Medical testing is an important part of the process and all applicants in Kansas must submit to any for which they are instructed. The resources list includes a website with medical professionals authorized to carry out the medical test
  • Once complete, you will receive a Medical Examination Report Form and a Medical Examiner's Certificate
  • Forward both documents to Kansas State DOT to advance your application
  • Please state whether you require intrastate or interstate driving. Age restrictions apply
  • Only when Kansas State DOT has processed these documents will the interstate applicant be issues with a Federal Medical Card
  • Applicants who fail the medical testing may apply for restrictions in Kansas
  • Employers will normally pay the bills. Direct queries through a contact at your workplace

Background Check for CDL Applicants

Only US citizens and permanent residents may apply for a CDL. Applicants will receive TSA screenings for security clearance. Prospective hazmat drivers must also submit fingerprints in support of their application.

CDL Testing in Kansas

No applicant may begin the Knowledge Exam and Driver's Test without first clearing the medical checks and TSA screening.

CDL Knowledge Test

The Knowledge Test is a 50-strong multiple choice general knowledge exam. Each endorsement requires 20 extra questions.

CDL Road Skills Tests

No applicant is permitted to take the driver's test part of the CDL application until they have completed the Knowledge Test.

  • The examiner must check the vehicle's suitability and legality before the test commences
  • The examiner will ask the candidate to show that they understand the vehicle's control
  • Only when will the candidate be permitted to complete the driving part of the CDL application process

Kansas CDL Office Locations

The Kansas State Department of Transport (KSDOT) provides the following facilities:

In Kansas City

  • Wyandotte County Treasurer's Office
    710 North 7th Street
    Kansas City, KS 66101
    (913) 573-2823
  • Kansas State Driver License Station
    1951 N. 63rd Drive
    Kansas City, KS 66102
    (913) 287-2900
  • Motor Vehicle Satellite Office
    8200 State Ave.
    Kansas City, KS 66112
    (913) 573-2821

In Lawrence

  • Kansas State Driver License Station
    1035 North 3rd Street
    Lawrence, KS 66044
    (785) 843-9593
  • Sixth Street Satellite Office
    3000 W. 6th St.
    Lawrence, KS 66049
    (785) 832-5273
  • Baldwin City Satellite Office
    112 Eighth St.
    Baldwin City, KS 66006
    (785) 832-5273
  • Jefferson Co. Treasurer's Office
    300 Jefferson St. County Courthouse
    Oskaloosa, KS 66066
    (785) 863-2691
  • Douglas County Motor Vehicle Office - South
    2000 West 31st Street
    Lawrence, KS 66046
    (785) 832-5273

In Mission

  • Johnson County Driver License Office - Mission
    6507 Johnson Drive
    Mission, KS 66202
    (913) 432-2266
  • Johnson County Treasurer's Office
    6000 Lamar Ave. Suite 120
    Mission, KS 66202
    (913) 826-1800
  • Kansas State Driver License Station
    1400 Main Street, Room 208
    Great Bend, KS 67530
    (620) 793-1831

In Olathe

  • Johnson County Treasurer's Office
    782 N. Ridgeview Rd
    Olathe, KS 66061
    (913) 826-1800
  • Johnson County Driver License Office - Olathe
    13507 S Mur-Len Road
    Olathe, KS 66062
    (913) 829-2501

In Topeka

  • Shawnee County Treasurer's Office
    200 SE 7th Street
    Topeka, KS 66603
    (785) 233-8200 Ext 5160
  • Shawnee County Driver License Station - Topeka
    300 SW 29th St
    Topeka, KS 66609
    (785) 266-7380

In Wichita

  • Sedgwick County
    525 North Main
    Wichita, KS 67203
    (316) 660-9110
  • Sedgwick Co. Main Tag Office
    2525 W Douglas
    Wichita, KS 67203
    (316) 660-9110
  • Kansas State Driver License Station
    1873 W 21st North
    Wichita, KS 67201
    (316) 337-6066
  • Brittany Center Tag Substation
    2120 North Woodlawn St.
    Wichita, KS 67208
    (316) 660-9110
  • Chadsworth Center Tag Substation
    2330 North Maize Road
    Wichita, KS 67205
    (316) 660-9110
  • Derby Town Center Tag Substation
    206 West Greenway St.
    Derby, KS 67037
    (316) 660-9110

Kansas CDL Endorsements

Kansas's CDL endorsements include:

  • Hazardous material (H)
  • Tank vehicles (N)
  • Passenger vehicles (P)
  • School buses (S)
  • Double and triple trailers (T)

Kansas CDL Disqualifications

CDL holders will find that regulation dictates they are subject to higher driving standards and higher penalties for infractions. The following offences apply to CDL applicants and CMV holders:

  • Where the driver registers blood alcohol reading at 0.04% or higher while driving any CMV
  • Where the driver registers blood alcohol reading at 0.08% or higher while driving any other vehicle
  • Where the driver refuses any test for alcohol or drugs when directed by a law officer
  • Where the driver records positive for controlled substances when tested
  • Where the driver fails to report an accident of which they are a part
  • Where the driver fails to stop at an accident scene of which they are a part
  • Where the driver uses their authorized CMV for non-traffic felonies
  • Where the driver's reckless driving leads to a fatal accident
  • Where the driver drives a CMV in the full knowledge of a revoked, suspended or canceled license

An automatic minimum 12-month suspension applies in any first offence from the list above. Second offences result in a life suspension of your CDL. State courts may also impose further punishment. Hazmat drivers incur a minimum three-year disqualification to any first offence. Using a CMV for any felony involving controled substances incurs a lifelong suspension. Tests that report alcohol in the driver's body but lower than.04% incurs a 24-hour suspension of driving privileges.

The following list of lesser offences results in a 60-day suspension for any second offence in a three-year period. Any third offence in three-years leads to a 120-day suspension:

  • Speeding at more than 15mph over the limit
  • When a law officer pulls the driver over for dangerous or reckless driving
  • Erratic driving deemed dangerous to other road users - this includes improper and reckless lane changing
  • Driving too close to other vehicles
  • Failing to comply with any other Kansas state laws - especially those concerning accidents with fatalities
  • Not holding an authorized CDL when driving a CMV
  • Driving a CMV when CDL privileges are not sufficient
  • Driving a CMV without the correct and necessary endorsements
  • Driving a CMV when not possessing your CDL

Out of Service violations are when your vehicle is designated unsafe by an inspector. Driving a vehicle with an OOS applied means a 90-day disqualification for your first offence and a ten-year disqualification for a second offence. When driving a hazmat vehicle, they equivalent penalties are 2 years for a first offence and 3-10 years for a second offence.

Kansas's railroad violations incur a 60-day disqualification for a first offence, 120 days for a second offence in three years and a one year ban for a third offence in three years:

  • Failure to slow to check the track ahead is clear of oncoming trains at a crossing where the vehicle is not required to stop
  • Failure to stop before reaching the crossing where the vehicle is not required to stop when the track ahead is not clear of a train or traffic ahead
  • Failure to stop at a crossing where required to do so before driving on to the crossing
  • Failure to leave sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing
  • Failure to obey any instructions of an enforcement officer or traffic control device
  • Insufficient undercarriage clearance of the vehicle leading to endangerment

CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

The Federal government organization BLS researches employment data relating to every industry in the USA. Data released in 2017 suggested an expected growth of 5% for all driving jobs between 2014-2024. This is slightly lower than the national average of all jobs, which is 7%. Commercial driving openings are lower than average.

Heavy Trucks

Heavy transport vehicles work is amongst the best-paid driving roles. The national averages for heavy trucking currently stand at a salary of $41,340 with hourly paid employees earning $19.87ph on average. The salary range is $26,920 for the lowest 10% of earners up to $63,140 for the highest earners. Kansas data is slightly above this average with a salary recorded at $43,110. Hourly paid roles are closer to the average at $19.41 (median) and $20.73 (mean).

Light Trucks

Small transport vehicle sector should grow around 4% between 2014 and 2024. This is slower than heavy trucks and due, in part, to increase in self-employed delivery drivers - the "gig economy". At 2017, the national averages are $34,790 (salary) and $16.73 (hourly pay). These figures are reflected in Kansas' data with an average salary of $34,170 and for the hourly pay $14.57 (median) and $16.43 (mean).

Passenger Vehicles

Driving public transport such as buses is amongst the most stable work. There is a projected 6% increase in this area between 2014 and 2024, around the average. The average salary is $31,920 and the hourly pay national average is $14.96. Kansas bus drivers have a slightly lower salary than average with pay at $28,180 and $13.01 (median) and $13.55 (mean) the hourly averages.

BLS Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ks.htm

Resources for Kansas CDL Requirements

Learn more about Kansas trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in Kansas

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
Kansas $29,790 $47,680 $37,770
Lawrence, KS $30,810 $48,100 $37,350
Manhattan, KS $31,660 $49,400 $38,170
Topeka, KS $26,840 $42,370 $33,080
Wichita, KS $28,990 $43,450 $35,050

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)