How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Indiana
All drivers must possess a CDL in Indiana in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in the state. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) can issue a commercial drivers license to any driver that meets the state’s eligibility requirements and passes the state’s testing criteria. Applicants for a commercial license must be of a certain age, pass the necessary medical screening, be able to prove lawful presence in the U.S., and more, in order to be found eligible.
Applications for a CDL license in Indiana must be submitted in person, to a BMV licensing agency. All drivers must apply for – and receive – their commercial permits before they will be allowed to apply for their full commercial licenses. Some drivers are exempt from needing to meet all of the state’s typical licensing requirements, like military personnel and some farmers. Drivers must complete knowledge exams and driving skills tests using a vehicle of the class and type that they will be licensed to operate. Several endorsements can be added to a license for drivers who meet the requirements.
CDL Requirements in Indiana
CDL requirements for drivers in Indiana include being at least 18 years of age at the time of submitting the application, if applying for an intrastate permit, or 21 years of age, if applying for an interstate license. Other CDL license requirements include:
- Holding a valid IN driver’s license for at least one year before application.
- Having a valid U.S. Social Security Number (SSN).
- Passing the DOT medical exam (if applicable).
- Passing the written CDL test.
- Obtaining a learner’s permit.
- Passing a driving skills test.
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Indiana
All Indiana drivers must first apply for – and receive – the CDL permit, or CLP, before they can be found eligible to apply for the full commercial operator’s license. Drivers applying for a CDL learners permit will be required to meet all of the abovementioned requirements, except for passing the driving skills test, which occurs later on to receive the full license. Applications for the CLP are accepted in person, at licensing agencies around the state. The BMV has an up-to-date list of all locations currently processing permit requests.
According to IN CDL permit requirements, drivers will have to pass all of the written knowledge tests required, according to the type of license they are requesting. They will also be asked to pass a vision screening. Other requirements may be asked of drivers in some circumstances. Exam results are valid for 180 days.
CDL Written Test in Indiana
All students must complete the general CDL written test, along with area-specific tests, depending on the driver’s vehicle class and desired endorsements. The CDL general knowledge test is required by all applying drivers, and along with any of the following exams:
- All commercial vehicles drivers: General knowledge exam
- All school bus drivers: School bus endorsement exam and passenger transport exam
- All bus drivers: Passenger transport exam
- Vehicle with air brakes: Air brakes exam
- Combination of vehicles: Combination vehicle exam
- Drivers required to transport hazardous material: Hazardous material exam
- Drivers required to transport liquids in bulk: Tanker exam
- Drivers required to pull double or triple trailers: Doubles/triples exam
Indiana CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
CDL prep for Indiana drivers begins with reviewing the Commercial Driver’s License Manual issued by the BMV, which includes all of the details new commercial drivers need to know for the written and skills exams. Drivers can also choose to enroll in CDL school at any of a number of state-approved locations across the state. The BMV oversees all schooling for commercial drivers in Indiana to assure that they offer top-quality instruction and have qualified teachers.
Although enrolling in a program for extra CDL training is highly encouraged by the BMV, it is not one of the requirements for receiving a CLP or full license. Drivers looking for hands-on instruction from drivers with years of experience can especially benefit from signing up. The BMV regularly publishes a list of approved truck driver training schools in Indiana from which drivers can choose.
How to Get a CDL License in Indiana
When a driver is ready to apply for a full license, how to get a CDL comes down to scheduling the driving skills exam, and passing all of its parts at the same time. To apply for CDL credentials, the driver must meet all of the requirements and prepare all of the documentation mentioned previously.
Once he or she has received the CLP, the next step is scheduling the skills exams at a nearby BMV commercial licensing agency. The driver must use a vehicle of the type and class that his or her license will permit him or her to operate, once received.
Upon successful submission of the CDL application and completion of the skills exams, the driver should take his or her certificate to any IN BMV office for submission and registration in the driver’s record within 30 days. Additional fees may also be asked when completing the final steps of the application process.
CDL Driving Test in Indiana
The Indiana CDL test of driving skills if required of all applicants of a commercial license, and is the final step in the application process. The CDL driving test must be taken 14 days or more after receiving the CLP, and in the type of vehicle the license will allow the driver to operate. The skills exam must be scheduled at least two days in advance with the BMV. The driver will have to pay an exam fee and possibly a truck rental fee. The three parts of the skills exam that all drivers must pass are the:
- Pre-trip inspection test.
- Basic control skills test.
- Driving/road test.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Indiana
The Indiana BMV offers a CDL for veterans of the U.S. armed forces who can demonstrate having adequate truck driving experience while in the service. This military CDL allows eligible drivers to forgo the driving skills exam, and immediately request a license after holding their CLPs for enough time.
Drivers who are currently active duty in the military can also qualify for this exception. Military drivers must still pass the necessary written tests, prove that they are regularly employed (or were regularly employed) in a military position requiring operation of a CMV within one year prior, and certify that during the two years immediately preceding the application for an Indiana commercial license the following was true about the driver:
- He or she did not have more than one license (except for a military license)
- He or she has not had any license suspended, revoked or cancelled
- He or she has not had any convictions for any type of motor vehicle for any disqualifying offenses
CDL Medical Exams in Indiana
A CDL medical exam must be completed by all applicants for a commercial license in Indiana. A DOT medical examiner is required to administer the exam, and he or she must be on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners Rules and Regulations. The doctor must complete both the Medical Examination Report (MER) and Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) in order for the driver to meet state requirements.
Types of CDL Classes in Indiana
There are three classes of commercial licenses for which drivers can apply in Indiana.
- Class A permits allow drivers to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, such as tractor-semi-trailers and tank vehicles.
- The Class B CDL is required for drivers of any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds.
- A Class C CDL is needed by drivers or single vehicles weighing less than 26,001 pounds, but carrying hazardous materials, more than 16 people or other special materials.
Note: A Class A CDL typically allows the driver to operate vehicles that fall into the other classes.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Indiana
Many Indiana drivers must apply for CDL endorsements on their commercial licenses in order to transport specific materials or numerous people. The passenger endorsement, for example, allows drivers to transport 16 people or more. Endorsements for commercial drivers in Indiana include the below:
- H – Hazmat Endorsement
- N – Tanker Endorsement
- P – Passenger Endorsement
- S – School Bus Endorsement
- T – Double or Triple Trailers Endorsement
- X – Tank Vehicles and Hazardous Materials Endorsement
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Indiana
Indiana drivers are required to declare whether they need an intrastate CDL, for driving within Indiana, or an interstate license, for driving between states, or within Indiana with cargo or passengers that originated outside of the state. An interstate CDL is required if the driver plans on taking part in both types of commerce. Depending on this classification, drivers may have to meet some additional requirements, as well.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Indiana
The CDL permit cost is the first application fee that Indiana drivers must pay when beginning the process to receive a commercial license. They will then have to pay a CDL license cost when transferring their CLPs to full operator’s licenses. Commercial license fees in Indiana include the following figures:
- Commercial learner’s permit: $17
- Commercial driver’s license: $35
- Add or remove endorsement: $19