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Indiana Commercial Driver's License
Frequently Asked Questions About CDLs
When Do I Need a CDL?
You will need to obtain a CDL if you operate a commercial motor vehicle that:
How Do I Obtain an Indiana CDL?
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of at least 26,001 pounds; or
- Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
- Is any size vehicle carrying hazardous materials which requires placarding
To obtain an Indiana CDL you must:
- Have a valid Indiana operator's license;
- Have a valid United States Social Security number;
- Be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- Pass a DOT physical examination;
- Obtain a commercial driver's license learner's permit and pass one or more of the written knowledge tests; and
- Pass a skills test in a vehicle class you intend to operate after acquiring a CDL permit
A CDL skills test must be taken at one of the authorized CDL driving skills test sites. There you will demonstrate your knowledge and skills of operating a commercial motor vehicle.
What happens if a driver's Indiana CDL has been expired, disqualified, cancelled, revoked, or invalidated for more than one year?
If a driver's CDL has been expired, disqualified, canceled, revoked, invalidated or voluntarily surrendered for more than one year, the holder must pass all knowledge and skills exams prior to issuance of the CDL license [140 IAC 7-3-17.5(d)].
How can the status of a DOT physical examination be checked by a driver
Companies and individual drivers can check the processing status of a DOT physical examination form by calling 888-692-6841 and selecting option number one (1).
On February 1, 2014 all Commercial Driver's License (CDL) holders who did not self-certify their driving type were disqualified for Failure to Self-Certify. Federal regulation requires CDL holders to certify to the BMV the type of commercial motor vehicles that they operate, or intend to operate, as well as acknowledge that they are required to meet the medical requirements for that CDL.
To close this disqualification, you must self-certify your driving type or surrender your CDL. You may self-certify on myBMV.com or during a CDL or Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) transaction at a branch. Four notifications of the deadline were mailed over the past year.
Self-certifying online is free and easy. You will need to create a myBMV account,
if you do not already have one. After accessing your account, click "my Driver
Records" then click on "CDL Self-Certify Driver Type" in the left column
and answer the questions. After answering the questions, place a checkmark in
the "swear or affirm" box and then click "save". You may also self-certify during
a CLP/CDL renewal, amend or replacement branch transaction.
Indiana Commercial Driver's License
An Indiana Commercial Driver's License (CDL) allows the holder to operate commercial motor vehicles or combinations of vehicles with declared gross vehicle weight ratings in excess of 26,000 pounds; vehicles designed or used to transport 16 or more people, including the driver; and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials.
In general, CDL requirements are stricter than for any other Indiana driver's license and are based upon stringent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. To get a CDL you must a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and be at least 18-years-old, if you will be transporting property within state lines, or at least 21-years-old if you will be transporting people. You must have held a valid driver's license, chauffeur's license, or public passenger chauffeur's license for at least one year. You must also hold a CDL learner's permit.
Getting an Indiana Commercial Driver's License Learner's Permit
To get a commercial driver's license learner's permit you must be at least 18 years old if you will be transporting property within state lines, and at least 21 years old if you will be transporting people. You must have held an Indiana driver's license, chauffeur's license, or public passenger chauffeur's license for at least one year.
To get a commercial driver's license learner's permit you need to pass the appropriate knowledge test for the vehicle type that you plan to operate:
- All commercial vehicles drivers: General knowledge test
- All school bus drivers: School bus endorsement test and passenger transport test
- All bus drivers: Passenger transport test
- Vehicle with air brakes: Air brakes test
- Combination of vehicles: Combination vehicle test
- Drivers required to transport hazardous material: Hazardous material test
- Drivers required to transport liquids in bulk: Tanker test
- Drivers required to pull double or triple trailers: Doubles/triples test
When you pass a knowledge test, the results are valid for 180 days. You may receive only three commercial driver's license learner's permits in two years. A commercial driver's license learner's permit is valid for six months.
Holders of a valid commercial driver's license learner permit may operate a commercial motor vehicle only when accompanied by the holder of a valid commercial driver's license holder who has the proper class and endorsement(s) necessary to operate the commercial motor vehicle.
You may find the material covered in the knowledge examinations in the commercial driver's license test booklet.
When you apply for a commercial driver's license you must present documents of identification proving your identity, lawful status, Social Security number, and Indiana residency.
Indiana CDL Knowledge Examination and Skills Testing
To get a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in Indiana, you must pass a knowledge examination and a driving skills test in a vehicle representative of the class of CDL that you will receive. The driving skills test must be taken at a BMV authorized test site and consists of a pre-trip inspection test, a basic control skills test, and the road trip test. Authorized test sites electronically transmit the skills test results to the BMV to increase security and accuracy.
The Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP), all knowledge tests and skills tests are valid for one hundred and eighty (180) days. Renewal of a CLP may require retaking the knowledge examinations.
Documents of identification
You must be either a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident to apply for a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver's License (CDL), per 49 CFR 383.71. For further information on this requirement, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.
When you apply for a CLP or CDL you must present documents of identification proving your identity, lawful status, Social Security number, and Indiana residency.
Transferring a CDL From Out of State
The Indiana BMV will conduct a driver record search using the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) for all license holders transferring to Indiana from another state. If your CDLIS Pointer (Driver History) from your prior state of record is not available, or your CDLIS Pointer is incomplete, there will be a delay in processing your application for a license in the State of Indiana.
The Indiana BMV will contact the licensing officials in the state(s) where the license was previously held to complete this process. When the BMV has received the required information, the applicant will be contacted by the BMV to return to the license branch to complete processing.
You must meet all requirements to transfer a base license and pass the general knowledge written tests to transfer a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to Indiana. If you have a hazardous materials endorsement on your current CDL you will be required to pass that knowledge test and have acceptable threat assessment approval to be issued the endorsement on an Indiana license.
Renewing or Replacing a CDL
Renewing or Replacing a CDL
A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) issued in Indiana is valid for four years. You may renew your CDL at any Indiana license branch up to one year before the license expires.
To replace a CDL, you will need to visit any Indiana license branch and present certain documents of identification.
Re-Applying For a Indiana CDL
If you voluntarily surrender or relinquish your Commercial Driver's License and would like to re-apply for commercial driving privileges after one year, you must obtain a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP), pass all necessary knowledge tests and driving skills tests, and provide a valid Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination (medical examination) and Medical Examiner's Certificate unless a valid medical examination and medical examiner's certificate is already on file with the Indiana BMV.
Indiana CDL Fees
- 4 year Indiana CDL - $36.00
- Restricted Class B CDL - $36.00
- Upgrade/Downgrade CDL - $19.00
- Replacement/Amended CDL - $5.50
- Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) - $17.00
- Amended or Replacement CLP - $10.50
What is a CDL?
is a Commercial Drivers License. It meets certain minimum "standards" that
are the same for every state. It differs from the Indiana
"operator's" or "chauffeur's" licenses. It is required if you drive certain
kinds of commercial trucks or buses.
What is the COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1986 (CMVSA/86) administered by the FMCSA?
It is a law passed by the United States Congress which requires ALL the individual states to comply with certain standards in regards to the licensing of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. Indiana driver licensing standards comply with the law, requiring CMV drivers to obtain a Indiana Commercial Driver's License (CDL) when driving applicable trucks and buses. A CDL license can ONLY be issued in the driver's STATE OF LEGAL RESIDENCE, and if you have a CDL, you can have NO OTHER DRIVER'S LICENSE in ANY other state.
When do I need a Indiana CDL instead of my regular Indiana Drivers License?
A Indiana CDL is required if you operate any of the following CMV's . . .
1. A vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 lbs.
2. A vehicle towing a unit with a manufacturer's GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. when the GCWR exceeds 26,000 lbs.
3. A vehicle used to . . .(a.) carry 15 or more passengers (excluding the driver), or (b.) carry (15) or less people (including the driver) when carrying children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
4. A vehicle carrying hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding.
What are the eligibility requirements to obtain a Indiana CDL?
1. You must be 21 years old. (18 years if all commercial driving is done within Indiana and if no hazardous materials requiring placarding are transported and if you do not drive double or triple trailer rigs).
2. You must be physically capable (in accordance with the MCSR 49 CFR 391.41 Physical Qualifications for Drivers regulations) of obtaining a valid DOT medical examiner's card (before being issued a CDL permit or taking any CDL skills test).
3. You must otherwise qualify for the license based on your driving record. Any of the following will disqualify you from obtaining a Indiana CDL . . .
* If you possess a license from any state other than Indiana.
* If you are currently subject to any disqualification of your commercial driving privilege from Indiana or any other state.
* If your license is currently suspended, revoked, denied, or cancelled.
* If you have a conviction for operating a commercial motor vehicle while impaired in the 24 months immediately preceding application.
* other technical rules, and further restrictions that pertain only to Indiana are covered in detail within the Course.
How do I obtain a Indiana CDL?
1. Show your Indiana driver license.
2. You must take and pass all Indiana examinations that apply to your license class and endorsement requirements.
3. Show proof of social security number.
4. Meet Indiana driver record eligibility requirements as determined by the State.
5. Fill out an application including certifications.
6. Provide a DOT medical certificate and pass the required CDL knowledge and vision tests (BEFORE a CDL Temporary Instruction Permit will be issued).
7. Pay the Indiana CDL fees.
8. Schedule, take, and pass your Indiana CDL skills test.
A separate booklet is included in the Indiana CDL Course package which covers information such as fees, locations, contacts, procedures and other items specific to Indiana for the written and skills examinations for ALL classes of CDL and ALL available endorsements.
What is a CDL "Skills Test" and how do I take it?
A "skills" test is the practical portion of the exam and includes . . .
1. A vehicle inspection test to measure your ability to perform a vehicle safety check.
2. A basic control skills test.
3. A driving test.
The skills test is normally given at an approved third party testing site in your area. This can vary and the latest procedures are indicated in the Indiana CDL Course.
So let's say I get a Indiana CDL. Can I use it Out-of-State?
Yes! It is good throughout the entire United States.
Can my Indiana CDL be suspended or revoked?
Yes, there are MANY reasons that your Indiana CDL can be suspended or revoked. Improper use of alcohol or drugs, traffic violations, and failure to notify top the list. The Course details ALL of the rules regarding suspension or revocation. The point to remember is that alcohol or drug use is not tolerated and your record WILL FOLLOW YOU THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES FOREVER!!!
So let's say that my Indiana CDL is revoked. Can't I just apply for a CDL in another State?
No!!! Those days are gone.
Are there any exemptions to being required to have Indiana CDL?
Yes, a few . . .
1. Active Duty Military . . . with military licenses operating military vehicles.
2. Firefighters . . . meeting approved training standards and operating authorized emergency vehicles.
3. Farmers . . . in certain cases.
4. Individuals ....operating motor homes or other vehicles used exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for non business purposes.
What do the terms Class A, Class B, and Class C mean on my Indiana CDL?
It refers to the type of vehicle that you may operate . . .
CLASS A . . . allows you to operate vehicles which tow trailers or other vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds. A Class "A" license also allows you to operate Class B and C vehicles.
CLASS B . . . allows you to operate single vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more OR a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, towing trailers/vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds GVWR or less. A Class "B" license also allows you to operate Class C vehicles.
CLASS C . . .allows you to operate vehicles under 26,001 lbs. GVWR, that would normally not require a CDL; except when they are designed to transport 16 or more persons including the driver; or that carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation, or carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding. Applicable endorsements are required.
What are Endorsement Codes and when do I need them on my Indiana CDL?
Endorsements are necessary for certain commercial driving requirements as follows . . .
(T) DOUBLE or TRIPLE TRAILERS.
(P) PASSENGER. For vehicles which are designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver); or those which carry 15 or less people (including the driver) transporting children to or from school and home regularly for compensation.
(N) TANK VEHICLES. For vehicles designed to haul liquids or liquefied gases in bulk in permanently mounted tanks or portable tanks rated at 1,000 gallons or more.
(H) HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. To carry hazardous materials in amounts requiring placards.
(X) Endorsement code designating a Tank (N) vehicle that carries Hazardous Materials (H).
I'm over 18 years old, but not 21 years old yet. Can I get a Indiana CDL license?
Yes . . . with restrictions. You are limited to INTRAstate driving of commercial vehicles (you cannot drive a commercial truck or bus out of Indiana). You cannot drive a vehicle requiring HAZ MAT placarding, cannot drive double or triple trailer rigs and cannot drive a School Bus with children on board until you turn 21 years of age.