The coming of COVID-19 has caused an upsurge in demand for truck drivers across the US amid the never-ending shortage of qualified CDL drivers.
Like most other states, Indiana requires qualified commercial drivers to deliver goods to customers in homes and offices at this time when online purchases have spiked.
If you are interested in a trucking career, you should consider starting it in Indiana. This article explores the necessary Indiana CDL requirements that you must fulfill to get your CDL.
You can find the Indiana CDL practice test on the , which has both free and paid tests.
How to Get a CDL in Indiana
Getting a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Indiana calls for fulfilling all the CDL requirements for the state.
The requirements include medical standards, age, identity proof, paying applicable fees, among other things discussed below.
Indiana CDL Requirements
The following Indiana CDL requirements are a must-fulfill if you want to obtain your CDL in the state.
1. Age: Intrastate commerce drivers must be at least 18 years old to drive CMVs within Indiana state lines.
For interstate commerce beyond Indiana state lines, you must be at least 21 years old. The same age is required if you wish to transport hazardous materials or carry passengers.
2. Proof of Legal Residence and Identity: All CDL applicants must prove to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) that they are lawful residents of Indiana and citizens of the US.
You are required to present two valid documents to prove Indiana residency.
Some documents for proving your identity, legal residency, and citizenship include:
- US birth certificate
- Valid Social Security Number Card
- Valid US passport or Green Card for Non-US citizens
- Permanent Residence Card
- Certificate of Naturalization
3. Prior Driving Experience and Driver’s License: You must have held an Indiana Driver’s License in good standing with at least one year of driving experience.
The license must not be revoked, canceled, or disqualified at the time.
4. CDL Fees: Various CDL fees should be paid to allow you to obtain your CDL. We’ll cover the applicable fees later on in the article.
5. Indiana State Police Check: Indiana requires each CDL applicant to request the Indiana State Police to check if he or she has been involved in an accident or crash during the duration of the CDL application review.
6. English Language Comprehension: CDL applicants must be able to read, speak, and write in English fluently.
7. Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP): A CLP is necessary to allow you to start your training as a driver in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) under the instruction of a CDL holder.
8. Knowledge Tests and Skills Test: To obtain your CLP, you must pass a CLP General Knowledge Test.
The CLP results are valid for 180 days once you pass the test. The CLP itself is valid for 180 days from the date issued.
Only three CLPs are allowable in two years. You should hold your CLP for at least 14 days before taking the CDL Skills Test.
The CDL Skills Test comprises a Pre-trip Inspection Test, Basic Controls Test, and Road Trip Test.
9. Physical and Medical Requirements: You must pass a DOT physical exam for various aspects.
Some aspects of the physical exam include:
The two medical documents must be completed by an FMCSA-approved medical examiner, such as a medical doctor, chiropractor, or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.
For self-certification, you should specify the type of commerce you will be involved in and whether you must have the DOT medical card.
You can self-certify in the following categories:
- Interstate Excepted – Interstate driver who doesn’t have to have the DOT medical card
- Interstate Non-excepted – Interstate driver who must have the DOT medical card
- Intrastate Excepted – Intrastate driver who doesn’t have to have the DOT medical card
- Intrastate Non-excepted – Intrastate driver who must have the DOT medical card
How to Get a CDL Permit in Indiana
The CDL permit is the first thing you should obtain in the entire CDL process. The permit allows you to start training as a commercial motor vehicle driver.
You must fulfill general requirements such as age, proof of identity, proof of residency, payment of CLP fees, and the medical requirements to apply for a CLP.
Once you are set and have thoroughly prepared, you should take and pass the CLP General Knowledge Test to be issued with a CDL permit that is valid for 180 days.
How Much Does a CDL License Cost in Indiana?
The cost of getting a CDL license in Indiana depends on various components, as outlined below.
How Much is a CDL Permit in Indiana?
The Indiana CDL permit or CLP costs $17.
How Long Does It Take To Get a CDL in Indiana?
It takes an average of seven weeks to complete a full-time CDL training program and obtain your Indiana CDL.
Accelerated programs take 3-4 weeks, while part-time programs may take up to six months.
Your CDL will take some time to arrive in your mail. The CDL remains valid for four years and expires on your birthday or by the end of the next business day if your birthday falls on a non-business day.
Indiana CDL Disqualifications
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles may disqualify your Indiana CDL for the following reasons.
Serious Traffic Violations
- Erratic lane changes
- Excessive speeding at 15 mph or more above the recommended speed limits
- Driving behind another vehicle too closely
- Driving recklessly
- Violating traffic controls and causing a fatality that way
- Driving a CMV without a CDL
- Texting on the phone when driving a CMV
Two serious traffic violations within three years lead to a 60-day disqualification. Three or more offenses within three years attract a 120-day disqualification period.
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Committing a felony using a CMV
- Causing a CMV-related fatality through negligence
- Driving a CMV during a disqualification period
- Driving a CMV when you have a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or higher
- Driving a CMV under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol
- Failure to consent to a chemical test
A one-year disqualification duration applied for most major offenses.
A 3-year disqualification period is handed to drivers caught in a major offense when transporting hazardous materials or 16 passengers or more, the driver included.
A lifetime CDL disqualification is given for subsequent major offenses or if you use a CMV to distribute controlled substances.
An out-of-service order or OSO may be issued to the driver or the CMV itself if the driver is found driving the CMV with any level of blood alcohol content or during an out-of-service order duration.
- The first OSO violation in ten years would translate to disqualification of 180 days to a whole year or up to two years if the driver was operating a HazMat CMV or carrying 16 persons or more.
You could also be fined at least $3,174.
- A second OSO violation in ten years calls for disqualification of 2-5 years or at least three years if you were driving a HazMat CMV or transporting 16 or more persons.
A fine of at least $6,348 may also apply.
- A third OSO violation in ten years leads to 3-5 years of CDL disqualification. A fine of at least $6,348 may also apply.
An employer who knowingly allows his driver to violate an OSO may be fined $5,732-$31,737.
Railroad Crossing Offenses
- Not stopping or slowing down at a railroad-highway crossing whether or not you are required to do so
- Not stopping at the crossing when you are required to stop
- Not obeying a traffic control device or the instructions of an enforcement officer at the railroad crossing
- Not stopping when you are not required to, and the tracks are not clear
- Not leaving sufficient space for successful crossing without stopping
- Not negotiating a crossing fully because the undercarriage clearance is insufficient
A first-time railroad crossing offense attracts at least 60 days of CDL disqualification.
Your CDL will be disqualified for at least 120 days if you commit a second offense and at least one year for subsequent violations within three years.
For railroad-highway crossing offenses, the employer may be fined up to $16,453.
Commercial License Types & Classes in Indiana
Indiana State has three CDL classes based on the weight of the CMV. These classes are as discussed below.
Class A CDL
A Class A CDL is for any combination vehicle whose Gross Combined Weight Rating (GVWR) is more than 26,000 pounds, with the pulled trailer/trailers weighing over 10,000 pounds.
Drivers with a Class A CDL and the proper endorsements can drive CMVs in Classes B and C.
Class B CDL
A Class B CDL permits the driver to operate any single or combination vehicle whose gross weight rating exceeds 26,000 pounds and tows a unit weighing 10,000 pounds or less.
Class B CDL drivers can operate Class C vehicles if they have the proper endorsements.
Class C CDL
A Class C CDL applies for vehicles that do not fit the definition of Classes A and B, vehicles placarded to transport hazardous materials, or vehicles meant to transport 16 or more passengers with the driver included.
Indiana CDL Endorsements
Indiana State has six endorsements CDL drivers can add to their CDL to strengthen it and stand chances of making more money.
The endorsements are outlined below:
- Endorsement H – Offered to CDL drivers who will be transporting hazardous materials or waste.
- Endorsement N – Required if drivers transport bulk gases or liquids in a 119-gallon individual tank or a 1,000-gallon aggregate tank.
- Endorsement X – Allows a CDL driver to carry hazardous materials and operate tank vehicles.
- Endorsement T – Allows drivers to operate any CMV with two or three attached but separate trailers.
- Endorsement S – Permits drivers to drive buses meant to carry students to and from home, to and from school, or to and from any school-sponsored event.
- Endorsement P – Permits drivers to drive CMVs designed to carry 16 or more persons, including the driver.
Why is Indiana a Great Place to Start a Truck Driving Career?
Starting your trucking career in Indiana is a wise decision you might want to consider for some reasons, such as the ones outlined below.
Travel to Fun Places
Indiana is full of fun places you might want to visit in your leisure time when you take some time off active truck driving.
In Indiana, some key places to visit include the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Zoo, Marengo Cave, White River State Park, Conner Prairie Museum, and Little Nashville town.
Flat Topography and Country Roads
Indiana is an essentially flat state with vast farmlands where farmers grow Indiana’s famous corn.
The Indiana country roads led to the state’s codename, “Crossroads of America”, which befits the state as you can’t get lost in it as all major highways flow right into the capital Indianapolis.
The state of the roads makes it easy for truck drivers to access any place within Indiana and directly link back to the capital without losing their way.
What’s more, if you work for Indiana trucking companies such as Knight Transportation, Continental Express Inc., and Hogan Transport, your family members can ride along with you!
Low Cost of Living
Indiana’s cost of living index is 82.1, making it fall into the top ten list of America’s most affordable states. Indianapolis is one of America’s cheapest cities.
Indiana’s housing index is the second-lowest in the US, making the state even more favorable to live and work in as a truck driver.
Indiana is also one of the few US states that charge lower income tax, meaning you have more disposable income for use.
Job Outlook and Salary For Truck Driving in Indiana
Now that you know how to obtain your Indiana CDL and why the state is one of the best places to start your career as a trucker, here’s how the trucking job scene looks like in the state.
The American Trucking Associations expects freight volumes in the US to grow by 36% from 2020 to 2031.
The high growth is occasioned by, among other factors, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 70 percent of the 650 billion dollars worth of goods moved through Indiana each day pass through the state’s friendly highways, meaning truck drivers are always in for handsome earnings.
What is the Demand For Truck Drivers in Indiana?
The Next Generation in Trucking Association projects that the US will have a shortage of 174,000 truck drivers by 2026.
As the “Crossroads of America”, Indiana will feel the pinch of this shortage as most CDL drivers are in their 50s and looking to retire soon, yet very few young people are getting into truck driving.
How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in Indiana?
Indeed puts the average base salary for truck drivers at $72,505 per year.
Drivers with less than one year of trucking experience earn about $68,079, while those with 6-9 years of experience make $77,413. Those with over ten years of experience earn up to $81,869.
Indiana is a super-friendly state for truck drivers, given the state’s friendly people, good roads, low cost of living, and lower income tax.
The latter means you’ll pocket more of what you earn, hence more disposable income.
To secure a job as a truck driver in the state, you must first obtain an Indiana commercial driver’s license once you fulfill all the CDL requirements for the state.
People Also Ask
This last section of our discussion provides answers to some common questions people ask about Indiana CDL requirements.
What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL in Indiana?
You will be disqualified from getting a CDL in Indiana if you are caught or convicted of any of the following:
- Major offenses, such as fleeing an accident scene
- Out-of-Service Order violations, such as driving a CMV during an out-of-service period
- Railroad-highway grade crossing offenses, such as not slowing down or stopping at the crossing
- Serious traffic offenses, such as changing lanes erratically.
How Much Does CDL School Cost in Indiana?
CDL training in Indiana CDL schools can cost from as low as $2,500 and as high as $13,802. However, the average cost is $4,500.
Can You Get a CDL With a DUI in Indiana?
A DUI won’t prevent you from getting a CDL in Indiana. You can always get your license back once the disqualification period of one year, three years, or a lifetime elapses.
First-time DUIs lead to a one-year disqualification, while subsequent offenses lead to a lifetime disqualification, but you may be allowed to reinstate your CDL after ten years.
How Many Questions Are on the Indiana CDL Test?
The Indiana CDL test contains 50 questions, and you must get at least 40 of them right to achieve the set pass rate of 80%.
If you fail the test, you can retake it the following day. A compulsory 60-day waiting period is required if you fail the test the first three times.
Where Can You Find The Indiana CDL Practice Test?
You can find the practice test on the DMV Permit Test website.