Gianni Evangelisti Authored By: Gianni Evangelisti

Indiana - IN CDL Overview

A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) is a driver's license required by Indiana to operate any type of vehicle which

  • transports quantities of hazardous supplies that require warning placards under Division of Transportation laws
  • is designed to transport sixteen or more passengers, together with the driver. This includes (but is not restricted to) tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses.
  • has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lb or more for business use

The CDL is ruled by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. The CDL regulations are designed to insure highway safety by requiring that truck drivers and drivers of tractor trailers and buses meet minimum standards.  The Act additionally permits the removing of drivers that are deemed unsafe or unqualified. States such as Indiana are given the authority to issue Commercial Driver’s Licenses, but the minimal federal government requirements must be met.

Prepare for your IN CDL tests with our free Indiana CDL practice tests

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Indiana CDL License Groups - IN CDL Classes

Commercial Driver’s Licenses are issued by Indiana in response to the CDL License classes specified below.
Group A (Combination Vehicle) CDL License

Any vehicle or combination of vehicles that has a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.  In the event you have a Group A CDL license, you are allowed to drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles of any size.

Group B (Heavy Straight Vehicle) CDL License

Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle less than 10,000 pounds GVWR. With a Group B CDL license, you might be allowed to drive any single vehicle regardless of weight. As well as, you are allowed to tow a trailer if the trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is less than 10,000 pounds. If the trailer you might be towing has a GVWR of greater than 10,000 pounds, and the combined vehicle weight rating is greater than 26,000 pounds, you will need a Class A CDL.

Group C (Small Vehicle) CDL License 

A Class C CDL license is intended to cover any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that doesn’t meet the Group A or Group B definitions, but that either is designed to move sixteen or more passengers (including the driver), or is meant to transport Hazardous Materials (HazMat).

With a Group C CDL license, you may drive any vehicle designed to transport sixteen or more passengers, including the driver, if the GVWR is less than 26,001 pounds and you have a passenger endorsement. In addition, a Class C CDL also helps you to operate any vehicle used to move hazardous supplies if the GVWR is lower than 26,001 pounds and you have the correct endorsement.

Indiana CDL Exam Overview

Examinations for the IN CDL License include both skills tests and knowledge exams.

The CDL Knowledge Examinations consist of a general test, a number of endorsement examinations, and an air brakes examination.  The tests that you will take depend on the license classification that you're obtaining (Class A, B, or C) and the kind of vehicle that you will be driving (e.g., Tanker, Double/Triple, Passenger Bus).

Please consult with our free Indiana CDL practice exams that can help you prepare for your IN CDL examinations.

General Test Overview

Drivers of every CDL class need to pass a General Knowledge examination which contains questions about driving safety, vehicle inspection, road signs, traffic laws and other information it's worthwhile to find out to drive a commercial vehicle in Indiana.

Endorsement Test Overview

In addition to the general knowledge exam, you must also take and pass various endorsement examinations depending on the kind of vehicle that you may be operating.  The endorsement exams are described below.

  • Tankers endorsement - to drive a commercial tank vehicle (over 26,000 pounds) designed to move any liquid or gaseous material within a tank that's permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis. Portable tanks having a rated capacity under 1,000 gallons are not required to have this endorsement.
  • Double and triple trailer endorsement - to pull double and triple trailers.
  • Passenger endorsement - to drive any vehicle, except a school bus, designed to carry sixteen or more individuals, together with the driver.
  • School bus endorsement - required to drive school buses designed to carry sixteen or more persons, together with the driver that's transport students to or from school and authorized school activities. Moreover, a driver must obtain a passenger endorsement before obtaining a school bus endorsement.
  • Hazardous materials endorsement - to drive any vehicle carrying hazardous materials.  Hazmat materials are identified by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services and require a Hazmat placard.

Air Brakes Exam

When you plan on driving any commercial vehicle that has air brakes, you should take and pass the air brakes test to take away the air brakes restriction from your CDL.  The air brakes test is different than the endorsement exams because the air brakes examination works as a restriction instead of an endorsement.  If you do not pass the air brakes test, your CDL will bear a mark of restriction which means that you're not approved to drive a commercial vehicle with air brakes.

Indiana CDL License Requirements and IN CDL General Qualifications

In keeping with federal laws, a CDL operator is certified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in Indiana if they:

  • Are no less than 21 years old.
  • Can read and speak English sufficient to talk with the general public, to understand highway traffic signals and indicators, to answer official inquiries, and to make reports and records.
  • Are physically certified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Have a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued by only one state.
  • Have given out their employer a listing of violations or the certificates as required
  • Are not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle
  • Have successfully passed a driver’s road test and related knowledge examinations and have been issued a commercial driver’s license by the state of Indiana

More detailed Indiana CDL Requirements can be found in the IN handbook link found within the section below.

Indiana CDL Handbook and Resources

Indiana CDL Handbook - gives IN CDL requirements and application information

Indiana CDL Agency - Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles CDL

Indiana Government Center North
100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Customer Contact Center: 888-692-6841
Hours:  8:15 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday

This information applies to the entire state of XSTATEX as well as the cities of: Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend.


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