CDL Testing FAQs

Got a questions about the CDL skills test or how CDL testing is conducted? Check out our CDL Test Questions for answers to your test questions. 

CDL Requirements

Q: How do I know if I need a CDL license?

A: There is a flow chart on page 1-1 of the Indiana CDL manual which explains if you need a CDL license. In general, you will need a commercial license if you drive:

a) a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001# or more.

b) a truck and trailer with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001# or more, provided the trailer being towed has a GVWR of 10,001# or more.

c) a vehicle designed to carry 16 or more people including the driver.

d) any vehicle required to display placards for hazardous materials.

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Q: How do I get a CDL license?

A: Obtain a CDL manual from an Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branch or go to the state of Indiana web site at http://www.in.gov/bmv/2854.htm. Click on Frequently Asked Questions.

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Q: I used to have a CDL several years ago but I turned it in when I wasn’t driving a truck anymore. How do I get it back?

A: Once your license has been surrendered or expired more than one (1) year or your DOT physical has expired for more than one (1) year then you must start all over by getting a new physical, take the appropriate written tests, obtain a new CDL learners permit, and do a skills test.

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Q: My vehicle has air brakes but does not have a GVWR of 26,001# or more. Do I need a CDL license?

A: No, not unless the vehicle you are driving is placarded for hazardous materials or is designed to carry 16 or more people, including the driver.

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Q: I currently have a CDL license with an air brake "L" restriction. I want to drive vehicles with air brakes now. How do I remove that restriction?

A: You must take the air brake written test at the license branch and obtain a new learners permit. Then you must skills test at a Third Party test site. When you pass then you must return to the license branch to change your license.

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Q: I have an "E restriction" (automatic transmission only) on my license. How do I remove that restriction?

A: You must first obtain a new CDL learners permit, with the restriction removed. Then you must skills test in a manual transmission vehicle of the same class or higher as your current license.

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Q: I have a Class A license with an "O restriction" (no semi tractor/trailer). How do I remove that restriction?

A: You must first obtain a new CDL learners permit. If you had an "L restriction" (no air brakes), then take that written test first. Then you must skills test in a semi tractor/trailer. Preferably with a manual transmission. Otherwise you will get an “E restriction” (automatic transmission only).

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CDL Test Questions

Q: I have my learners permit now. How long must I wait before I can take my driving test?

A: Federal regulations now require that you must wait at least 14 days after you obtain your permit before you can take your skills test. And all tests must be scheduled at least 2 days in advance.

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Q: I have my CDL learners permit, what do I do next?

A: Once you have a CDL learner's permit and you are ready for the CDL skills test, you must make an appointment at one of the Third Party skills test sites in Indiana. You may obtain a list of the certified sites from your local BMV license branch. And be sure to study the skills section in the back of your CDL manual (Sections 11, 12, & 13).

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Q: How much does a CDL skills test cost?

A: The CDL skills test cost is regulated by the state of Indiana. Current CDL testing fees are listed for each test site:

Indianapolis Test Site
Northwest Indiana Test Site

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Q: I have a CDL license now but want to add an endorsement or upgrade my license. Do I have to take another CDL skills test?

A: On some endorsements (N tank, T doubles/triples, H hazardous materials) you are only required to take written tests at the license branch, complete the proper paperwork, and pay the appropriate fees. But if you are upgrading your license (going from class B to class A for example) or adding the P passenger or S school bus endorsements then you must take the appropriate written tests, obtain a learners permit, and pass a skills test to change your license.

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