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Bureau of Motor Vehicles

myBMV > Commercial Driver's License Commercial Driver's License

Indiana CDL Skills Test Matrix Update

Effective August 31, 2015 the items below will be added to the Indiana CDL Skills Test scoring for compliance with the AAMVA 2005 CDL Skills Test Matrix as required by federal regulation 49 CFR 383.131(b):

Additional items of inspection for all commercial motor vehicle types:

Safe Start:

  • Depress clutch.
  • Place gearshift lever in neutral (or park, for automatic transmissions).
  • Start engine, then release clutch slowly.

Service Brake Check:

  • You will be required to check the application of air or hydraulic service brakesThis procedure is designed to determine that the brakes are working correctly and that the vehicle does not pull to one side or the other.
  • Pull forward at 5 mph, apply the service brake and stop. Check to see that the vehicle does not pull to either side and that it stops when brake is applied.

Catwalk/Steps, if applicable:

  • Check that the catwalk is solid, clear of objects, and securely bolted to tractor frame.
  • Check that steps leading to the cab entry and catwalk (if equipped) are solid, clear of objects, and securely bolted to tractor frame

Air Gauge:

  • Make sure the air gauge is working properly.
  • Build air pressure to governor cut-out, roughly 120-140 psi.

Slack Adjustors and Pushrods:

  • Must now identify pushrods during slack adjustor inspection.
  • Look for broken, loose, or missing parts.
  • For manual slack adjustors, the brake pushrod should not move more than one inch (with the brakes released) when pulled by hand.

Internal Light Check:

  • Must now include the Anti-lock braking system (ABS) indicator.

Air Brake Check (Air Brake Equipped Vehicles Only) (This replaces the 4-Point Brake Check.):
Failure to perform all three components of the air brake check correctly will result in an automatic failure of the vehicle inspection test. Air brake safety devices vary. However, this procedure is designed to see that any safety device operates correctly as air pressure drops from normal to a low air condition. For safety purposes, in areas where an incline is present, you will use wheel chocks during the air brake check. The proper procedures for inspecting the air brake system are as follows:

  • With the air pressure built up to governor cutoff (120 – 140 psi), shut off the engine, chock your wheels if necessary, release the parking brake (all vehicles), and the tractor protection valve (combination vehicle) and fully apply the foot brake. Hold the foot brake for one minute. Check the air gauge to see if the air pressure drops more than three pounds in one minute (single vehicle) or four pounds in one minute (combination vehicle).
  • Without re-starting the engine, turn electrical power to the “on” or “battery charge” position. Begin fanning off the air pressure by rapidly applying and releasing the foot brake. Low air warning devices (buzzer, light, flag) should activate before air pressure drops below 60 psi or level specified by the manufacturer.
  • Continue to fan off the air pressure. At approximately 40 psi on a tractor-trailer combination vehicle (or level specified by the manufacturer), the tractor protection valve and parking brake valve should close (pop out). On other combination vehicle types and single vehicle types, the parking brake valve should close (pop out).

Additional items of inspection for Transit/School Bus:

Baggage Compartments, if applicable:

  • Check that baggage and all other exterior compartment doors are not damaged, operate properly, and latch securely.

Additional items of inspection for Straight Truck with Trailer and Tractor/Trailer:

Trailer Axle:

  • One trailer axle shall be inspected in addition to the steer and drive axles.

External Light Check, if applicable:

  • Must identify ABS indicator on rear driver’s side of trailer.

Sliding Pintle:

  • Check that the sliding pintle is secured with no loose or missing nuts or bolts and cotter pin is in place.

Tongue or Draw-bar:

  • Check that the tongue/draw-bar is not bent or twisted and checks for broken welds and stress cracks.
  • Check that the tongue/draw-bar is not worn excessively.

Tongue Storage Area:

  • Check that the storage area is solid and secured to the tongue.
  • Check that cargo in the storage area i.e. chains, binders, etc. are secure.

Hitch Release Lever:

  • Check to see that the hitch release lever is in place and is secure.


  • Check that doors and hinges are not damaged and that they open, close, and latch properly from the outside, if equipped.
  • Ties, straps, chains, and binders must also be secure.
  • If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking, damaged or missing parts and explain how it should be checked for correct operation.
  • Lift must be fully retracted and latched securely.

Basic Control Scoring for all commercial motor vehicle types:

Scoring will be updated as follows:

  • 5 free looks (1 for straight line, 2 offset back-right, 2 parallel park).
  • 5 free pull-ups (1 straight line, 2 offset back-right, 2 parallel park).
  • Vehicle encroachments will assess 2 points each.

Road Test for all commercial motor vehicle types:

Stop/Start Maneuver:

For this maneuver, you will be asked to pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and stop as if you were going to get out and check something on your vehicle. You must check traffic thoroughly in all directions and move to the right-most lane or shoulder of road.

  • As you prepare for the stop:
    • Check traffic.
    • Activate your right turn signal.
    • Decelerate smoothly, brake evenly, change gears as necessary.
    • Bring your vehicle to a full stop without coasting.
  • Once stopped:
    • Vehicle must be parallel to the curb or shoulder of the road and safely out of the traffic flow.
    • Vehicle should not be blocking driveways, fire hydrants, intersections, signs, etc.
    • Cancel your turn signal.
    • Activate your four-way emergency flashers.
    • Apply the parking brake.
    • Move the gear shift to neutral or park.
    • Remove your feet from the brake and clutch pedals.
  • When instructed to resume:
    • Check traffic and your mirrors thoroughly in all directions.
    • Turn off your four-way flashers.
    • Activate the left turn signal.
    • When traffic permits, you should release the parking brake and pull straight ahead.
    • Do not turn the wheel before your vehicle moves.
    • Check traffic from all directions, especially to the left.
    • Steer and accelerate smoothly into the proper lane when safe to do so.
    • Once your vehicle is back into the flow of traffic, cancel your left turn signal.

CDL Self-Certification

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 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.

If you need to self-certify, please click here. 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.

If you have questions about the self-certification process, please review these answers to frequently asked questions.

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 be 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 a Commercial Driver's License

Knowledge Examination and Skills Testing

To obtain 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.

The revised Commercial Driver’s License Manual, 2005 CDL Testing System (July 2014) will replace the current Indiana CDL Manual, Skills and Knowledge SP 283 (R10 9/13).  License branches will receive shipments of the revised manual no later than October 21, 2015 to distribute to the public upon request.

On November 16, 2015, the CDL knowledge exams will be updated to match the material in the Commercial Driver’s License Manual, 2005 CDL Testing System (July 2014).

Prior to November 16, 2015, the CDL knowledge tests will be based on the Indiana CDL Manual, Skills and Knowledge SP 283 (R10 9/13).

On and after November 16, 2015, the CDL knowledge tests will be based on the Commercial Driver’s License Manual, 2005 CDL Testing System (July 2014).

Medical Examination

When applying for your first Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) in Indiana, you must provide a valid Medical Examination Report (MER) and Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC). To maintain a valid CLP or CDL, you must provide a valid MER and MEC prior to the expiration of your current MER and MEC on file with the BMV.

Is your medical examiner certified to administer a CDL medical examination?

Beginning May 21, 2014, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will ONLY accept the “Medical Examination Report and Medical Examiner’s Certificate” completed by a medical examiner certified by the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

For information on the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, visit: National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners Rules and Regulations

Beginning April 20, 2016 the current FMCSA approved “Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875 and Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC) Form, MCSA-5876” provided to you by the FMCSA Certified Medical Examiner must be provided to the BMV for updating your medical status. Failure to provide these documents will result in the medical status of “Not Certified” and the downgrade of any CLP or CDL to base license privileges only.

Indiana applicants must provide both the MER and MEC.

For further information on the medical requirements please visit the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners or Resources for Drivers on the FMCSA website:

Use one of the following options to submit the completed MER and MEC:

  • Fax to 317-974-1613
  • Submit document to any BMV branch
  • Mail to:
    Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    Attn: CDL Programs
    100 N Senate Ave
    IGCN, Room N 481
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

Important: If you have questions regarding your MER and MEC or want to know the status of your MER and MEC, please view your Driver Record using your myBMV account or contact the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 888-692-6841, option number one (1). These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For medical information and federal applications, visit the FMCSA website. There is information on a variety of medical topics, such as the insulin or vision exemption and skills performance evaluation.

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 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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.

Truck Driver Training Schools

The BMV coordinates the licensing and oversight of all driver education schools and instructors. Whether you are interested in public or private driver education courses, motorcycle safety training courses or truck driver training courses, you can now find information on all of these areas on Select the appropriate link(s) to find the specific driver training information that you need.

Driver Education Provider and Instructor Resources

For information and questions regarding truck driver training schools and instructor licensing please contact the CDL Programs department by email at

Transferring a CDL From Out of State

The 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 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

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 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 BMV.

Military CDL Skills Waiver Program

The BMV may waive the required drive skills test for select veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with specific drive training and those who were truck drivers during their military service when they apply for an Indiana Commercial Driver's License (CDL) after issuance of a Indiana Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).

Still Have Questions? Contact The BMV