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Obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit

What is required to obtain a CLP?

  • You must be at least 18-years-old if you will be transporting property within state lines or be at least 21-years-old if you will be transporting people, and
  • You must have held a driver's license for at least one year.
  • When applying for your first CDL (or 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.

Required Knowledge Exam

You must pass the specific knowledge exam for the vehicle type that you plan to operate (see the chart on this page.)

The material covered in the knowledge examinations can be found in the CDL test booklet.

View the CDL Manual

Vehicle Type All commercial vehicles All school buses All buses Vehicle with air brakes Combination of vehicles Drivers required to transport hazardous material Drivers required to transport liquids in bulk Drivers required to pull double or triple trailers
Required Exam General knowledge exam School bus endorsement exam and passenger transport exam Passenger transport exam Air brakes exam Combination vehicle exam Hazardous material exam Tanker exam Doubles/triples exam

How long is a CLP valid?

When you pass a knowledge exam, the results are valid for 180 days. You may receive only three CLPs in two years. A CLP is valid for 180 days.

Holders of a valid CLP may operate a commercial motor vehicle only when accompanied by the holder of a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), who has the proper class and endorsement(s) necessary to operate the commercial motor vehicle.

Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT)

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations set the baseline for training requirements for entry-level drivers. The ELDT regulations are effective February 7, 2022.

The regulations affect those who are applying to:

  • Obtain a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time;
  • Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or
  • Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.

The ELDT regulations are not retroactive. If an applicant obtained a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or CDL prior to February 7, 2022 in the above situations the applicant is not subject to the ELDT requirements.

When applicants visit a branch to complete a hazardous materials knowledge exam, BMV branch staff will verify training prior to administration of the exam.

For applicants for the Class A/B, School Bus or Passenger endorsement the training will be verified by the 3rd Party CDL Skills Test site prior to scheduling the CDL skills test.

Still Have Questions?

Send us an email about getting a commercial driver's license learner's permit.

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