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Commercial Driver License Suspension in Indiana
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) uses both state and federal laws to standardize commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operator regulations.
Committing any of the following offenses leads to a disqualified or suspended commercial driver’s license (CDL):
- Serious traffic violations and major offenses.
- See “About Your Suspended CDL in IN” below for the definition of each.
- Railroad-highway grade crossing (RRHGC) offenses while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
- Violating out-of-service orders (OOSO) while operating a CMV.
You cannot legally operate a CMV with a disqualified, suspended, or revoked IN commercial driver license. Because your CDL plays a huge role in your livelihood, it’s important to reinstate it as soon as you can.
Read below for information on disqualifying offenses, penalties, and reinstatement options.
The IN BMV works with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to regulate commercial driving laws.
NOTE: You are required to notify your employer within 30 days of any traffic conviction. Also, you must notify your employer of any license suspension, revocation, or cancellation, and give them information regarding all your driving jobs you’ve had over the past 10 years.
State and federal law lists major offenses as:
- Alcohol- and drug-related offenses, such as:
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04%.
- Refusing to take a blood or breath test (violating the implied consent law).
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
- Using the commercial vehicle to commit a felony, including the manufacturing and distributing of a controlled substance.
- Causing a death due to negligent CMV operation.
- Operating a commerical vehicle while you have a disqualified, suspended, or revoked commercial driver’s license.*
Whether in a CMV or a non-CMV, major offenses can lead to IN CDL disqualification.
The length of time your Indiana commercial driver’s license will be disqualified is based on how many violations you’ve committed:
- 1st violation: 1 year.
- 3 years if transporting hazardous materials.
- 2nd violation: Lifetime disqualification.
- Possible eligibility for CDL reinstatement after 10 years.
* You can possibly be fined up to $5,000 or even put you in jail for driving without a valid CMV. Also, employers must not allow their drivers who have disqualified CDLs to drive a commercial vehicle, and can also be fined up to $5,000 or jailed for doing so.
Serious Traffic Violations
Indiana state and federal law lists serious traffic violations as:
- Reckless driving or excessive speeding.
- Improperly changing lanes.
- Following other vehicles too closely.
- Violating any motor vehicle traffic control law that results in a fatal accident.
- Operating a CMV without a CDL, without a CDL on your person, or without the proper CDL endorsements.
You will serve the following disqualification penalties consecutively:
- 1st violation: No disqualification.
- 2nd violation within 3 years: 60 days.
- 3rd violation within 3 years: 120 days.
Serious violations committed in a non-commerical vehicle won’t be included UNLESS the violation leads to the suspension, revocation, or cancellation of your license or your regular (non-commercial) driving privileges.
Railroad Highway Grade Crossing violations are offenses related to how you operate your Indiana CMV when crossing a railroad.
Examples of such violations include:
- Failing to slow down and make sure the tracks are clear.
- Failing to stop when required.
- Driving across the tracks when there isn’t sufficient space for the CMV.
You face the following IN CDL disqualification penalties for RRHGC violations:
- 1st violation: Minimum of 60 days.
- 2nd violation within 3 years: Minimum of 120 days.
- 3rd violation, or any subsequent violations within 3 years: At least 1 year.
Violations of Out-of-Service Orders are divided into Category 1 and Category 2 offenses.
Violations in Category 1 includes those related to vehicles designed to transport at least 16 passengers and those that carry hazardous materials. Category 1 violations come with the following CDL disqualification periods in Indiana:
- 1st violation: Between 180 days and 2 years.
- 2nd violation within 10 years: 3 – 5 years.
Category 2 includes violations by drivers NOT in Category 1, which come with the following CDL disqualification periods:
- 1st violation: Between 180 days and 1 year.
- 2nd violation within 10 years: 2 – 5 years.
- 3rd violation: 3 – 5 years.
Financial penalties can also come hand in hand with OSOO violations:
- 1st conviction: Minimum $2,500 fine.
- 2nd convictions (or subsequent convictions): Minimum $5,000 fine.
For even more detailed information on CDL penalties and laws, you can refer to:
Check Your Driver License Status
Knowing what’s on your driving record is important; it could mean the difference between legally driving your CMV and having a valid CDL at all.
When you order a copy of your Indiana driving record, you can find out:
- Your driver license status, including whether your regular driver’s license and/or CDL is valid or suspended.
- Information about:
- General traffic tickets (e.g., speeding tickets).
- Serious traffic violations (e.g., DUI or DWI).
DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenses are considered major offenses and include:
- Operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more.
- Operating a CMV under the influence of a controlled substance.
- Violating IN’s implied consent law (i.e. refusing a blood or chemical alcohol test).
You face the following penalties for CDL DWI offenses in Indiana:
- 1st violation: CDL suspension/disqualification for 1 year.
- 3 years if you were transporting hazardous materials.
- 2nd violation: Disqualification for life.
- You may be eligible for IN CDL reinstatement after 10 years.
Remember, DWI violations (like all other major offenses) can result in the disqualification of your CDL, even if they occur while you are operating a non-CMV.
Generally, CDL reinstatement requires:
- Expiration of the suspension or disqualification period.
- Meeting all special requirements, such as alcohol or substance abuse counseling.
- Paying your reinstatement fee and any other related fines.
NOTE: If your CDL has been reinstated after 10 years of a lifetime disqualification penalty and you commit a subsequent offense, you cannot have your CDL reinstated again.
For information more specific to your CDL suspension or disqualification, including the fees you may be required to pay, contact your local IN BMV office.
- Serious traffic violations and major offenses.