Indiana DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ
If you’re planning on applying for your Indiana state driver’s license or learner’s permit soon, then it’s important that you prepare for your written test with an official copy of the Indiana driver’s handbook from your nearest DMV field office. However, you may also find the following FAQ helpful in anticipating what you can expect from the experience. Be sure to study for your written test with a practice test to maximize your chances of passing on the first try!
Does Indiana have a graduated driver’s licensing program (GDL) for first-time/teenaged drivers?
Yes. Most states these days have some form of graduated driver’s licensing program in place and Indiana is no exception. Such programs have been proven to help young drivers develop the right skills at the right times in order to become responsible, lifelong drivers. Under the Indiana GDL, you’ll be required to first obtain your learner’s permit. Next, you’ll earn a provisional driver’s license that comes attached to a few restrictions. Finally, you’ll be eligible for your unrestricted adult driver’s license once you’re of age and meet all necessary requirements.
What about driver’s education? Is that a requirement in the state of Indiana?
While some states’ graduated driver’s licensing programs do require you to complete a state-approved driver’s ed course, it isn’t required in Indiana. However, it should be understood that it’s to your benefit to complete one anyway. Not only will you learn valuable skills that will greatly benefit you as a driver, but you’ll be able to get your learner’s permit and provisionary Indiana license much sooner than you would otherwise.
You can sign up for driver’s ed starting at 15 years of age. A standard course consists of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of hands-on behind the wheel training with a certified instructor. If you like, you can substitute online training for time spent in a brick and mortar classroom.
What is a driver’s education skills test waiver and am I eligible for one?
If you’re taking driver’s ed and you have your Indiana learner’s permit, you might have the option of taking your required driving skills test at the tail end of your driver’s ed course. If you are eligible and you elect to go with this option, then you will not have to report for an additional road test at the DMV field office. You are eligible if:
- Your learner’s permit is current and valid in every way
- The driver’s ed program you’re enrolled in participates in the DMV’s official driving test waiver program.
- You received passing grades of 79% or better on all portions of your driver’s ed course.
However, it’s important to note that you only get one shot at passing your road skills test using this option. If you fail, then you’ll be required to retest at a DMV field office.
What documents do I need to bring when I apply for my driver’s license/learner’s permit?
As is the case in most states, Indiana will require you to bring proof of identity, date of birth, and residency. You will also need to provide the Indiana DMV with your social security number. Accepted identity proof documents include your birth certificate, U.S. passport, or consular report of birth abroad. Popular choices for proof of residency include utility bills, bank statements, rental agreements, and pay stubs.
If you’re underage, you will also be required to prove that you are enrolled in school. (Proof of school enrollment also counts as proof of residency in Indiana.) You’ll also need to bring your parent or legal guardian with you so that they can sign your application.
What tests will I be required to pass in order to get my learner’s permit?
You will be required to pass a standard vision test at the time of enrollment, so be sure to arrive wearing any prescription eyewear you may require. You’ll also be required to pass your Indiana DMV written test at that time. Be sure you’ve studied the state driver’s handbook extensively in preparation. You may also wish to maximize your chances of passing on the first try by studying with a practice test designed to mimic the actual test-taking experience.
I’m new to Indiana, but I already have my driver’s license. Will I need to retest in order to transfer my license to Indiana?
If you’re a licensed driver that has just moved to Indiana (or is planning to in the near future), you will have 60 days to have your license transferred from your previous state of residence. Most people do not have to retake any portion of their driver’s testing. Exceptions include those whose licenses have been expired for more than 3 years and teens that are younger than 18 and have not had their licenses for at least 180 days.
What will be covered on my driving skills exam?
Whether you wind up taking your driving skills exam at the DMV or through your state-approved driver’s ed course, you’ll be tested on the same things – your ability to drive safely on public roads and basic maneuvering of a vehicle. Examples of tasks you’ll be asked to perform include:
- Backing up of the vehicle (including from out of a parking space)
- Proper, safe use of intersections
- Parallel parking
- Lawful Indiana signaling practices
If I fail my road test, how long do I have to wait until I can take it again?
Should you happen to fail your Indiana road skills test, you’ll be required to wait a minimum of 14 days before you can take it again. If you fail the test three times, you will have to wait a minimum of 2 months before you can retest. That said, it pays to make sure you get plenty of practice behind the wheel so that you can pass sooner rather than later. Consider having a parent, licensed sibling, or licensed older friend coach you as far as what to expect when you show up to take your road test to increase your chances of doing well.