How to Get Your Indiana Driver's License
Applying for an Indiana driver's license is an exciting time in any teen's life. It is one of the first milestones that you will encounter as you get older. Getting your driver's license includes several steps that are outlined below. Even though the process is not as simple as it is for adults, it is not overly complicated if you know what to expect before you go to the license office.
The Probationary Driver's License in Indiana
If you're under 21 when you apply for your Indiana driver's license, you will start off with what is called a probationary license. To be granted a probationary license, you will need to meet the different age requirements that the state of Indiana has, and have had your learner's permit for 180 days. If you're under 18 years of age, you will also need to have a parent or guardian sign a financial liability form and submit a log of all of your supervised driving (more on that below).
A financial liability form is a form that states the signing adult is also responsible for any damage or injury that is incurred as a result of an accident when the minor is driving.
The age requirements that go along with a probationary license are as follows:
- You must be 16 years and three months old and have successfully completed a driver education program that is approved by the State of Indiana.
- If you are at least 16 years and 270 days old, you do not need to complete a driver's ed program
Exams and Tests Needed
There are a few tests that you may be required to take before you get your Indiana driver's license. These different tests are listed below, along with some information about each exam or test you will be taking.
- Knowledge test–Indiana residents who are applying for a driver's license will probably have already taken the knowledge test when they applied for their learner's permit. If you've already taken it and do not have any points on your probationary license, you will not be required to retake it. If you have just moved to Indiana and want to get an Indiana driver's license, you will be required to take the knowledge test again. Another reason you might have to retake the knowledge exam is if your permit/license has been expired for over 180 days. Appointments are not necessary to take the knowledge test unless you have special needs of some kind. Get to the license office at least an hour before it closes so you have time to take the exam without rushing.
- Basic vision test–Another simple test you will be required to take is a basic vision test. This test is designed to make sure that you can see the traffic signs and roadways accurately. If you don't pass the vision test you will not be issued a license. You should seek additional health care from an eye doctor if you have trouble seeing accurately during the exam.
- Driving skills test–You will also need to take a driving skills test before you are given your driver's license. Be sure to schedule an appointment to take the driving skills test, and get to the office at least 15 minutes before your appointment begins.
There are several things to know about concerning your driving skills test.
- Bring your parent or guardian, or another individual that has a valid driver's license.
- The only one allowed in the car with you while you take the driving skills test is the certified examiner.
- Make sure you have your valid learner's permit in your purse or wallet.
- The vehicle you are taking the exam in has to be road-legal and in clean, safe condition.
- The vehicle you are using to take the exam needs to be registered properly. You will need to show the registration and proof of insurance to the examiner.
- If you are using a rental vehicle to take the driving skills test, you will need to be listed on the rental contract from the rental agency as an authorized driver.
If you don't pass the driving skills examination, you will need to wait 14 days before taking the exam again. If you fail three times while you have your permit, you will not be able to take the exam for two months from the date of the last failed test.
Important Documentation Needed
- During the time that you have your learner's permit, you will need to complete a minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving with either a licensed instructor or a parent who is at least 25 years old and has a valid Indiana driver's license. 10 of the 50 hours need to be nighttime driving. The person riding with you needs to be related by marriage, legal status, or blood. If you are married and your spouse is 21 years old with a valid license, they can be your accompanying driver.
- If you are under 18, a licensed driver education instructor who works under the supervision of a state-approved school that does driver training can ride in the car with you. If you are over 18, the licensed driver who accompanies you must be at least 25 years old with a current, valid Indiana driver's license or if you are married, your spouse needs to be at least 21 years old with a current driver's license.
- Make sure to log your practice time in a log of supervised driving and give it to the license office when you apply for your driver's license. If there is a G restriction on your learner's permit the 10 hours of nighttime driving are not required, but you will still have to complete and log a total of 50 hours.
Restrictions for the Probationary Driver's License
Once you have your probationary driver's license, there are some restrictions that you must adhere to. These restrictions are listed below.
- You cannot use any type of phone or communication device while you are driving unless you are calling 911.
- No driving between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for a minimum of 6 months (180 days) after you have obtained your probationary license. Additionally, drivers younger than 18 years old are not allowed to drive between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You are also not allowed to drive after 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday or before 5:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.
- If you are driving back and forth to work, you are attending a religious or school-related event, or you are accompanied by an adult who is at least 25 years of age who has a valid driver's license, you are allowed to drive at any time. You may also drive with a spouse as long as the spouse is at least 21 years old and has a valid driver's license with full driving privileges.
- Drivers with a probationary license may not drive with any passengers for at least 6 months after obtaining their probationary license, unless the passenger is a licensed driver who is at least 25 years old and sitting in the front seat (or it can be your spouse if they are at least 21 years old and have a valid, full-privilege license). However, you are allowed to drive your siblings, spouse, child, or stepchild during the allowed hours without another licensed driver in the car.
Your probationary driver's license expires 30 days after you turn 21. You can't renew your probationary license before your 21st birthday. If you have gotten any points on your probationary license, you will need to retake the Indiana Knowledge Test before getting your regular license. Otherwise, the probationary status ends and you will have an unrestricted driver's license.