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Getting a CDL in Indiana

…is obviously far too easy.
Take a look at the incredible damage done by this woman who didn’t know how high her rig was, and didn’t know how much it weighed.

Apparently the CDL school she attended was just a diploma mill. I wonder if the state’s DMV is going to take a closer look at their program to test for CDL licenses.

A few years ago we had a guy hit an interstate bridge hauling a back hoe. The shovel wasn’t completely down. Did quite a few hundred thousands of dollars in damage. I’m sure their insurance rates went up after that. Gonna be kind of a high towing bill I imagine too.

Gosh, I would hope the CDL process in Indiana wasn’t that bad.

I’m guessing there will be a few changes in the hiring/training/certification process at Louisville Logistics…

Does the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” apply here?

Personally, I think the driver bears the blame here

I “only” have a Class B, not a class A, but I have a pretty good idea of the GVWR of most of the vehicles I drive on the road. I actually look at the sticker on the doorjamb, which lists such information. And if it’s pretty tall, I find out the overall vehicle height, or whatever you want to call it

Many of the trucks I drive are as tall as that combination in the picture. Some of them are crane trucks. And some have those buckets, so the electricians can work on the lines. So yes, before heading towards an underpass, it would be smart to know the height. On many of our trucks, the overall height is posted on the dashboard. Quite thoughtful

And there are several neighborhoods, where the sign clearly says no trucks above such and such weight allowed. Apparently the fines can be steep. Another good reason to know the weight before heading out, or at least read the sticker. Most of the time, I’m driving the trucks empty, for a test drive, so it won’t weigh anywhere near the GVWR listed on the sticker.

Even if the driver doesn’t know her weights, the sign clearly stated no semis allowed. And she’s driving the semi with the trailer attached. Definitely a no-no for crossing that bridge

I think she panicked and made several bad decisions

Even if there had been no signs posted . . . c’mon, man. Look at the bridge, and look at the rig. Doesn’t seem like a very good idea

The Indiana DMV has no control over what happens, after they issue the CDL. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the recent “grads” are decent drivers. How could the DMV accurately predict, that a particular driver is going to make bad decisions? I wouldn’t assume that all of that lady’s former classmates make equally poor decisions

This is one heck of a beginner’s mistake. She’ll probably lose her job. If she keeps on trucking, maybe for somebody else, in the future, I hope she spends more time figuring out the height and weight or her rig, before heading out on the road.

The DMV does, however, have control over the testing requirements to get a CDL. It would seem that knowing the correlation between weights in pounds and tons would be an important test question, asked more than one way on the test.

It is entirely possible however that the lady simply panicked, as already suggested, and could not correlate the two when questioned at the accident cite by the cops. I’ve had stress-induced “brain freeze” on occasion myself.

WOW! :open_mouth: I guess that’s why the companies that hire “new” CDL drivers tend not to pay well, and the “good” driving jobs require “Two Years Recent Verifiable Driving Experience”


Are you suggesting that the lady technically should have failed either the written or driving test, but that DMV nevertheless passed her . . . ?

I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt . . . because we have no evidence to the contrary . . . and believe she legitimately earned her cdl

I’ll go slightly off-topic . . . many years ago, when I got my regular California class c driver’s license, I saw some truly shocking behaviour

People turned in their written tests, and the DMV clerks changed a few answers, so that they would pass. They even said it out loud. It was that blatant, right in front of everybody

I watched some people that had just passed the written test . . . and thus were issued a learner’s permit . . . walk out to the parking lot, get into a car, alone, and drive off

When it came time for the driving test, some people drove themselves to the dmv station, with nobody else in the car. And even those that failed drove themselves home, again, with nobody else in the car

Just because I observed that in California, for a class c, doesn’t mean it happened in Indiana, for a class a cdl


Gosh, I would hope the CDL process in Indiana wasn't that bad.

I seriously doubt it has anything to do with the state…but instead with the training company. There was one company shut down in NH just last year for not training their drivers properly. There’s a lot more to driving then just passing the test.

The only thing I’m suggesting is that either the testing protocol there is lacking, the lady was less than honest when interviewed about being able to convert pounds to tons (perhaps due to “brain freeze” caused by the stress of the situation… I’m allowing for that possibility) or the news report was totally inaccurate… like THAT’s ever happened!!

Nothing more.

My evidence that something is amiss? It’s in the photos.

I had a CDL in Tennessee for a while when I drove the 26-passenger church bus. Tennessee definitely did not rubber-stamp me. I did have to study. I missed a number of items on the road test but passed. A big point of emphasis was drunk/impaired driving, probably to the detriment of other practical items like knowing how heavy your vehicle is and how to convert pounds to tons. I know I was NOT a good driver just by getting a CDL; if I were to do the same thing today, I would try to get the church to send me to some training to learn some more practical stuff. I suppose a CDL is not an endorsement of an individual’s driving skill or judgment; it’s just a minimal test of basic competence.

Probably the various state departments of safety/motor vehicles count on the threat of legal action to motivate the various companies/organizations to select and train competent drivers. Unfortunately, many times deficiencies are only found with the loss of someone’s life. Fortunately in this case, the only losses were a bridge, a truck, a trailer, and a lot of bottled water.

“Fortunately in this case, the only losses were a bridge, a truck, a trailer, and a lot of bottled water.”

What if the loss of that bridge for the months or years that it takes to replace it leads to increased response times for emergency responders? The actual fallout of the loss of that bridge could potentially be the loss of lives of people and/or their homes.

I agree that the loss of a bridge is very significant. There will be impacts on emergency response, commerce, education, and anything else involving transportation. Best-case scenario for replacement is probably six months, more likely 1-2 years. Everyone in that community will have to adjust until it is replaced.

My point was that the underlying problems were not going away until a significant event caused the parties involved to seriously address them. In this significant event, only things that were lost can be replaced. Sometimes it takes a tragic death before a traffic light is installed or an intersection reconfigured because there “just wasn’t money in the budget” to do it before the death occurred.

My hope is that both the Indiana government and the trucking company have gotten a wake-up call to fix the underlying problems before someone does get killed.

There’s only so much you can do to control traffic. The bridge had signs, the lady was allegedly familiar with the bridge, and the truck was clearly and obviously too big and too heavy for the bridge. No traffic control in the world can control a move as dumb as trying to drive that truck across that bridge. None. The bridge didn’t cause the accident and there was no lack of signage or allegedly of familiarity. The only fact that even begins to offer a possible explanation is that the lady was a newly-minted trucker. And even that excuse is a stretch.

The young lady is probably a very nice lady, but the error she made would suggest that she should not have been driving a big rig. How she came to be doing so should, IMHO, be looked into.

Regardless of the stupidity of the driver, historic or not, it was time to replace that bridge with one that can handle modern traffic. We had the huge I 35 bridge go down and it doesn’t take years to replace a bridge. Especially one that small. The insurance company will be helping with the cost on this one so its a blessing in disguise.

Now just to rile people up, was it really a historic bridge or just old? Did it have any architectural significance? Was it an example of a particular design that would make it historic? I’ve been on my share of old bridges and they are truly not pleasant and many of them just fell down. Bridge engineering has changed a lot in 100 years so it should have been turned into a pedestrian bridge or a park some years ago anyway. Of course just in my humble opinion but I am not a particular fan of old things that have become obsolete in daily use.

You made a good point Bing… was it a historic bridge?

But whether it was or not, I cannot agree that all the old bridges in the country need to be replaced with modern bridges. And I disagree with the statement that it doesn’t take years. Just the impact studies can take years, and the bond issue can take years more. It needs to first be subjected to design and environmental impact studies, traffic studies, submitted to the legislature for approval as a part of the state budget, federal highway funds have to be applied for (if they’re relevant) or funding sources have to be determined… only the actual construction happens quickly. Getting to that point takes years.

There are countless thousands of old bridges with weight and size restrictions in the country that still carry local traffic without problems. It’s normal. Proper signage should be all that’s needed, and anyone with a CDL should be paying attention to the weight and size restrictions posted on the bridge.

This is the driver’s fault, pure and simple. And 100%. Can’t blame the bridge.

I cannot agree that all the old bridges in the country need to be replaced with modern bridges.

Coverage bridges in New England have traditionally out lasted a modern steel bridge. They are great for local traffic. But they can’t handle 30ton loads. They are cheaper to build and if done right are designed to last over 100 years.

And I disagree with the statement that it doesn't take years. Just the impact studies can take years, and the bond issue can take years more.

Since I travel I-93 a lot…I’ve been keeping track of the construction project that’s been going on for the past decade. Once they start building a bridge…it takes them 1.5 years to finish it… Doesn’t matter if it’s a bridge on I-93 or one that goes over I-93…the time line is the same. And that’s all after the design and impact studies. And most of these bridges aren’t very long/wide. Luckily they build several at the same time…there are a lot of bridges from the MA border to Manchester.

"I cannot agree that all the old bridges in the country need to be replaced with modern bridges." That issue is an ongoing bone of contention in my township. We have a number of rural bridges that are about 1 1/2 lanes wide, but, for practical purposes, they have to be treated as one lane bridges. When this was strictly farm country, it might not have made much of a difference with traffic, but as the farms have decreased, and home construction has increased, it is not unusual to have to wait for what can seem like a very long period of time for the opposing stream of traffic to pass so that a person traveling in the opposite direction can use the bridge. And, when you have a motorist who is unfamiliar with the area--and who chooses not to believe the signs saying One Lane Bridge--there can be some close calls.

One of these one lane bridges is actually a fairly long causeway, and when the county stated that they were ready to bebuild it as a 2 lane structure, the folks in that particularly rural part of the township rebelled and demanded that it be rebuilt as a one lane causeway because, allegedly…If you make it too convenient, more people will drive through this area.
I try to avoid that causeway whenever possible because it can tend to be a real white knuckle experience, depending on who is driving in the opposite direction.

You can get bridge going again in a few weeks,after the approaches are built and the detour,a temporary steel truss bridge cab be installed and for small streams,precast box culverts can be installed in about a month and now the state(VA) has modern precast fordings to install in low traffic areas,with predominately low stream flow’
If you want to see very well engineered bridges,check out the railroad truss bridges,and even the old stone arch bridges along some interstates( heirloom quality)
Traffic problems will always be with us.

I remember as a kid going over the old Wabasha bridge in Minnesota over the river. It had a spiral entrance then on up over the steel bridge. I think it was a fault critical bridge too. Not sure when it came down. Then going over the old Paducah bridge with a full sized Olds pulling a camper. A new bridge had been built but opening had been delayed to fix some issues. After the 35 bridge came down, I got a little interested in old bridges and their failures like the famous Silver bridge going into Ohio.