COLUMBUS, Ohio — Most Ohioans may soon have the opportunity to renew their driver’s licenses every eight years instead of every four years.
Senate Bill 68 allows Ohioans between the ages of 21 and 65 to apply for an eight-year driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, motorcycle operator’s endorsement, or a motorized bicycle license. It passed the Ohio General Assembly this week with little opposition and awaits the signature of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to become law.
Another part of the bill would require both peace officers and Ohio high-school students to take training on how to properly interact during traffic stops and other encounters between law enforcement and civilians. The high-school training would be required for graduation and offered in driver training programs.
SB 68 would also permit indigent Ohioans to perform community service instead of paying a fee to reinstate their license. More than 1.1 million Ohioans had a suspended license as of 2017, and supporters say many of them continue to drive because they can’t afford the fee – leading to a spiral downward of more fees and punishments.
“This important piece of legislation is not only helpful for Ohioans who are struggling to pay their reinstatement fees and get out of the fee cycle,” said state Sen. Sandra Williams, the Cleveland Democrat who sponsored the legislation, in a statement. “It will also be instrumental in supporting safe and productive interactions between citizens and law enforcement officers.”
The cost of an eight-year license or ID card would be twice the cost of a four-year license or card, minus $1. As a four-year driver’s license currently costs $25.75, the cost of an eight-year license would be $50.50, according to an analysis from the non-partisan Legislative Service Commission.
The bill would also:
• Allow Ohioans with a lost or damaged driver’s license or state ID to be able to apply online for a reprint from the BMV. Applying online would cost an additional $5.
• Permit deputy registrars to offer services and transactions online rather than in person
• Give permission for third parties besides the Ohio BMV to administer the driver’s license skills test
• No longer require adults applying for their first driver’s license who fail the road or maneuverability test to complete an abbreviate driving training course if they already completed a driver training course within the last year