[Updated Nov 2023]
Being a truck driver comes with great responsibility, from passing advanced training requirements, abiding by strict driving times and maintaining license endorsements if you haul special items. Keeping your CDL valid ensures the safety of you and other drivers while also protecting the future of your career. This becomes increasingly important if another driver gets into an accident with you, as truck drivers tend to be put under a microscope if the accident results in injuries.
Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles provides detailed guidelines on what you need to keep your commercial license updated and legal for safe travels.
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CDL renewal or upgrade
The law requires truck drivers to renew their license before the date of expiration printed on the license. In the case that you have surrendered your license, you will have to retake skills and knowledge tests.
If you decide to upgrade your license, most endorsements require additional training (as well as periodic renewal), such as HAZMAT transport. The Transportation Security Administration provides instructions on how to complete your application for this and explains what types of screening are necessary.
As a commercial driver, you will have to pass a physical exam at least every two years, completed by a qualified medical examiner. If you travel within Ohio, the law expects you to meet all State DOT medical requirements, and when traveling outside the state, you must meet Federal DOT medical requirements.
For drivers who are unable to pass the USDOT physical, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio provides a Provisional Medical Certification. This is only applicable to drivers who held a license in or before 1988 and who carry certain types of cargo.
To maintain your CDL in Ohio, state and federal law require you to self-certify the type of driving you do, online or by mail, as categorized by the Ohio BMV. The categories vary based on whether you travel out of state and what type of medical requirements you are subject to. You must provide the Ohio BMV with a copy of your updated medical card. If you have a PUCO Provisional Waiver, you should be carrying this along with your CDL while you are driving.