How to Get an Ohio Commercial Driver’s License
Published September 20, 2022
An Ohio commercial driver’s license (CDL), is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) within the state. Every license has qualifications that are governed by the state. Failure to comply with these qualifications may lead to either the temporary or permanent suspension of a person’s Ohio commercial driver’s license.
When Do You Need A Ohio Commercial Driver’s License?
According to Ohio state law, any vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more designed to transport hazardous items or 16 or more passengers is considered a CMV.
With that said, a CMV isn’t required to drive personal transport vehicles, recreational vehicles, prisoner transport vehicles, fire trucks, snowplows, military vehicles, and ambulances. In addition, farm trucks are exempt if they are operated solely for agricultural purposes.
In Ohio, driving licenses are classified as follows:
- Class A
This restriction applies only to “combination” vehicles having a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) greater than 26,000 pounds and a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds of the vehicle being towed.
A driver who holds a Class A CDL (together with any necessary endorsements) is also permitted to operate all vehicles classified in Class B, C, or D below.
- Class B
Includes single or combination vehicles with a GVWR of greater than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being towed cannot exceed 10,000 pounds.
At the same time, a driver holding an Ohio Class B commercial driver’s license (together with all the necessary endorsements) is legally permitted to operate all Class C or D vehicles.
- Class C
Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Group A or Group B as defined in this section.
Class C licenses permit you to drive vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
In addition, they’re designated for those transporting hazardous materials as illustrated in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and which requires the motor vehicle to be equipped with a hazmat system (49 CFR part 172, subpart F).
- Class D
Regular operator or private passenger.
Defining Endorsements, Restrictions, & Restricted CDLs
CDL operators may be required to pass additional examinations in order to obtain commercial driver’s license endorsements. Also, endorsements are added to the license to allow for the operation of specialized CMVs like school buses as well as hazardous material tankers.
The state of Ohio may impose particular limits on a driver’s license based on a person’s health or experience. For instance, a driver under the age of 21 is restricted to driving exclusively inside the state. Going beyond can result in the revocation of your Ohio CDL or a fine.
Ohio offers a seasonal agriculture commercial driver’s license valid for 180 days and does not involve passing a knowledge or driving test.
However, the motorist must have held a valid driver’s license for one year and be free of any suspensions or prohibitions in the preceding two years. Additionally, the driver must get a farm-related waiver and operate only a class B or C CMV within 150 miles of the farm.
Age Requirements For An Ohio Commercial Driver’s License
To drive within state boundaries, you must be at least 18 years old (intrastate).
However, you are required to be at least 21 years old to:
- Drive commercial vehicles across state lines (interstate)
- Transport hazardous materials
Ohio Commercial Driver’s License Test
For starters, the applicant must pass a driving history check, a vision test, and a written test in order to acquire a temporary instruction permit (TIP).
The TIP authorizes the operating of a commercial motor vehicle under the supervision of a licensed commercial driver.
CDL Driving Exam
After 14 days with a TIP, the applicant may sit for the CDL driving exam to earn a full CDL. TIP holders with prior military experience operating CMVs may be exempt from the driving exam.
All Ohio commercial driver’s license holders are required to self-certify the sort of driving they do and receive a medical certificate. The medical certificate is a physician-signed document certifying that the driver is in good general health and capable of operating a CMV.
Steps To Getting A Ohio Commercial Drivers License
Step 1: Obtain a commercial learner’s permit, which lets you drive a commercial motor vehicle for practice while preparing for an actual CDL.
Step 2: Pay the $27 commercial learner’s permit fee – a requirement for first-time testers.
Step 3: Enroll in a commercial driver’s license training course if you intend to drive a semi or work as an OTR driver (a.k.a. over-the-road or long-distance truck driver).
Step 4: Make an appointment with a CDL-certified doctor for a fitness examination. You will obtain a certificate from the medical examiner that you must carry with you at all times while operating a commercial vehicle.
Step 5: Pass an eye examination, which may be done with or without the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Your normal or corrected vision in each eye must be at least 20/40.
Step 6: Submit a driving record check covering the last ten years of your driving history in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Step 7: Prior to taking the exam, ensure that you have the required identification documents on hand, such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, and social security card, to back up your:
- Legal full name
- Date of birth
- U.S. lawful presence
- Social Security Number
- Ohio address
(Related: A Quick Guide to Getting a Georgia Drivers License)
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About The Author
Christian Cruz is an experienced blogger with a deep passion for delivering factual advice to his readers. He is part of a family of lawyers, writers, and educators. Over the years, Chris has written about a myriad of topics that have helped many people around the world.