CDL License Requirements in Ohio


To drive a commercial vehicle in Ohio, you must obtain the applicable CDL licenses, as follows: Class A licenses are required to drive a combination vehicle weighing over 26,000 lbs. and towing a unit exceeding 10,000 lbs.; Class B licenses are needed to drive a single vehicle exceeding 26,000 lbs.; and Class C licenses are needed to drive a vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and one that transports placarded hazardous materials.

Obtain a CDL or CDL Instruction Permit

  • To apply for a CDL or CDL Instruction Permit, or CDIP, in Ohio, you must be at least 18 years old and hold a valid Ohio driver's license. Some employers establish additional standards and/or older age requirements. To apply, bring your social security card, a valid driver's license and the fee -- $27 as of February 2015 -- to a licensing office. With a CDIP, you may drive a commercial vehicle only when a current CDL holder is seated in the vehicle next to you, providing instruction. The CDIP is valid for six months and cannot be renewed. If you have no employer to train you, driving schools are available.

Test for the CDL

  • To obtain a CDL, you must pass vision, written and driving exams. Vision requirements include a minimum eyesight of 20/40 in each eye, with or without glasses. You must pass written and driving exams in each class of vehicle and endorsement you're applying for. Additional testing is necessary to remove the air brake restriction. The general knowledge exam tests includes such questions as, "How often must you stop to check your cargo?" and "What is a sign of a distracted driver?" The driving portion lasts for 90 minutes, and includes a pre-trip inspection and a road test.

Upgrades and Renewal

  • To upgrade in additional vehicle classes and endorsements, you must pass additional testing. The hazardous materials vehicle endorsement requires comprehensive paperwork, including fingerprinting, a security threat assessment, and any information relating to alien registration and/or military discharge status. The hazardous waste written exam tests your knowledge in such areas as classes of explosives and the Hazardous Waste Manifest. To renew a current CDL license, you do not need to bring your social security card with you.

CDL Fees and Other Requirements

  • Ohio CDL testing fees as of February 2015 include $10 for pre-trip inspection, $10 for off-road maneuvering and $30 for on-road testing. If you schedule an appointment with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, you may be required to pay an additional $50 appointment fee. CDL licensing fees are $42 for the first CDL license; $44.75 for renewals; $43 for each endorsement; and $27 to replace lost cards. Maintaining your Ohio CDL license also requires you to notify your employer of all traffic convictions, including in your private automobile, and any time your license is suspended, revoked or cancelled.

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