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Ohio bill would mean drivers spend less time at the BMV

Ohio Driver License
Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 18:08:18-05

If you hate spending time and money at the BMV, a bill at the Ohio Statehouse might mean you have to do that less frequently.

House Bill 372 would give drivers ages 21 to 65 the option to get a license that expires in eight years or one that expires in four, like the current ones do.

The eight-year option would cost $1 less than double the cost of a four-year license and would save the state $1.86 by not having to print a license during those four years.

“The whole idea is hopefully to get more people on an eight-year driver’s license cycle, which will save them time and then also reduce the lines at the BMV,” said Rep. Derek Merrin (R-District 47), the lawmaker behind the bill.

RELATED: Ohio bill would change driver license expiration from 4 years to 8

It wouldn’t be an option for drivers older than 65, though, who could only opt for a four-year renewal.

“We put that in place to address concerns of older drivers,” Merrin said.

Merrin said eight-year licenses are already in effect in about two dozen other states.

Drivers outside the BMV in Parma liked the idea of going to the BMV less frequently.

“I think it’d be pretty convenient,” Bassel Nofal of South Euclid said. “A lot of people don’t like to go in and present information again to get a replacement.”

Nofal said that he is not a citizen and that he often has a hard time getting papers through the BMV.

Nofal also said the one negative he saw with the bill is that the photo on the license wouldn’t change for eight years at a time.

Kathy Kahl of Parma said she thought she would take the eight-year option, considering how busy the Parma BMV can get.

“That sounds good to me. Less people here, you know,” Kahl said. “That sounds like a good idea.”

Merrin said the bill remains in a House committee, but he said it had widespread support among his colleagues and that no one spoke in opposition to it at a hearing on Tuesday.

He hoped the bill would get a vote in committee in the next couple of weeks and that it would be voted out of the House in December or January, at which point it would head to the Ohio Senate.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Public Safety said the department is aware of the proposed legislation but has not taken a position.