drivers' licenses amnesty

photo of traffic on Ohio roads
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohioans who have their driver’s licenses suspended often face prohibitive fees to get their licenses back.

The state has offered temporary amnesty programs. Now a bill proposed by two Cleveland-area lawmakers would make permanent a reinstatement program to get people driving legally again.

photo of Chris Dameron in a truck
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

After a six-month pilot period that ended in July, the state is restarting a shortened amnesty program for Ohioans who’ve lost their drivers’ licenses. Over 340,000 people could get back on the roads legally – sometimes after many years of not being able to pay reinstatement fees.

Chris Damron of Columbus lost his license for failing to pay child support when he was 19. Almost two decades later, he’s in recovery and owns a painting business and is a licensed driver again, after having $1,500 in reinstatement fees waived earlier this year.

A photo of Jodi Thomas, Anne Roche and Megan O'Dell
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A six-month pilot program that sought to help low-income Ohioans get their suspended drivers licenses reinstated finished up last month. And with 3 million license suspensions active or pending, advocates are pushing for the amnesty program to be restarted and expanded.