Online renewal of driver's licenses, IDs coming to Ohio

Terry Dawson, right, the son-in-law of a woman killed by a distracted driver in central Ohio on Christmas Eve 2017, describes how that accident has affected his family and made holidays much harder, at a news conference also attended by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. DeWine said he wants distracted driving made a primary offense and promised a legislative proposal soon. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Many Ohioans will be able to renew their driver’s licenses or state IDs online instead of at state motor vehicle offices under a measure in the state’s new transportation budget.

Eligible for the new program are people ages 21 to 65 whose current licenses or IDs were issued in person and who have photos on file with the state, among other requirements. A July 2022 launch is planned.

The change was included in the state’s $8.3 billion transparent budget, signed into law Wednesday by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

The budget, approved very two years, includes $2.4 billion for roadway improvements, $74 million for public transportation, and $8 million in grants for electric charging stations.

Early on, lawmakers stripped one of DeWine’s top priorities, a crackdown on distracted driving, from the bill.

DeWine wants to make distracted driving a primary offense, meaning police wouldn’t need another reason first — such as speeding — to pull drivers over. His proposal addressed such activities as writing, sending or looking at texts, watching or recording photos or videos, or livestreaming while handling an electronic device, among other activities.

House Republicans wanted to avoid dealing with criminal law in the spending package, and Senate Republicans were cool to the overall idea.