California Offers Online CDL Renewals

California’s DMV Processes 209,000 CDL Renewals Yearly
California DMV
California's DMV is offering more digital services. (California Department of Motor Vehicles via Facebook)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

California has made it easier for truck drivers to renew their commercial driver licenses through a new online option that is part of the state’s ongoing customer-focused digital transformation.

“The online CDL renewal service is intended to make it easier for commercial drivers to renew their license and get back on the road quickly to move California’s economy forward. The service is also intended to make the DMV more efficient by reducing wait times and maximizing existing resources,” said Ronald Ongtoaboc, spokesperson for the executive division of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Each year, the DMV processes an average of 209,000 CDL renewals.

Now eligible CDL holders can renew their licenses online without having to go to DMV offices, which streamlines the renewal process and eliminates delays.

Ronald Ongtoaboc


Ongtoaboc said the DMV “is still evaluating potential savings with the online [CDL] renewal process, but such savings would be tied to efficiencies being made in other areas.”

According to the DMV, California’s commercial driving sector is critical to the movement of regional goods and services, which emphasizes the importance of having efficient transportation of essential commodities in such industries as agriculture, manufacturing and retail.

“The convenience of the online CDL renewal service underscores the state’s recognition of the significance of commercial drivers and their pivotal role in supporting the smooth operation of the world’s fifth-largest economy,” DMV noted.

The DMV has been launching numerous online efficiency improvements for the state’s trucking industry. In September 2022, the DMV began moving from a paper-based process to score CDL drive tests to an electronic method using iPads.

“The transition was done in phases starting with the DMV’s Commercial Drive Test Centers and then moving to other offices offering CDL drive tests. By February 2023, all DMV field offices offering CDL drive tests were scoring exams utilizing iPads,” Ongtoaboc said.

California DMV examiners were among the first in the nation to use electronic tablets to administer exams, which eliminates the use of paper score sheets and computer data entry. The DMV has also modernized the skills test to streamline the exam process. These improvements help get more qualified drivers on the road faster to benefit California’s economy. The DMV has administered 127,000 CDL drive tests using the iPads so far.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing above or go here for more info

“The reaction from DMV examiners and management has been positive. The electronic platform saves time by sending information directly to the Commercial Skills Test Information Management System and retaining data, which can be used to ensure the offices are meeting service expectations,” Ongtoaboc said.

He noted that customer feedback has been positive about DMV innovations, which allow the DMV to conduct more CDL tests each day.

The DMV has taken many steps to offer more digital services and encourages all customers to use its online services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals.

The DMV has more than doubled the number of services available online to 48 today from 20 in 2019, while also reducing transaction times by two-thirds and eliminating obstacles for staff to process transactions more quickly. At the same time, DMV has provided customers with necessary tools that are resulting in lower wait times for office visits than in the past.