Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Oregon

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The state of Oregon offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the past, or are current active military members.

License and registration tax and fee exemption

Service-connected disabled veterans may be eligible for a one-time permanent motor vehicle registration fee for disabled veterans. This allows veterans to pay this fee once and maintain their disabled veteran plates for life. The only additional fees would be incurred should the veteran need replacement plates. Veterans must qualify under ORS 805.100 in order to be eligible for this benefit in Oregon.

It is important to note that the disabled veterans license plates do not serve as parking permits for spaces designated for disabled persons. Instead, a Disabled Person Parking Permit must be applied for and approved before you meet the requirement to park in these spaces.

Driver’s license veteran designation

Oregon veterans may display proof of their military service on their driver license. There’s no additional fee for adding this designation when applying for a first license, or when renewing a license. If a driver wishes to add the military designation to an Oregon driver license before their renewal date, standard duplicate license fees apply. In order to be eligible for military designation on a driver license, veterans must furnish the Oregon Department of Public Safety driver license examining office with a DD-214 or Record of Separation indicating honorable discharge, or “general under honorable conditions”. The State of Oregon also requires that the individual be considered a United States Veteran under ORS 408.225.

Military honor plates

The Oregon DMV offers different veteran and military service-related license plates, some of which are sponsored by individual groups. Additional fees that are associated with these plates are provided and allow the proceeds to contribute to the sponsoring group.

Available military plate designs:

  • Congressional Medal of Honor
  • Disabled Veteran
  • Ex-POW
  • First Marine Division FMF
  • Purple Heart
  • U.S. Army Special Forces Airborne
  • U.S. Merchant Marine
  • Veterans Recognition
  • Gold Star Family
  • National Guard
  • Non-Commission Officers Association
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Veterans for Human Rights
  • Vietnam Veterans of America

Total fees for the individual military and veteran license plates are variable depending on the specific group that you are considering. The ability to register to receive each type of military or veteran plate is also variable—with some requiring proof of award such as with the Medal of Honor license plate. Learn more and review details here.

Military skills test waiver

As of 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration instituted the Commercial Learner’s Permit rule. This rule contains a provision authorizing SDLAs (State Driver Licensing Agencies) to allow U.S. Military drivers to leverage their service-related truck driving experience in lieu of the skills test to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver License). In order to be eligible to skip this portion of the testing process the driver must apply within a year of leaving a military position which required them to operate a commercial vehicle. The driver must have had two years such experience in order to qualify for the waiver program.

Applicants must certify to an SDLA:

  • His or her experience as a safe driver

  • That he or she hasn’t held more than one license (excepting a U.S. Military driver license) in the previous two years

  • That he or she has not had their driver license (issued by their base state) suspended, revoked, or cancelled

  • That he or she has not been convicted of a motor vehicle violation that would disqualify them from obtaining a CDL

  • That he or she holds an Oregon Class C driver license

  • Proof that he or she is a lawful U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident

  • Provide a copy of your military vehicle operator’s license that can be used by the DMV to properly classify the type of commercial motor vehicle that are you rated to operate

There is a range of offenses that can disqualify military personnel from participating in the skills waiver program; these include things like DUI, hit-and-run accidents, or using a CMV to commit a felony.

The Military Skills Test Waiver program in Oregon and almost every other state is the result of collaboration between the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators in order to make the process of getting a CDL easier for veterans. Military personnel with applicable experience can download and print the waiver here. Applicants must still complete the written CDL test. If for some reason you do not meet the qualifications for the military skills test waiver, the DMV will return your documents to you.

Active or veteran military personnel who wish to find out more about veteran and military driver laws and benefits in Oregon can consult the state’s motor vehicle division website here.

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