Teenagers belong to one of the highest risk groups when it comes to driving. Statistics show that 25 percent of 16-year-old drivers either receive a traffic ticket or are involved in an accident during their first year of driving. On May 1999, Oklahoma joined 32 other states in passing a graduated drivers license law. The law aims at reducing the number of accidents among teen drivers by forcing certain limitations upon drivers under18.
Oklahoma's graduated drivers license law divides the process of obtaining the drivers license into a number of stages, ensuring that the teenager proceeds to the next stage when he or she has adequate driving skills and experience. The first step is obtaining the learners permit. A teenager can obtain his or her learners permit when he or she is 15½. The learners permit will allow them to drive a vehicle, but it forces the following requirements and restrictions upon the driver:
- The student must have passed the written exam administered by the Oklahoma DPS.
- The student must complete a Department of Public Safety approved drivers education course and obtain an official certificate of completion.
- The teenage driver must be accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 in a front seat at all times. Alternatively, teens can choose to employ a professional driving instructor for this task
- The student must observe all traffic regulations and keep a clean driving record.
- The student may not drink and drive and is prohibited to drive under the influence.
If the student meets all of the above requirements, he or she is allowed to apply for a driving test in six months. However, the student still has to go through the probationary period until he or she reaches the age of 18. The driver's license may be revoked for traffic offenses during this period.
The student may choose not to complete a drivers education course. In this case, he is subject to the same limitations during the six months of supervised driving. However, even if the student successfully completes the driving test, he or she will be restricted to daylight driving only. Exceptions are made only when the person is driving to school- and church-related activities. The driver is also prohibited from having more than one passenger, unless from the same household or a licensed driver over 21 is present. These restrictions will not be lifted until the driver reaches the age of 17 or completes a drivers education course.
Visit the OK DPS site for more information on Oklahoma Graduated Drivers License (GDL).
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