Teen Driving Laws in Ohio

Many teens may be unaware of the laws that pertain to teen drivers in Ohio. If you are at the age where you can start learning to drive or you’ve just received your driver’s license, here’s what you need to know about teen driving laws in Ohio.  

The Process for Getting a Teen Driver’s License in Ohio

To get a driver’s license in Ohio, teens must take the following steps.

  1. At 15½ years old, you can apply for a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC). When driving with a learner’s permit, you must have a supervising driver 21 years or older in the front passenger seat.

  2. All teens under the age of 18 must complete a driver education course that includes 24 hours of in-class instruction and eight hours of instruction on the road. 

  3. You must complete a minimum of 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel driving practice, with 10 hours dedicated to night driving.

When you’ve completed these steps, are at least 16 years old, and have had your TIPIC for at least six months, you can apply for an Ohio driver’s license.

Ohio’s Licensing Restrictions for Teen Drivers

If you’re under 18, you will receive a probationary license that is subject to certain laws under Ohio’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. This program places certain restrictions on teen drivers which gradually ease until you reach full driving privileges. 

If you're under the age of 16, these rules apply:

  • For the first 12 months, you are not allowed to drive between midnight and 6 a.m., except when accompanied by a parent or guardian, or when driving to and from a school, work, religious event, or during an emergency. Keep documents proving work or school commitments with you at all times.  

  • Only one non-family member is allowed as a passenger.

  • You and all passengers must wear safety belts.

  • Using a cell phone while driving is prohibited.

When turning 17, restrictions are eased:

  • The driving curfew changes to between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

  • Passengers are allowed. 

When you reach the age of 18, full driving privileges are granted, provided you have no traffic violation. 

This does not mean you should throw caution to the wind. Teen drivers are at a higher risk of car accidents due to their inexperience and tendency to engage in risky driving behavior. Always follow safe driving practices

Traffic Violation and Underage DUI/OVAUC Laws in Ohio

If you are under the age of 17 and convicted of a moving violation in the first six months of having a probationary license, a parent or guardian will have to accompany you for the next six months or until you reach the age of 17, whichever comes first. Multiple traffic convictions before you turn 18 may result in a license suspension. 

Ohio takes distracted driving seriously. It is a primary offense for under-18 drivers. This means that a police officer who observes you engaging in any type of distracted driving behavior is allowed to pull you over and ticket you. 

Underage DUI laws

Driving under the influence of alcohol is also dealt with harshly. For adult drivers, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% lands an OVI (Operating a Vehicle While Impaired) conviction. Drivers 21 years and younger will be charged with an OVUAC (Operation of a Vehicle after Underage Consumption) with a BAC of just 0.02%. 

Penalties for an OVUAC conviction include a fine of up to $250, a possible 30-day jail sentence, and a license suspension of three months up to two years. A second offense may result in your license being suspended for up to five years, spending up to 60 days in jail, and paying up to $500 in fines. 

As a novice driver, mistakes and misjudgments on the road can easily happen. It’s a good idea for teens to take a defensive driving course. Learning defensive driving techniques can help you drive more safely and correctly react to potential hazards or dangers on the road. 

Driversed.com is an Ohio BMV-approved driving school. We can help you prepare to take the TIPIC and driver’s license tests. Sign up for our courses today!

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