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What Teen Drivers Should Know Before Getting Behind the Wheel in Ohio

Updated: November 20, 2023
Nicholas G. Gounaris
By Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

teen driving laws ohio

Many parents know when it’s time for their teenagers to get behind the wheel.

However, parents do not always realize the extensive requirements for obtaining a temporary permit, the rules that apply specifically to teenage drivers, and the steps necessary for securing a regular driver’s license once your teenager reaches the appropriate age.

New Ohio teen driving laws can cause added confusion, leading parents to think that the requirements or restrictions for teen driving have changed.

What Are Ohio’s Teenage Driver Laws?

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) allows teenagers who are fifteen-and-a-half years old to obtain a temporary instruction permit identification card (TIPIC) once they pass a written and vision test.

The BMV offers the written test on a computer at most of its locations. If your teenager fails the written test, they can retake the test after 24 hours have passed. The written test contains 40 multiple choice questions about Ohio traffic regulations and signs.

The BMV requires at least a 75% score on the test. After receiving a passing score, the teen driver has 60 days to purchase the TIPIC.

If your teen driver is under 16 years old, the TIPIC authorizes him or her to practice driving on public roads, but only when a parent, guardian, or certified driving instructor occupies the front passenger seat of the vehicle.

If the teen driver is older than 16 but under 18, he or she can practice driving with a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the front passenger seat.

Obtaining an Ohio Driver’s License

After holding the TIPIC for six months and satisfying other requirements, your teen driver can obtain an Ohio driver’s license.

During the six-month period, the teen driver must satisfy requirements including:

  • Completion of a driver’s education course;
  • 24 hours of classroom instruction;
  • 8 hours of driving instruction; and
  • 50 hours of supervised driving experience, at least 10 of which occur at night.

When these requirements are satisfied, your teen driver can contact any Ohio driver’s license exam station and schedule a skills test. The skills test involves an actual road test using your teen’s own vehicle. If your teen fails the skills test, he or she must wait seven days before attempting the test again.

Ohio Teenage Driving Restrictions

Teens’ driver’s licenses in Ohio are subject to certain restrictions. Some of those restrictions fall off after holding the license for 12 months, but other restrictions remain in place until your teen turns 18.

During the first twelve months, Ohio’s teenage driving laws place the following restrictions on teen drivers:

  • Prohibition on driving between 10 PM and 5 AM absent specific circumstances;
  • Only one non-family member as a passenger at a time, unless a parent or guardian is present;
  • All occupants must wear seatbelts; and
  • The use of mobile devices is strictly prohibited.

After they hold a driver’s license for at least 12 months, Ohio allows teen drivers to operate their vehicle at any time of night if accompanied by a parent or guardian, but other restrictions still apply.

Violating these restrictions can result in your teen being unable to drive without parental supervision for up to six months or until the teenager turns 17 years old, whichever happens first. Multiple violations can result in revocation of the probationary license.

Consequences for Violation of Ohio’s Teenage Driving Laws

Ohio implements strict laws punishing distracted driving. Ohio defines distracted driving as “engaging in any activity that is not necessary to the operation of a vehicle and impairs, or reasonably would be expected to impair, the ability of the operator to drive the vehicle safely.”

For drivers over 18, the use of a handheld electronic device does not, on its own, give Ohio law enforcement authorities the ability to stop the driver. However, if the driver is under 18, the use of a handheld device does give police authorization to pull the teen driver over.

A first violation results in a 60-day license suspension and a $150 fine. A second violation results in a 1-year license suspension and a $300 fine.

Because the legal drinking age is 21, authorities have authorization to charge drivers under 21 with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .02 percent but less than .08 percent with “Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption.”

The maximum potential penalties include up to two years of license suspension, a remedial driving course, re-taking the driver’s license examination, and four points assessed to your license.

Contact Us for Questions About Ohio Teen Driving Laws

Traffic violations can negatively affect not only your teenager’s ability to drive but also your insurance coverage prices. While the violation may seem minor, the consequences can affect your teenager in more ways than one.

By hiring a juvenile defense attorney who specializes in Ohio’s teenage driving laws, you can ensure that no stone is left unturned in avoiding a traffic conviction.

At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we will review the circumstances of your case and formulate a defense strategy to help you obtain a favorable result.

With over 50 years of courtroom experience, we are confident in our ability to represent you in an aggressive and efficient manner. Contact our office at (937) 222-1515 today to start your free consultation.

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