Ohio Rules for Teen Drivers

Ohio uses a multi-stage licensing process for teens. This system allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time. Here's what you need to know about Ohio’s three-stage process:

 Temporary Instruction Permit

When a teen turns 15.5, they may apply for a temporary instruction permit. You and your teen need to visit your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles driver licensing exam station and bring a state-certified copy of the teen’s birth certificate. Your teen must pass a knowledge and vision test at a driver license exam station and will be given a receipt with a confirmation number. The teen may present the receipt at a BMV deputy registrar’s office within 60 days to receive a temporary instruction permit identification card (TIPIC). 

When driving with a TIPIC, a teen younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or licensed driving instructor seated in the front passenger seat. Temporary permit holders between the ages of 15.5 and 18 must receive a minimum of 24 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of behind-the-wheel instruction in driver training to advance to a probationary license. In addition, they must complete 50 hours of driving with a parent or legal guardian, including at least 10 hours of nighttime driving.

Probationary License 

When your teen turns 16 and has had a temporary instruction permit for at least 6 months, the teen can go to the local BMV to take the driving test, which includes maneuverability and a road test. The teen will also need to take a second vision test and provide proof of having completed 50 hours (including 10 at night) of practice driving time. 

The teen will then receive their probationary license. Make sure a parent or guardian is present to sign the application form or get a parent’s notarized signature on the form ahead of time. A teen with a probationary license is allowed to drive without a parent but must follow certain rules to help keep safe.

Full License

At age 18, a teen is eligible for a full license, provided that probationary license requirements have been met. Night and passenger restrictions are lifted, but parents are encouraged to maintain their own additional rules.

 License applicants age 18 or older who fail the required road or maneuverability test must take an abbreviated driver training course prior to attempting the test a second or subsequent time.

A parent-teen driving agreement can help you enforce licensing rules that the state and your family set. An agreement helps you and your teen understand the rules of the road and sends a clear message that driving is an earned privilege that your family takes seriously.