Ohio Teenage Driving Laws: What Teens and Parents Need to Know

To ensure teens drive safely, Ohio teenage driving laws restrict drivers with temporary licenses. Learn more here.
Written by Rob Shapiro
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
has restrictions for teenage drivers to compensate for their inexperience behind the wheel. Ohio lets drivers who are 15 ½ years of age get a temporary instruction permit identification card (TIPIC) if they pass a vision and written test. Once a teen has had their TIPIC for six months—and meets a few other requirements—they are eligible for an Ohio driver’s license.
The laws enforced for teens by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) are extensive. If you’re under 18 and trying to be licensed to drive in Ohio—or if you have teenage kids trying to do the same—you need to familiarize yourself with Ohio teenage driving laws.
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Rules for teen drivers in Ohio

Ohio outlines all motor vehicle laws for the state in the
Ohio BMV Handbook
. All teenage drivers need to review this handbook and ensure that they are familiar with the laws of the road, especially those that pertain to minors.
Most parents and young drivers don’t realize how extensive the rules are for teens to obtain a driver’s license. Teen drivers need to first get their TIPIC and have it for six months before pursuing their driver’s license. 
Even after getting their license, teens will have certain driving restrictions for12 months. Then, another set of restrictions is valid until their eighteenth birthday. 

With a temporary instruction permit identification card

In Ohio, teens can start driving and work toward getting their license once they are 15 ½ years old. At this age, they’re eligible to apply for an instructional permit with the consent of a parent or guardian. 
They must first enroll in an online driving school and practice driving for eight hours. This driver’s education program helps teens learn the rules of the road, prepare for the forthcoming tests, and reach the level of comfort needed to safely drive.
To receive your TIPIC, you must pass a written and vision test. The written test can be taken at most BMV locations, and you must score at least 75% to pass. If you fail the test, you can retake it 24 hours after your previous test. Once you pass, you have 60 days to buy your TIPIC.
A TIPIC has the following restrictions for teen drivers:
  • If you’re under 16 years old, you can drive on public roads, but only with a parent, guardian, or certified driving instructor in the front passenger seat.
  • If you’re between 16 and 18 years old, a teen driver can drive with any licensed driver in the front passenger seat. 
  • Drivers under 17 can not drive with more than one passenger who is not a family member unless a parent or guardian is in the car. 
Driving with a parent or any adult might sound annoying, but it helps ensure a young driver's safety. It also helps inexperienced drivers feel more comfortable while learning.  
To graduate to licensed driver status in Ohio, a teen needs to complete the following within six months of their training start date:
  • Eight hours of in-car training with an instructor 
  • A driving program, including all in-class instruction
  • Fifty hours of supervised driving, 10 of which have to be at night 

With a temporary driver’s license

After meeting the requirements of a TIPIC, a teen driver can apply for a temporary driver’s license. To get a temp license, you will need the following:
  • Proof of your full legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, citizenship or legal status, and residency
  • Proof of graduation from a driver's education course.
  • A completed Ohio temporary permit application co-signed by a parent or guardian (they must also provide proof of identification).
You will have to pay a fee of $23.50
You will then have to pass a knowledge test and undergo a vision screening. The knowledge test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions covering driving regulations and traffic signs. You will need to get at least 75% on this test. If you pass these tests, you will be the proud owner of a temporary instruction permit
Teens with a temp license must follow these safety restrictions:
  • You can not use any electronic device while driving
  • Nighttime driving is not allowed between 12 am and 6 am.  The only exceptions are for work, school, religious events, or medical emergencies.
  • You are not allowed to drive with more than one non-family member in the vehicle without parental supervision.
If a teen driver has had their temp license for one year but is under 18 years old, they must adhere to these restrictions:
  • Nighttime driving is not allowed between 1 am and 5 am. The only exceptions are for work, school, religious events, or medical emergencies.
  • You can not transport more passengers than the original number of safety belts in the vehicle.
This might seem like a long list of restrictions, but each is an important safety measure to protect teen drivers and other drivers who they share the road with. 

Ohio teenage drivers and cell phone use

A major concern for all drivers is texting and driving. It’s dangerous and a leading cause of car accidents in most states. Using a cell phone while driving for any reason is incredibly distracting and leads to thousands of car accidents annually, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Ohio’s rules for cellphone use for teens while driving are similar to many other states. For drivers under 18, cell phones are off-limits. This means you can’t talk on the phone, text, play games, use social media, or search the internet while you’re driving. 
This is a primary offense, so a police officer can pull you over if they spot you on your phone. If you’re convicted of texting and driving, you could receive a 60-day license suspension and a $150 fine for a first offense. A second offense should result in losing your license for one year and a $300 fine. 
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Penalties for violating Ohio teen driving laws

Once a teen is fully licensed, they must follow all the traffic laws in Ohio. Teen drivers are subject to these penalties if they are convicted of certain infractions.
  • Distracted driving: A first violation is a 60-day license suspension and a $150 fine. A second violation is a one-year suspension and a $300 fine.
  • Operating a vehicle after underage consumption: This charge can apply to drivers under 21 with a blood-alcohol concentration of at least .02% but less than .08%. The maximum penalty is up to two years of license suspension, taking a remedial driving course, re-doing their driving exam, and four points on their license. 
  • Traffic offense within first six months: A teen can be ordered to drive with a parent or guardian for six months.
  • Speeding ticket: The teen driver and a parent or guardian must go to juvenile court for an Ohio speeding ticket. They can not just pay the ticket and accept the punishment.
As with any infraction, teen drivers may also have to pay any BMW fees they incur and deal with higher insurance premiums and rates. Multiple violations mean harsher penalties, so if you get a citation, make sure you learn your lesson the first time. 
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