What is the Driving Age in Ohio?

Drivers must be at least 15 ½ years old to begin the Graduated Drivers License program in Ohio to receive an unrestricted license at 17 years old.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
has adopted a Graduated Drivers License (GDL) program to help teen drivers 15 ½ years or older gradually gain confidence in driving to obtain their unrestricted driver’s license by age 17. 
Becoming a teenager is an exciting time knowing you can officially get behind the steering wheel! But before you plan your summer adventures, be sure to check the legal driving age in your state.
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What is the driving age in Ohio?

In Ohio, the minimum driving age is 15 ½ years old for a Graduated Drivers License. Drivers must be 18 to apply for a standard unrestricted driver’s license. 

What is the Graduated Drivers License program in Ohio?

According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), one of the leading causes of death among drivers involves a motor vehicle collision. Ohio followed other US states in implementing the Graduated Drivers License program (GDL) to reduce the high crash risk of teenage drivers. 
By going through the GDL program, young drivers can gradually gain driving experience before receiving unrestricted driving privileges. In most states, the GDL program will include three stages:
  • Instruction permit or learner’s permit stage: driving with supervision
  • Provisional license stage: limited unsupervised driving with nighttime restrictions
  • Full license stage: unrestricted standard driver’s license
MORE: Ohio driver's license requirements

How to get your instruction permit in Ohio

If you’re under the age of 18, you’re required to complete the GDL program through the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). This funnels young drivers through different phases until they can earn their full driver’s license. 
Here are the requirements to obtain a learner’s permit:
  • You must be at least 15 ½ years old
  • Pass a knowledge test and vision screening
  • Surrender Ohio identification card when a temporary instruction permit identification card is issued
To prepare for your knowledge test, you can use the
Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws
. You must score 75 percent (30 out of 40 questions) to pass. If you fail, you must wait at least 24 hours before retesting. Fortunately, there’s no limit on the number of retests you can do.
Within 60 days of passing the test, you can purchase a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC) at a deputy registrar license agency. You must provide proof of:
  • Your full legal name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number (if assigned)
  • Your citizenship or legal presence
If you’re a driver under 18 years old and unemancipated, you must be accompanied by a responsible person. The responsible person must present identification (driver’s license or ID card) to co-sign for your brand new TIPIC. 

Provisional instruction permit restrictions

The learner’s permit must be held for a minimum of six months of supervised driving. During this period you must accomplish the following:
  • Enroll and complete a driver education class at a licensed driver training school. It must include 24 hours of classroom or online instruction and 8 hours of driving time.
  • Complete an additional 50 hours of experience with a parent, guardian, or custodian, which includes at least 10 hours of night driving.
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How to get your provisional driver’s license in Ohio

Once you turn 16 and have completed the supervised driving period, you’ll be ready to move onto the second GDL phase.
Here are the requirements to obtain a provisional driver’s license:
  • You must be at least 16 years old
  • Hold an Ohio learner’s permit (TIPIC) for at least 6 months
  • Provide your valid Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC)
  • Provide your Driver Education Certificate of Completion
  • Provide a
    fifty-hour affidavit
    filled out by a guardian 
  • Pass the driving test
  • The vehicle used for the driving test must have a valid registration, proof of insurance, and pass the examiner’s vehicle inspection to ensure that it is road safe
  • Provide acceptable documents for your proof of identity, proof of SIN, and proof of address if it was not previously provided
  • Pay the applicable fees
You’re allowed three attempts to pass your driving test. If you fail, you’ll have to wait seven days before retesting. If you fail on the last attempt, you’ll have to wait six months before you’re allowed to take the test again.
Key Takeaway For ultimate preparation, practice driving the days leading up to your driving test, then bring your learner’s permit (TIPIC), Driver Education Certificate of Completion, and proof of driving practice to the BMV. 

Provisional driver’s license restrictions

Your new driver’s license will allow you to drive solo but will come with restrictions until you turn 18. Violating any of the following restrictions could lead to penalties and license revocation:
  • You may not operate a vehicle from 12:00 am to 6:00 a.m. unless you’re accompanied by a parent or guardian, driving to or from work with documentation (see form BMV 2825), or driving to or from an official school or religious event with documentation (see form BMV 2826)
  • After the first 12 months of getting your license, you may not operate a vehicle from 1:00 am to 5:00 am unless you’re in a situation as stated in the previous point.
  • You may not operate a vehicle with more than one non-family member as a passenger unless a parent or guardian is present.
  • Driver and all passengers must wear seat belts.
  • Driver may not use any mobile devices, including cell phones.
Pro Tip If you’re convicted of a traffic offense within the first six months of getting your license, a parent or guardian may be required to accompany you for six months or until you turn 17—so remember to always drive responsibly! 


section 4507.071
, the Ohio Drivers License Hardship Law allows limited driving privileges to be granted to minors who are fourteen or fifteen years of age. You will need to provide proof of hardship that is satisfactory to the registrar of motor vehicles, which can include:
  • Occupational, educational, vocational, or medical purposes
  • Taking the driver’s or commercial driver’s license examination
  • Attending court-ordered treatment
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In Ohio, teenagers can get an Ohio driver’s license at the age of 16 if they have held their learner’s permit (TIPIC) for at least 6 months. However, you will also need to complete a driver education course and an additional 50 hours of driving experience, with 10 hours being at night. The applicant must also pass the driving skills test and have no moving violation convictions.
You can drive alone at 17 in Ohio from 6:00 am to 12:00 am, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
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