Ohio Student Driving Laws

By Kristen May
Crash on the street. German auto model 2007. image by Dariusz Kopestynski from Fotolia.com

Ohio, like many other states, has a number of driving laws that apply only to teens under 18 years of age. These laws are an effort to train drivers well and reduce the number of teen driving accidents. Ohio's student driving laws also outline the consequences of having a poor driving record.

Temporary Instruction Permit Laws

Before starting to practice driving, Ohio requires that people hold a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC). These cards are issued to those at 15 years and 6 months of age. Until the 16th birthday, drivers holding a TIPIC must have a licensed parent, legal guardian or certified driving instructor sitting beside them in the vehicle. TIPIC holders 16 years of age or older just need a licensed driver at least 21 years of age sitting beside them. In order to drive with a TIPIC between midnight and 6 a.m., a parent or guardian must be in the vehicle.

Obtaining a Probationary Driver's License

Teens in Ohio who hold a TIPIC must meet a number of requirements before obtaining their probationary driver's license. The driver must be 16 years of age or older and needs to have had a TIPIC for at least 6 months. In addition to completing 24 hours of classroom driving instruction in a certified program and 8 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with a certified instructor, the teen's parent must sign to verify that 50 hours of practice driving have been completed, including 10 hours at nighttime.

Probationary Driver's License Laws

There are a number of limitations on the probationary driver's license that teens in Ohio have until they reach their 18th birthday. First, 16-year-olds cannot drive with more than one passenger who is not a family member, unless the driver's parent or guardian is in the vehicle. Second, 16-year-olds cannot drive between midnight and 6 a.m. and 17-year-olds cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The exceptions to the night driving rules are if the driver is in an emergency situation, traveling to or from work with written documentation from the employer, traveling to or from a school activity, or is accompanied by the driver's parent or guardian. Third, all occupants of the vehicle must be wearing their own seat belts.

Suspensions and Restrictions

In Ohio, the probationary driver's license or TIPIC can be suspended or restricted due to failure to comply with the above laws or due to accidents and traffic violations. For example, if a 16-year-old who has had a probationary driver's license for less than 6 months is ticketed with a moving violation, then the driver must have a parent or guardian in the vehicle while driving for the next 6 months or until their 17th birthday. Having three moving violations or one conviction of an alcohol-related offense before the age of 18 can result in suspension of the driver's license or TIPIC for up to a year. In order to get a suspended license back, students in Ohio must complete a juvenile driver improvement program and retake the driver's test.