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Teach Your Teen to Drive

Before you get started on the road to independent driving, you need to know the requirements to obtain a license and the stages of the graduated driver license law (GDL).

The GDL law allows you to gain driving privileges in stages - first, you demonstrate basic driving knowledge to get a permit to practice driving skills under supervision, and then, gain experience driving independently in lower-risk driving situations before receiving a full license. Research shows how state GDL programs have significantly reduced serious crash rates for new teen drivers.

Ohio Requirements

In Ohio, a young driver must:

  1. Complete a driver education class at a licensed driver training school, which includes 24 hours of classroom or online instruction and 8 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
  2. Complete 50 hours of in-car practice (10 at night) with a parent or legal guardian.
  3. Hold a temporary instruction permit for at least six months.

Here are links to key information from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles about your first issuance of a driver license. You will be redirected to State of Ohio BMV website.

Get Ready to Drive

Use these helpful, evidence-based resources from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's (CHOP) Teen Driver Source website to make the most of supervised driving practice.

The Ohio Traffic Safety Office funded Ohio-based, scientific research and collaborated with CHOP to provide practical tools and guidelines for families. CHOP is a national leader in injury research and prevention and includes a team of behavioral scientists, clinicians, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, engineers, and many others dedicated to making children, teens, and young adults safe from injury.

Use the CHOP Teen Driving Plan Practice Guide's driving lessons and short videos to prepare behind-the-wheel practice sessions and gain diverse skills and experience in a variety of driving environments. This process helps new drivers avoid the most common serious crash situations they'll likely face during their first year of driving alone.

Here are helpful links to information from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. You will be redirected to pages on TeenDriverSource.org.

Drive Alone

Drivers under 18 can drive alone once they earn a probationary license. A probationary license lasts until a driver turns 18, and it restricts certain activities known to be dangerous for new drivers.

An Ohio driver with a probationary license has different restrictions on driving at night or how many passengers may ride with them. The restrictions are based upon the length of time a driver holds their probationary license.

For the first year after a teen receives their probationary license:

  • Passengers - they may have no more than one non-family member as a passenger. All riders in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
  • Nighttime restrictions - They may not drive between midnight and six a.m.
  • Cellular devices - No cell phone use is permitted unless for emergency purposes, which they must pull off the road to do so.

After the first year and before the teen turns 18 years of age:

  • Passengers - no more passengers than the number of originally installed safety belts. All passengers and driver must wear a safety belt.
  • Nighttime restrictions - They may not drive between the hours of one a.m. and five a.m.
  • Cellular devices - No cell phone use is permitted unless for emergency purposes, which they must pull off the road to do so.

Families should consider a teen's probationary license period as a "learner permit plus" or as "independent practice." During this time, parents can establish a supportive framework for their teen to continue learning by driving independently, but without the additional pressures and dangers associated with full licensure.