Permit Rules for Driving in Ohio

by Trudy Brunot; Updated September 26, 2017

Ohio calls its driving learner’s permits Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Cards, or TIPICs. Although teen drivers can get their TIPICs six months before their 16th birthdays, they must wait another six months after getting it to take the road and maneuverability tests and become fully licensed. Teen permit holders progress through two phases of instruction and behind-the-wheel practice during this time. Each phase imposes restrictions and performance requirements meant to minimize accidents and maximize driving skill.

Pre-16 Permit Restrictions

A student driver must have her TIPIC with her whenever she gets behind the wheel. Under-16 TIPIC holders can only operate a vehicle if a licensed parent, legal custodian, guardian or certified driving teacher sits in the front passenger seat. Parents have the option of completing a Loco Parentis Affidavit and having it notarized to allow a driver who is at least 21 years old to take their place as driving supervisor. All vehicle occupants must wear seat belts.

Rules for 16-Year Olds

The list of eligible student driver supervisors includes any 21-year old licensed driver after a TIPIC holder turns 16. Student drivers must have a parent, legal guardian or custodian, or a certified driving instructor seated next to them when driving between midnight and 6 a.m. The rules for carrying the TIPIC and using seat belts also apply.

Test Eligibility

Student drivers in Ohio must acquire 50 hours of on-the-road experience under the supervision of a parent or guardian, ten of which must be at night, while adhering to the basic permit rules. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles defines night driving as 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. The supervising adult must complete a BMV 5791 Fifty Hour Affidavit and have it notarized, certifying that the student met this requirement. Permit holders must also attend a driver education program that includes eight hours of driving experience and 24 hours of classroom instruction before they can take the skills tests.

Probationary License Regulations

Drivers who pass both road and maneuverability tests receive a probationary license, the third phase of new-driver status in Ohio. Until they reach their 18th birthdays, probationary license holders can have only one non-family member ride with them unless a licensed parent or guardian is also a passenger. They're prohibited from driving between midnight and 6 a.m. until age 17 unless they're accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian. This time restriction changes to 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. for drivers ages 17 to 18 unless a parent or guardian is in the car or an emergency or school activity is involved. Probationary license holders who work during these early hours and have employer documentation or a completed form BMV 2825 are permitted to drive to and from their jobs. Ohio replaces probationary licenses with full driver's licenses at age 18.

About the Author

Trudy Brunot began writing in 1992. Her work has appeared in "Quarterly," "Pennsylvania Health & You," "Constructor" and the "Tribune-Review" newspaper. Her domestic and international experience includes human resources, advertising, marketing, product and retail management positions. She holds a master's degree in international business administration from the University of South Carolina.

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