For new drivers, especially when they are teens, the first couple of years on the road are the most dangerous. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, research shows that new teen drivers, ages 16-17 years old, are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash.
In an attempt to reduce the number of fatal teen crashes that occur every year, Ohio utilizes a three-stage licensing process to ease teen drivers into becoming safe, knowledgeable and responsible drivers. These stages include getting a learner’s permit, then after formal instruction and practice, a teen driver can test for a probationary license, followed by a full license at age 16.
Getting a Learner’s Permit
The first step toward getting an Ohio driver’s license is to apply for a temporary restriction permit identification card (TIPIC), aka “temps” or a “learner’s permit.” Teens under 16 years old are allowed to drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older seated in the front passenger seat.
When your son or daughter is 15 ½ years old, you can head to your local BMV office and simply provide proof of residency, identity and age. Your teen will also need to pass the vision test and a written exam. The written exam will consist of twenty questions broken into two sections: motor vehicle regulations and traffic signs. At least fifteen correct answers are required to pass, so make sure they’ve studied up!
Once they’ve got that permit, they should use this time to practice and study as much as possible, so that they will be prepared to pass the licensing tests with flying colors. We recommend the following steps to ensure that your teen is using their “temps” effectively:
Sign them up for teen driving classes as soon as possible.
In the state of Ohio, your teen will need to pass a written exam and will also need a minimum of eight hours of driving with a certified instructor before they can apply for a license. This formal instruction will ground them in the rules of the road, proper technique and good safety habits from day one.
Practice, practice, practice.
New drivers need a lot of experience behind the wheel to become a safe and responsible driver. If your teen is under 18 years old, aside from learning with a certified instructor, they will need to complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice with a licensed adult, including ten hours at night. Don’t be limited to the minimum of 50 hours of practice – the more driving time they get, the more confident and relaxed they’ll feel on the day of their driving test. Be sure to have them drive at different times of day and in different types of weather to see how they’ll react to any situation, like rush hour traffic congestion or wet, slippery roads.
Instill good habits right away.
The safety checks, protocols and techniques your teen uses during this time are formative and lasting. Make it a point to have them review and repeat the right kind of habits to stay safe; like eliminating distractions, being vigilant and observant of everything around them, checking mirrors, being aware of blind spots and all the other safety practices they have been taught in class. Make these habits so ingrained that they will become second nature to your teen for the rest of their driving career.
Draw up a driving contract.
Before your teen gets out on the road for the first time, sit down and discuss the rules. They should know that driving is a privilege, and there are guidelines they need to follow in order to retain their right to drive. Define the rules regarding alcohol and cell phone use, filling the gas tank, speeding, and so on. Together, draw up a plan or contract that highlights these rules, and spells out the consequences if that contract is broken, so your teen knows the expectations up front.
Ready to get started? Contact DriveTeam and enroll in our comprehensive teen driving classes. Our instructors will get your teen prepared for both the written portions and the behind-the-wheel portions of their driving test. They will learn all the rules of the road, as well as Ohio traffic laws and common highway warnings.
New teen drivers receive the most thorough training possible if they enroll in our Performance Based Driver Education Program (PBDE). DriveTeam’s four-level, state-licensed program far exceeds Ohio’s minimum requirements for driver education. Students advance through each level of this 46-hour program at their own pace. They are required to demonstrate proficiency at each level before progressing to the next.
We look forward to getting your new teen driver on the road safely!