Oklahoma Graduated Drivers License Law
By now, 50 states have adopted some form of a graduated drivers license program and Oklahoma is no exception to the rule. The Oklahoma graduated drivers license law targets young drivers under the age of 18 and enforces a number of additional requirements and restrictions that do not apply to older drivers license applicants. The Oklahoma graduated drivers license law also mandates that teen drivers who want to apply for a learners permit before they are 16 years of age are to complete a state-approved drivers education class. Statistics show that most states that implemented a graduated drivers license system saw a significant decrease in the number of traffic accidents that involved teenage drivers.
So what is the graduated drivers license system? In couple of words, the graduated drivers license system is a set of measures that were implemented by the government in an attempt to reduce the number of drivers who die in traffic accidents every year. Lack of driving experience is definitely one of the major risk factors for those drivers who recently got their first Oklahoma drivers license as these drivers simply did not have enough time to polish their driving skills and may not always be able to judge the traffic situation correctly. Most of the seasoned drivers drive defensively even without taking any special classes, the techniques come to you with experience, you learn to identify potential trouble before it has a chance to happen and identifying a problem allows you to avoid it. This is what years of driving experience teach you and this is exactly what the new drivers are missing.
At this point, you may start asking yourself why do the Oklahoma graduate driver's license laws apply only to teenage drivers and not to everyone who just got licensed. It should not matter how old you are if you just got licensed yesterday, you have the same amount of driving experience and should be treated just like everyone else. This is partially true and some states, like Maryland, recognize this fact by having everyone go through almost the same procedure while applying for a drivers license or a learners permit. However, there is also data that shows that teen drivers are much more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than a driver over the age of 20. Traffic accidents are a number one cause of death for people between 15 and 20 years of age, something you should think about. Young drivers are less likely to use a seat belt, they tend to overload the vehicle with friends and they are more likely to take risks while driving. On the contrary, older drivers usually recognize the flaws in their driving and take active steps to correcting these flaws. This is the reason why the graduate drivers license system targets only teenage drivers and not every new Oklahoma learners permit applicant.
There are a number of measures that work together to achieve the declared goals. The younger the drivers license applicant is, the more requirements must be met before a drivers license is issued. For example, the minimum age for applying for a drivers permit is 15 and ½, but if you want to get your permit at this age, you must complete or be currently enrolled in a state-approved Oklahoma drivers education program. If you wait until you are at least 16 years of age, you can skip taking a drivers ed course, although you are not advised to do so. The graduated drivers license program also sets a number of addition permit and license restrictions for teens and breaks the licensing procedure into a number of steps or phases.
Oklahoma Graduated Drivers License Steps
Breaking the licensing procedure into a number of separate steps or phases as opposed to issuing the applicant with full driving privileges right away is one of the key elements of the graduated license process. As the applicant travels through these stages, additional driving skills are gained and the applicant is granted more driving privileges. The Oklahoma graduated license program has the following key stages:
- Learners permit
- Provisional drivers license
- Full drivers license
Keep in mind that the Oklahoma graduated divers license law applies only to drivers license applicants who are under the age of 18. If you are 18 years old or older, you can follow a simplified application procedure.
Oklahoma Learner's Permit
The minimum age for submitting the application for a learners permit is 15 and ½, provided you are currently taking a drivers education class or have already completed it. Please note that before you can be issued with a permit, you are required to pass an Oklahoma permit test that covers the state driving laws, traffic signs and safe driving practices. If you want to see what the real permit test is like, you may take a few Oklahoma permit practice tests, they will help you get familiar with the wording used by the DPS and help you identify the driving rules you may have missed when you were studying for the test.
Once you get a learners permit, you can get behind the wheel and start preparing for your Oklahoma drivers test. Please remember that you don't have a drivers license yet and that you are to observe all Oklahoma drivers permit restrictions. You are not allowed to drive alone and must have a licensed driver at least 21 years of age seated in the front seat next to you whenever you are driving.
You must hold your learners permit for at least six months before you can take a drivers test. During this period, you must finish your drivers education class if you were taking one and complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age and has at least three years of driving experience.
One of the conditions of being graduated to the next step of the graduated driver license system is not receiving any traffic convictions during this period. If you are convicted of a traffic violation or are involved in a crash, the holding period for your learners permit is extended by another six months.
Oklahoma Provisional Drivers License
Drivers license applicants under 17 years of age who fulfill the requirements of the previous stage and have successfully passed the drivers test can be issued with a provisional drivers license. The provisional license allows unsupervised driving, but still comes with the following restrictions.
- Curfew. No driving between 10 p.m. and midnight. This night time restriction can be lifted if you are driving to work, school, church or a related activity for which no other transportation is available. You can also dismiss this restriction if you have a licensed driver 21 years of age or older seated next to you.
- Passenger restrictions. No more than one passenger under the age of 21 can be present in the vehicle. All immediate family members are excused from this rule.
The provisional drivers license must be held for at least six months before it can be upgraded to a full unrestricted drivers license. If you are convicted of a traffic violation during this period, you will have to wait for another six months from the date of the violation before applying for a drivers license. You may check out the Oklahoma drivers handbook for detailed information about the consequences of you breaking the provisional license restrictions.