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Apply for Oregon Drivers License

Apply for Oregon Drivers License

Finally got your mind set on applying for a drivers license in Oregon? It isn't hard, provided you know what you're doing. The application process is broken into a number of stages, each stage comes with its own set of tests and requirements. To complicate things even further, teen drivers and adult have to follow difference procedures when applying for a driving license at the Oregon DMV. For your convenience, we have broken the application requirements into two groups, so you can just skip right to the section that applies to you.

Driving License Application - Under 18 Years of Age

Due to the fact that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than an average driver, they face additional requirements when it comes to applying for a drivers license. These requirements are known as the Oregon graduate driver's license program and it is a must for everyone who wishes to obtain driving privileges before the 18th birthday.

Your first step towards a drivers license is obtaining an Oregon driver's permit. You must be no younger than 15 years of age and you will be required to take a knowledge exam and a vision test before the DMV issues you with a permit. The tests can be taken at any local DMV office, no appointment is necessary.

The main reason why you need to a permit is because it allows you to practice driving before you go ahead and take your driver license test. Mind you, the driving privileges that you get under the permit are very limited, for example, you are forbidden from driving alone and must have a person with a valid Oregon driver's license at least 21 years of age accompany you whenever you are driving. Other Oregon permit restrictions also apply, make sure you know all about them.

The permit needs to be held for at least 180 days before you can apply for an Oregon driver's license and during these days you are to meet other driving license requirements. The GDL program mandates that you are to complete either 50 hours of supervised driving and a state-approved Oregon drivers education course OR 100 hours of supervised driving. The choice is yours, however we advise that you take drivers ed, no matter how many driving hours you complete, since the course can teach you a lot of useful stuff about safe driving. Another thing to remember is that in order for those supervised driving hours to count towards the required minimum time, the supervising driver must have at least three years of driving experience.

When the required holding period is up, you can go ahead and schedule the driving test with the DMV. The state also requires you to take another knowledge test at this point, which is called the Safe Driving Practices Test. It is very similar to knowledge exam that you take for your permit, but it also incorporates questions on safe driving practices, something you should have learned during the supervised driving period.

Those who pass the required tests are awarded with an intermediate driver's license. Note that word - intermediate. It should give a hint that this license does not grant you full driving privileges yet. Some of the common provisional license restrictions in Oregon are the curfew and passenger restrictions. Once again, you will need to know all about license restrictions and follow them throughout this intermediate license period.

Finally, when the provisional period is up, you can obtain a full unrestricted Oregon drivers license. You do not need to take any additional action at that point.

Applying for Drivers License - 18 Years of Age and Older

Applying for drivers license is much easier when you are at least 18 years of age. Graduated license rules do not cover you anymore, so you go through a simplified licensing process.

The first thing you need to do is to apply for an Oregon learners permit. You can do so at any local DMV office during regular business hours. The DMV will require you to take a vision test and a knowledge exam that covers the state's driving rules and traffic signs. When you pass the tests, you are issued with an interim card and your drivers permit is mailed to you.

As soon as you receive the interim card, you can start your driving practice. There is no minimum amount of time that you need to hold the permit for, however you are advised to practice as much as possible before you schedule the driving test and apply for a drivers license. Remember that you can drive only while there is a licensed driver seated in the front seat next to you. The licensed driver must be at least 21 years of age.

When you feel comfortable behind the wheel, schedule the road test with the DMV. Those who successfully pass the test are issued with a full unrestricted drivers license.

Testing Requirements

Everyone applying for an Oregon drivers license is required to take three tests: a vision exam, a knowledge test taken before the permit is issued and a driving test that is taken before you are awarded with your first license. Applicants under the age of 18 years are also required to take a second knowledge test which is called Oregon Safe Driving Practices Exam and is taken right before the driving test.

Vision Test

The following minimum vision requirements must be met when applying for an Oregon driving license:

  • visual acuity level 20/70
  • field of vision 110 degrees

If you do not meet these standards, you are referred to an eye care specialist who will make a professional assessment of your eye sight and provide you with a report to take to the DMV. Depending on the results of this assessment, you be issued with limited driving privileges or you may be denied any driving privileges at all.

If you wear glasses or contact lenses during the eye exam, a note will be placed onto your drivers license and you will be required to wear glasses whenever you are driving.

Drivers Permit Test

Obviously, the DMV cannot let you loose on the road without making sure that you have some knowledge of driving rules and won't be a menace to other drivers. This is what the Oregon permit test is for - to test your knowledge of the state driving rules and regulations.

If you have already done a few searches on the Internet, you may have encountered opinions that the knowledge test is very easy and that you don't even have to prepare for it - just go to the DMV, answer a few questions and there you have it. You may choose to believe those rumors, since they sound so good, but we would advise against it. Failure rates for the drivers permit test are quite high, almost half of the drivers license applicants fail the test the first time they take it.

What we are trying to say here is that not studying is probably the worst thing you can do. Make sure you read the drivers license handbook and take the Oregon drivers practice test before you visit the DMV for the real thing.

Driving Test

Here it is, the ultimate test of your driving abilities, your control over the vehicle and your knowledge of driving rules. Don't be mislead by the name, although it is called a driving test, the Oregon drivers license test is a bit more than just a “driving test”. During the road test, your drivers license examiner will also pay a lot of attention to your knowledge of driving rules and how closely you follow them.

Just like with the knowledge exam, we advise that you practice and study as much as possible before visiting the DMV for your driver's license test appointment. Remember that every time you fail the test, the time that you need to wait increases. Those who fail the driving test five times need to wait at least a year before taking the road test again. Do you really want to wait a year before you can get your Oregon driving license?

Safe Driving Practices Knowledge Exam

The Safe Drivers Practices Test is only taken by those who choose to apply for an Oregon driving license before their 18th birthday. The test is taken just before the driving test and it is quite similar to the knowledge exam that is taken for the permit. The only difference is that the safe driver practices exam also incorporates questions on safe driving techniques, something you should have learned during the supervised driving period.