Oregon Graduated Drivers License
Traffic safety is taken very seriously all over the country and most states have adopted some form a graduated drivers license program to decrease the number of traffic accidents on public roads. Oregon is no exception to the trend with its graduated driver license system that targets drivers under the age of 18. The Oregon graduated drivers license program enforces a number of additional restrictions and requirements that must be met before a full Oregon drivers license can be issued to the applicant. Statistics collected throughout the nation show that measures such as the Oregon graduated driver license program help to significantly reduce the number of traffic accidents.
So what is the graduated drivers license system and why do we even need it? The graduated drivers license program is a set of laws and requirements that are presented before teenage drivers license applicants. In Oregon, the graduated drivers license system combines such things as traffic safety classes, an extended holding period for a learners permit, supervised driving hours and provisional drivers licenses to ensure that teenage drivers get through their first years of driving as safely as possible.
Lack of driving experience is probably a number one risk factor for those who just got their first Oregon drivers license. Without many hours of driving experience, a driver simply does not know how to predict and avoid dangerous on road situations. In some cases, the driver's inexperience may cause a dangerous situation, when the driver breaks the rules, fails to give right of way or simply drives recklessly. The graduated drivers license system uses a number of restrictions that were designed to correct these issues.
Right about now, you may be asking yourself why the Oregon graduated driver's license laws apply only to drivers who are under 18 years of age if they were designed for inexperienced drivers. Those who got licensed at the age of 25 have just as much driving experience as those who got their drivers license at 16, so why treat them differently? The reason why the graduate drivers license is applicable to teens only is because statistics show us that young drivers have much higher crash rates than drivers for any other age group. One in every five teenage drivers have a traffic accident during their first year of driving and traffic accidents is a number one cause of death for people between 15 and 20 years. Young drivers tend to overestimate their driving skills, they are more likely to take risks and less likely to use seat belts. This is the reason why the graduated drivers license laws apply only to teenagers and not every drivers license applicant.
Oregon Graduated License Stages
One of the key mechanisms of the graduated license system is dividing the licensing procedure into a number of steps instead of granting the applicant full driving privileges. Each one of these graduated license stages has its own requirements that must be met before the applicant can proceed to the next level. As the student goes through these steps, additional driving privileges are awarded, up until the point when the student attains a full Oregon drivers license. At the moment, the graduated license system includes the following stages:
- Learners permit
- Provisional drivers license
- Full drivers license
Please remember: the Oregon graduated drivers license system applies only to drivers who are under 18 years of age. If you already turned 18, you can obtain an Oregon learners permit and drivers license through a simplified procedure.
Oregon Learners Permit
The minimum age for entering the program and applying for a learners permit is 15. At this point, you are required to take an Oregon permit test that will assess your knowledge of the state driving rules and road signs. If you want to see what kind of questions you will get on the permit test, you may take an Oregon practice permit test. Practice tests help you get accustomed to the wording used by the Department of Motor Vehicles and identify the driving rules you may have missed when you were preparing for the exam.
Once you have the learners permit, you can start driving, provided you observe the Oregon permit restrictions. According to the restrictions, you are not allowed to drive alone and must have another licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age accompany you at all times while you are driving. You are not allowed to use a cell phone or any other electronic device while driving with your learners permit.
According to the graduated license requirements, you must hold your learners permit for at least six months before you can take an Oregon drivers test. During this period, you have to complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving and a state-approved Oregon drivers education course or 100 hours of supervised driving. In our opinion, you should go for completing the drivers ed class and then stacking as many supervised driving hours as possible behind your belt, without limiting yourself to these required 50 hours. The more hours you gain now, the better and safer driver you will be in the future.
In order for the supervised driving hours to count towards the required 50 or 100 hours, the supervising driver must be at least 25 years of age and have at least three years of driving experience.
If you meet the above requirements, you may take a driving test and apply for a provisional drivers license.
Oregon Provisional Drivers License
The Oregon provisional drivers license is issued to those drivers license applicants who are between 16 and 17 years of age, have met the graduated license requirements of the previous stage and have passed the drivers license test. In addition to the drivers skills test, the DMV requires you to take an additional knowledge test, which is called the Oregon Safe Driving Practices test. This test is very similar to the one you took when you applied for a drivers permit, but this time it will also cover safe driving techniques that you should have learners during your supervised driving stage. You are strongly advised to review the Oregon drivers manual before attempting to pass the exam.
The provisional drivers license allows driving alone, but comes with a number of restrictions of its own.
- Cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone while driving, even with a hands-free accessory. This includes both texting and making a call.
- Passenger restrictions. For the first six months, you are not allowed to carry any passengers under the age of 20. For the remaining time, no more than three passengers under the age of 20 can be present in the vehicle. Your immediate family members are excluded from this rule.
- Curfew. You are not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
The nighttime driving restriction may be lifted if the following requirements are met:
- you are driving between home and work
- you are driving between home and a school event for which no other transportation is available
- you are driving for employment purposes
- you are accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 25 years of age
Passenger restrictions can be excuses if you are driving with a licensed parent or a certified driving instruction.
The Oregon graduated drivers license law requires you to hold your drivers license for at least 12 months or until you turn 18, whatever comes first. At this point, your graduated drivers license is upgraded to a full unrestricted drivers license.