To drive a vehicle in Ohio, you must have a valid driver’s license. If you are trying to drive for the first time, you must first apply for a Temporary Instructional Permit Identification Card. You will receive an OH driver’s license after completing an approved driver education course and passing a road test.
NOTE: Young drivers must also obtain an Ohio probationary driver’s license, which becomes a regular driver’s license on their 18th birthday.
Testing and Preparing to Drive
You must pass some tests before obtaining a driver’s license in Ohio. Depending on your age, you may also need to take an approved OH driver education course.
Before obtaining your temporary instructional card in Ohio, you must pass a vision screening and knowledge test. The vision test requires at least 20/40 vision and 70 degrees of side vision in each eye.
The Ohio written knowledge test includes 40 multiple choice questions about the state’s motor vehicle laws and traffic signs. It is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Russian, Somali, and Spanish; those who speak other languages must use an interpreter.
To pass, you must score at least 75 percent. If you fail, you must wait 24 hours before retaking the test.
To receive a driver’s license (or probationary license if under 18) you must also pass a road test. In the road test, an examiner will ride with you and observe your driving and maneuverability skills. The car you drive for the road test also must be in good condition before the test can begin; the examiner will inspect it before the test begins.
Those who pass the test can obtain their license. Those who do not need to wait seven days to retake the test. Those 18 and older also are required to take an abbreviated driver training course before retaking the road test.
Graduated Driver License
Ohio uses a graduated license program for those under 18 years old. After passing a road test, young drivers receive a probationary driver’s license which restricts the hours they can drive alone and the number of passengers they can have in the car. If no traffic violations occur, they automatically receive a regular license at 18 years old.
Remedial Driver Programs
Ohio may allow drivers who received traffic tickets to take an approved online defensive driving or traffic school course. You may need to check the court in the county where you received your ticket.
Drivers who have accumulated between 2 and 11 demerit points for traffic violations may be eligible to enroll in an approved remedial driver training course to obtain a credit for 2 points as well.
While the credit doesn’t wipe out demerit driving points you’ve already received, it acts as a cushion against future actions against your OH driver’s license.
You may take the course up to 5 times in your life but not more than once in any period of 3 years. After you’ve accumulated 12 demerit points, you are not eligible for the program.
Keep in mind that any additional violations committed within 12 months of completing the above programs will result in a license suspension. A suspension is also likely if you miss the driving course.
Defensive Driving Courses
Ohio defensive driving courses are voluntary and some insurance companies will provide discounts if you take them, especially if you are an older driver. The amount of the discount varies with the insurance company.