Licensing & State Laws
Oklahoma uses a multi-stage licensing process (Graduated Driver Licensing – or GDL) for teens. This system allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time. The learner permit and intermediate stages are key steps.
Oklahoma’s State License Process
Oklahoma’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system encourages teens to take driver’s education by allowing them to drive at an earlier age than teens who choose not to take driver’s education. State-recognized driver’s education programs can be those offered by high schools and commercial driving schools, as well as parent-taught courses, such as AAA Oklahoma’s “Take the Wheel” program. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has certified “Take the Wheel” as bona fide driver’s education under the state’s GDL system and it qualifies teens for standard auto insurance discounts offered by most insurance companies, including AAA Insurance Company.
At age 15 ½, teens who are taking or who have taken some form of driver’s education may get their Learner Permit if they pass the written driving test and a vision exam. Teens who do not take driver’s education have to wait until they are 16 before getting their Learner Permit, then the same process above applies.
With a Learner Permit, teens may drive while accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, has been a licensed driver for at least two years and is sitting in the front passenger seat. During this phase, teens should complete at least 50 hours (including 10 hours at night) of supervised driving with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and who has been licensed for at least two years.
At age 16 and having held a learner permit for at least six months, teens may apply for an intermediate license. To apply, teens must have held a learner permit for at least six months, been convicted of no traffic offenses and completed at least 50 hours (including 10 hours at night) of supervised driving. After passing the driving skills exam, teens may then receive an intermediate license. Teens who have not taken driver education will not be eligible for this phase until at least age 16 ½.
An Intermediate License allows teens to drive unsupervised between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. unless it is to or from activities related to school, church or work. Teens may drive at any time if accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and who is sitting in the front passenger seat. A teen holding an intermediate license is subject to passenger restrictions while driving, either: one passenger; only passengers who live in the teen’s home; or any number of passengers if the teen is accompanied by a licensed driver, at least 21 years old, sitting in the front passenger seat.
At age 16 ½, and having held an intermediate license for at least six months without receiving any traffic convictions, teens may obtain an unrestricted Class D Oklahoma Driver’s License. A teen who has not taken driver education will not be eligible for this full license until at least age 17. There are no passenger or night restrictions for a teen with a full license, although AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.
Learner Permits and Intermediate Licenses may be suspended or canceled if the teen is found to have been driving while using a hand-held electronic device, such as a cellular telephone, to either talk or text, unless such use is related to a life-threatening emergency situation.
At age 18, teens in Oklahoma are no longer subject to provisions of the GDL law. An individual who is at least 18 years old may obtain an unrestricted Class D License by passing all driving and vision exams.
A parent-teen driving agreement can help you enforce licensing rules that the state and your family set. An agreement helps you and your teen understand the rules of the road and sends a clear message that driving is an earned privilege that your family takes seriously.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, through its Driver License Services Division, is in charge of licensing for all drivers in Oklahoma. DPS conducts the written exam and road test needed to get a driver’s license. It also provides study materials to help your teen get ready for the exams.
- If stopped by the police, teens should expect to present a valid license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
- If stopped as a driver or passenger, teens should always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement.
- If in any kind of situation involving law enforcement, teens should talk to their parents about it, because this can create a learning experience.