Licensing & State Laws

Oregon’s multi-stage licensing process allow teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time. The provisional instruction permit and license stages are key steps.

Provisional Instruction Permit

At age 15, teens can apply for a provisional instruction permit in the state of Oregon. To do so, both teen and parent must visit their local driver exam office with proof of full legal nameproof of legal presence in the U.S., identity and date of birthproof of Social Security Number, and proof of Oregon residence. Teens must pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test to receive a provisional instruction permit.

With a provisional instruction permit, teens may only drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. Teens are required to (1) practice driving for at least 50 hours and complete an ODOT-approved traffic safety education course, or (2) practice driving for at least 100 hours before they’re allowed a provisional license.  Practice driving must occur with a supervising driver who has been licensed for at least 3 years.

Provisional License

When teens turn 16, have had a provisional instruction permit for at least 6 months and have completed the required hours of practice driving, they can apply for this provisional license. They also must pass a behind-the-wheel driving test; complete a vision test; provide proof of practice driving time and/or completion of an ODOT- approved traffic safety education course; and provide proof of high school enrollment, completion or exemption. Legal guardians must accompany their teens to the DMV to sign the application form.

A teen with a provisional license is allowed to drive alone, but must follow certain restrictions. They may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. (Some exceptions are granted for school and work.) For the first 6 months of provisional licensure, they are also prohibited from driving with any non-family member passengers under age 20, unless a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian with a valid license is seated next to them in the vehicle. For the 2nd 6 months, they are prohibited from driving with more than 3 non-family member passengers under age 20. Teen drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts.

Full License

At age 17 teens are eligible for a full unrestricted license if they have held a provisional license for 1 year. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.

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 Oregon Department of Transportation, through its Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division, is in charge of licensing for all drivers in Oregon. The OR DOT 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.

State and local police enforce traffic laws and investigate crashes. Remind your teen that police can and will enforce all requirements on seat belt use, drinking and driving and other laws. Breaking the law can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties. Talk to your teen about these and other consequences, and explain what to do if stopped by police.

  • 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.

If your teen gets a ticket or is involved in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance. Judges deal seriously and directly with teen traffic violations. They can assess fines and suspend driving privileges for traffic offenses—even for a first offense.