Posted on Nov 14, 2013

There's some positive news coming out of Oklahoma recently that is making parents feel a little better about driving-age teenagers taking to the open road. A new report is showing that fatal car accidents involving teens are actually dropping in the state of Oklahoma.


In the last eight years, the number of drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 involved in car accidents has dropped 28 percent. Garry Thomas, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, says that his office is very thankful to see the fatalities in this age group decreasing over the past several years.


"We attribute this trend partially to the Graduated Driver License law," said Thomas. "However, we consider every fatal crash a tragedy and we would like to see this number go down even more."


The Graduated Driver License law in Oklahoma gradually phases in driving privileges for new teen drivers so they can gain experience behind the wheel. For a student taking driver education courses, here's how the license progresses:


  • Learner Permit – The teen must be at least 15 1/2 years old, be currently receiving instruction in or have completed driver education, must have passed written driving exam, must have passed vision exam and must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21-years-old.


  • Intermediate License – The teen must have a Learner Permit for at least six months, must have had at least 50 hours—10 hours at night—of behind-the-wheel training from a licensed driver at least 21-years-old and licensed for two years, must have no traffic convictions on their driving record and must have passed the driving skills exam. They are only allowed to drive between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., unless for activities related to school, church, or work. They can drive any time if accompanied by a licensed driver that is at least 21-years-old. They can only have 1 passenger or any passenger that is accompanied by a licensed driver that is at least 21-years-old.


  • Unrestricted License – The teen must have had an Intermediate License for at least six months, must have no traffic convictions on their driving record or they must be at least 18-years-old and have passed all driving and vision exams.


Some type of graduated license program has been instituted in all 50 states and we're glad to see the positive effect it is having on Oklahoma.

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