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Different States, Different Driving Ages

Arkansas 14-year-olds can get hardship licenses. Oklahomans ... not so much.

Aiden Powell, Reporter

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If the Bixby Ninth Grade Center were 1,681 football fields east, then all freshmen Spartans could conceivably have hardship driver licenses or learner’s permits because Oklahoma’s permit age is age 15 ½ while Arkansas’s is 14 years.

In Arkansas, you can easily get a learner permit, but most kids (and their parents) don’t want to drive at this young age.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute show that Arkansas has the fifth-highest teen crash rate in the United States; 50 percent of Arkansas teens have car crashes, while Oklahoma’s teen crash rate is 36 percent.

The two institutes, on their website, state: “Studies show that 16-year-olds are most likely to be in a motor vehicle crash because motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In 2013,  2,163 teens in the United States ages 16-19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.”

In an article called “Teens at the Wheel,” the Chicago Tribune reports: “Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and lawmakers from that state have toughened teen driving requirements. Lawmakers tripled the length of time for a learner permit; limited the number of passengers allowed in a car driven by teens; restricted night driving hours; and raised the age at which teens can use cellphones behind the wheel from 18 to 19.”

The United States has 51 different driving laws, when one includes the District of Columbia. Following is a look at state license restrictions for teens in the states closest to Bixby. There is a lot of overlap between states, but some have significant differences.

Oklahoma

At age 15½, a teen taking or who has taken some form of driver education may get a learner permit if s/he passes the written driving test and a vision exam. After that, at age 16½ and having held an intermediate license (granted at age 16) for at least six months without receiving any traffic convictions, a teen may obtain an unrestricted Oklahoma driver’s license. A teen who has not taken driver education is not be eligible for this full license until at least age 17.

Arkansas

At age 14 to get a learner permit, a teen needs to take a written test. This teen cannot drive with more than one minor passenger in the vehicle unless s/he is a sibling and accompanied by a licensed driver 21 or older. A teen with a learner permit cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. unless s/he is with a licensed driver who is 21 or older. For a restricted license, a teen can be as young as 14½ and drive alone if going to or from a school, church or work or driving due to a family emergency.

In Kansas

At age 14, the teen driver needs to pass a vision test and written test and complete a certified driver education course. The teen must drive with a licensed driver 21 or older. The learner permit must be held for one year to advance to a restricted license, which can be obtained as early as 15 years old. For a restricted license, the teen has to have verified 50 hours of driving Driving is allowed anywhere from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., but the driver many not have more than one passenger under 18 unless s/he is a sibling

In Missouri

At age 14, a teen can get a permit and can practice with someone 25 or older who has  a three-year full license. A teen may get a restricted license at 16 (the minimum age). The license allows the driver to drive alone except from 1 to 5 a.m. At age 17 years and 11 months, the restricted license holder may apply for a full, three-year driver license.

In Texas

At 15, a teen can apply for a learner permit. Both the teen and a parent must visit the exam office. The teen must pass a written test and a vision test to receive a learner permit. In addition, the teen must be enrolled in driver education. With a learner’s permit, a teen may only drive with a licensed driver 21 or older. Teens are required to practice driving for at least 30 hours before they’re allowed a full driver’s license at 16 (the minimum age).

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