The Edmond Sun

August 17, 2013

ASK A LAWYER: State rules, parents’ rules may differ on driver’s permits

By Matt Hopkins
Special to The Sun

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly series of columns written by attorneys at Lester, Loving & Davies Law Firm in Edmond.



Q: When can my teenager get her driver’s permit?

A:
If your daughter has successfully completed a drivers’ education course, she is eligible for a permit when she turns 15 1/2. Without the course, she must be 16. Written and vision tests are required.

Technically, that’s the law. But at our house, Oklahoma law on this subject is more of a guideline than a rule. While the State of Oklahoma allows a permit at 15 1/2, the Hopkins House Rules may lead to one or more delays.  And guess what? The house rules don’t apply equally to all applicants.

Our oldest daughter received her driver’s permit on the first possible day — in fact, we lined up at the DMV before dawn. But in her, we had a child who was 30 years old the day she was born. We knew she would be safe and responsible on the road, and we were glad to rush her through so that she could run our errands.

And then came driver two. He is a delightful child. He is smart and talented and sweet. He follows the rules. But, in his hands, the open road is a thing for his parents to fear. Even if he knows where to go and how to get there, a shiny object may draw his attention away from the plan. He is the type of kid who may take interest in a squirrel and follow it for two days before he realizes he has no idea where he is or how he got there. Or how to get back.  He is a joy, and we love him. And because we love him the way he is — alive and all — we have been less interested in getting him to the DMV on time.

And so the answer to when he could obtain a permit was different than it was with his sister. Same law. Same parents. Different kid. He now has his permit, and we have every confidence in his ability to drive. Unfortunately, experience teaches us to question his ability to stay focused on the fact that he is the one driving the car. So, we have armed him with all that we can.  Driver’s education, good insurance and a 1971 Lincoln Continental that weighs 5,000 pounds and is as big as a house. It’s white. You might watch out for it.



MATT HOPKINS is an attorney for Lester, Loving & Davies P.C. More information is available at lldlaw.com. Send questions to questions@lldlaw.com.