Oklahoma follows other states, signing farm driving-permit law for minors

AGDAILY Reporters

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt recently signed a bill into law that will allow teenagers as young as 14 who live or work on a family farm to be eligible for a driving permit to go directly to or from home, work, or school.

House Bill 1962 becomes effective November 1, allowing Service Oklahoma, the state’s motor vehicle service, to prepare the new permits. 

“Those who run family farms work from dawn to dusk to raise food and other crops to provide for families across the nation,” state Rep. Carl Newton said. “Allowing these responsible teens to be a more effective part in meeting the needs on the farm by using their driving skills in work around the farm or driving to school will be a major benefit for family farms. I’ve already heard from a number of constituents that this will help them tremendously, and I’m very pleased to be able to offer them this added benefit.” 

The bill was primarily authored by Republican state Sen. Darcy Jech, following the lead of Kansas, which has had similar legislation in place for over 60 years. 

“Many children from rural communities begin working on their family farm at a very young age,” Jech said. “By the time they are teenagers, they are well-versed in agricultural practices and ready to take on larger roles on the operation. The farm permits and licenses available under House Bill 1962 will aid these teens in their work on their own farms and ranches, as well as make it easier for them to work at other local operations. I’d like to extend my appreciation to Representative Newton for his work on this legislation, as well as Governor Stitt supporting our state’s young agriculturists and entrepreneurs by signing it into law.”

Applicants who receive a permit will be required to pass all driving requirements and operate under specific restrictions of the farm permit. Teens younger than 16 can drive a car directly to and from farm-related work and can drive anywhere except on an interstate or turnpike with a licensed driver in the passenger seat. 

While you cannot get a full, legal driver’s license at 14, other states that allow drivers to secure a learner’s permit as young as 14 include Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Oklahoma’s new law mirrors Kansas nearly identically, while Nebraska’s Farm Husbandry Permits Nebraska allows youth as young as 13 if they live on a farm, and 14 if they’re employed by a farm.

Iowa passed legislation in 2021 that provided an allowance for drivers age 14-18 who are working for a farm to drive legally. Prior to 2021, eligibility only applied to school-related purposes within 50 miles of the school.

In Minnesota, teens as young as 15 can qualify for a specific, restricted farm work license after completing a driver’s education course and passing a road test. 

While North Dakota allows drivers age of 14 and 15 to drive a farm motor vehicle within 150 miles of a driver’s farm, South Dakota allows drivers as young as 14 to secure an instructional permit.