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Learners get the ticket

If a licensed driver is supervising a new driver using a learner's permit, and the newbie gets pulled over, who gets the ticket, the driver with the permit or the licensed driver who's supervising?

— Tom C., Eagle Point

The permit holder pays the price, Tom. Oregon law notes that the holder of a learner's permit — actually called an instruction driver permit — is subject to the same laws as any other driver.

Both adult and teen instruction permit holders must be accompanied by a licensed driver older than 21. But if they are pulled over, the ticket is on them.

Under Oregon's system, an instruction permit is available to 15-year-olds who pass a written test. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds are eligible for a provisional license after they pass a written test and a driving skills (behind-the-wheel) test. They are not required to have an adult driver with them in the car.

They can obtain a driver's license without having had an instruction permit. However, if the 16- or 17-year-old fails the driving skills test, they must have an instruction permit for a month before they are eligible to take another driving test.

Teen drivers under 18 face penalties beyond fines if they receive multiple tickets. For the first non-major traffic conviction, provisional drivers receive a warning letter, and it ramps up if there are more tickets: A second conviction requires a meeting with a driver-improvement counselor who must determine a remedial action (defensive driving course, restricted license or other); a third conviction leads to a license suspension and a fourth results in license suspension until the 18th birthday.