Graduated Licensing

Graduated licensing is a system designed to implement full licensure in stages and under controlled conditions. Beginning drivers are given the opportunity to become more experienced under lower risk conditions.

A juvenile may apply for a learner’s permit if he or she is at least 15 years and six months of age. During this timeframe, students are expected to successfully complete a state-approved driver education program, including a road test, as well as complete 45 hours behind the wheel, with 15 of those being after sunset.

After holding a learner’s permit for nine months, and with written permission from the parent, a student may apply for a driver’s license. If the student successfully passes the final road test, the school will issue him or her a certificate. The certificate, combined with a learner’s permit, acts as a valid driver’s license for 180 days. Within the 180 day period, the student will receive notice to attend a juvenile and domestic relations court licensing ceremony where he or she will receive a driver’s license. Drivers under age 18 have the following restrictions on their driver’s license:

  • Prohibits driving with more than one non-family passenger less than 18 years old until the holder has held a provisional license for one year, and no more than three non-family passengers less than 18 years old until age 18.
  • Restricts licensed drivers younger than 18 years old from operating a vehicle between midnight and 4 a.m., except when driving (i) to and from work; (ii) to and from a school sponsored activity; (iii) when accompanied by a parent or person in loco parentis, or by a spouse who is 18 years old or older; (iv) in cases of emergency; or (v) when responding to fire or some other emergency as a volunteer firefighter or rescue worker.
  • Prohibits drivers under age 18 from using cell phones or wireless communication devices while driving, regardless of hand-held or hands-free, except in a driver emergency and the vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped.
  • Requires passengers younger than 18 years of age who are occupying the rear seats of a vehicle to use safety belts.

To learn more, read the full law.

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Graduated licensing is designed to help teens attain full licensure in stages under controlled conditions. Beginning drivers have the opportunity to become more experienced under lower risk conditions.

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