Learners Permit Requirements and Restrictions: Part 1

by Joshua on August 07, 2013

Starting the process for your first driver’s license can be an exciting time as you look forward to the freedom that owning a vehicle and license can provide. While this is a positive time full of new beginnings, it is also a critical opportunity to assure that you become the safe, defensive driver you need to be on the roadways. Some facts you should be familiar with:

  • 16 year old drivers have the highest crash rate of all aged drivers on the road
  • 56 % of teenagers involved in a crash say they were talking on the phone or texting just before an accident occurred
  • In 2010, 33% of all fatal accidents involved teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 years old
  • More than 40% of teen auto accidents occur between the hours of 9pm and 6am

It is because of these alarming statistics that almost every state in the US has implemented a graduated license program, tailored to those states specific needs. This program is created to make the roads safer for all drivers, and to assist you in becoming the best driver you can be behind the wheel. The age requirement varies from state to state on the minimum age you must be to obtain a learners permit, ranging from 14 to 16 years old. The first step in the process of getting your license is applying for and meeting the requirements for a learners permit.

Learners Permit Requirements

The first step in any state is to fill out your learners permit application and visit your local DMV branch to begin. In all cases, you must pass a vision screening given at the office with or without the use of corrective eye wear in order to proceed. The following steps of application vary in each state and are questions that should be asked of your local DMV office before you begin the process:

  • Does my state require me to complete driver’s education before I can apply?
  • Will I need parental consent to begin the application process? If so, is a signature required on the application or a separate consent form?
  • What documentation will I need to provide at the time of application to prove my identity, citizenship and residency status?
  • What is the learners permit fees associated with my application?

Written Learners Permit Testing Requirement

One of the most effective ways for each state to gage your ability to understand and follow traffic laws is with the written testing portion of application. In some states you will not need to test until the time you apply for your restricted license, but in most cases you will be required to take a written test before given permission to practice on the road. The written learners permit test will be designed similar to the written driver’s license test, with test questions in multiple-choice format and based off the information found in your Drivers Manual.

These test questions will determine your understanding of commonly found traffic signs and signals, and your ability to obey traffic laws, rules and regulations in your specific state. This test is to assure that you are ready to practice safe driving while behind the wheel and avoid accidents. It is important to study hard before taking this written test as a fail could result in as long as a 14 day delay in receiving your permit. Many states require you to wait a certain amount of days before you can retake the learners permit test so it is wise to prepare in advance.

In addition to your states Drivers Manual, many great resources are easily accessible from your computer and smart phone. Cheat Sheets are available for your use at “dmvcheatsheets.com” that can assist you in fully understanding all of the material you will see on your learners permit test. Information can be found on these cheat sheets that is specific to your state’s learners permit in addition to practice tests specifically for written testing. You will also find that many states DMV’s have generated informational websites specifically for teen drivers in the forms of information brochures, interactive pages and even fun mini-games to help you practice. Mobile applications dmvcheatsheets.com such as the app found on dmvcheatsheets.com allows you take your materials with you anywhere for even more study time.

Learners Permit Restrictions

Once you have fulfilled all of your states requirements and passed your written test, you will receive your temporary learners permit. States differ in the amount of time you must hold a permit before you can apply for your first license from 6 months to 12 months and the amount of required time varies as well. This practice time is critical in your preparation for safe driving and if used wisely will assure you pass your written and driving tests on the first try. There are some general restrictions you will find in each state regarding how you may use this learner’s permit and may include:

  • Restricted driving hours- each state will have a time period in which you are not permitted to drive, even with your supervising driver. These times usually coordinate with the period’s research states teens are most likely to be involved in a crash starting as early as 9pm and continuing until 6 am.
  • Though the age and relationship of your supervising driver may vary, each state will restrict your practice time to that in which an adult driver over the age of 18 must be with you.
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