Driver's license in the United States


Driver's license in the United States

In the United States, nearly all driver's licenses are issued by individual states (including Washington, D.C. and territories), rather than the federal government. Drivers are normally required to obtain a license from their state of residence, and all states recognize each other's licenses for temporary visitors subject to normal age requirements. A state may also suspend an individual's driving privilege within its borders for traffic violations. Many states share a common system of license classes, with some exceptions, and commercial license classes are standardized by federal regulation at 49 CFR part 383.[1][2]

Contents

Standard licenses

  • Restricted Licenses: Are functionally the same as a passenger license, but are typically issued to new drivers under the age of 18. Almost all states, with the exception of South Dakota, have some form of a graduated licensing provision; however, the actual restrictions and the length of time a new driver must adhere to them vary widely by state. Restrictions frequently include:
    • A curfew, after which night driving is not permitted (Unless 18 Years of age, or if individual has completed online course) without an adult present (typically midnight, like Pennsylvania,or 1am, like Wisconsin). Some states such as New York provide exceptions for special situations, such as driving home from work or school functions, or for medical appointments, while others such as Massachusetts, do not.
    • Restrictions on the number of passengers under a specific age present in the vehicle. For example, in California, Minors may not transport people under 18. Also, for the first 180 full days of having your drivers license only family members and adults over the age of 18 are allowed in the car. No exceptions, violations of this rule may result in license suspension as long as 90 days.
  • Chauffeur: Functionally the same as a passenger car license, but also allows the holder to drive a taxi, limo, or other livery vehicle for hire. Livery licensing in the United States is somewhat complicated. In the United States, chauffeur licenses are not considered commercial or professional driver's licenses, and (assuming the driver already holds a regular passenger license) a road test is usually not required to convert it to a chauffeur license; however, some states do require a short written exam on taxi specific driving laws and/ or a background check, and require the driver to be at least 18 years of age (although many taxi companies will not hire drivers under 25 for insurance reasons.[citation needed]) This type of license is typically, though not universally, called Class E. Some states simply add an endorsement to a regular license, while others require no special permission at the state level to drive a taxi or limo. Florida had issued a chauffeur license through its Class D license, a designation that was eliminated in 2006. Regardless of whether and how the state handles chauffeur licensing, a permit or license must always be obtained from the city, town, or county the driver will be operating in.
  • Motorcycle: Covers motorcycles only, frequently combined with a regular passenger license. In some states this does not include some types of mopeds, scooters, or motorized bicycles, but with a wide variety of different state-by-state definitions for these vehicles.[citation needed] A common but not universal criterion is an engine displacement of 250 cc (15 cu in) or less, but also wheel size, type of transmission, and more are sometimes used in the legal codes to distinguish mopeds and scooters from motorcycles.[citation needed] These vehicles sometimes do not require a motorcycle license, or in some states any license at all, as well as in some states avoiding insurance and registration requirements.[citation needed] Unlike the EU states, no US state differentiates between low and full powered motorcycles for the purposes of licensing. Some states require an additional motorcycle license to operate a sidecar rig.[3]
  • Enhanced: Issued to US Citizens in Washington, Vermont, Michigan, and New York, also proves nationality in addition to driving privileges. An EDL is a WHTI compliant document, acceptable for re-entering the United States via land and sea crossings from Canada or Mexico or the Caribbean. A U.S. Passport, birth certificate, or another document proving citizenship is required to apply for this type of license. Motorcycle and commercial driver's licenses (see below) usually can also be issued as enhanced.

Some states also have additional classifications. Hawaii, for example, has a separate license category for drivers who only operate mopeds, while some more northerly states have separate categories for Snowmobiles and ATVs. South Carolina and Georgia have non-commercial versions of every commercial class license for agricultural purposes.

Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDL)

Class A: Combination (tractor plus trailer) vehicle of 26,000 lb (11,790 kg) or more. Includes split (coupled) buses.
Class B: Single (straight) vehicle of 26,000 lb (11,790 kg) or more (includes most buses including articulated buses). Also includes combination vehicles for commercial use weighing less than 26,000 lb GVW.
Class C: Commercial vehicle that doesn't fit classes A or B, but is placarded for hazardous materials or is intended to carry more than 15 persons (excluding Georgia.) May include heavy-duty non-commercial vehicles with trailers capable of carrying over 16,000 lb, and all vehicles that can carry over 16,000 lb but not more than 25,999 lb.

Class C licenses are issued in most states in both commercial and non-commercial status. A non-commercial Class C license may not be used for hire. Most recreational vehicles that do not fall into the class D/E category, such as converted buses or full size (greater than 40 feet) campers require a non-commercial Class C license.

Commercial Driver's License Endorsements

Professional drivers are usually required to add endorsements to their CDL in order to drive certain types of vehicles that require additional training, such as those equipped with air brakes. CDL endorsements are also common among all states, and the training and testing requirements are regulated by the Federal Government. Endorsements are as follows:

P: Passenger Transport (Required to drive a bus that carries 16 or more persons)
H: Hazardous Materials (Also requires a TSA criminal background check as well as a written exam. The driver must be a US Citizen or permanent lawful resident to obtain an H or X endorsement.)
M: Metal coil
N: Tank Vehicles, Required for carrying liquids in bulk
T: Double/ Triple Trailers (Road trains) (Class A licenses only)
X: Hazardous Materials and Tank Combination
L: Air Brakes
S: School Bus (In addition to a standard bus endorsement, additional TSA and CORI background checks are required.)

Federal licenses

As an exceptional case, foreign officials and diplomats are required to obtain their driver's licenses from the federal government, rather than the states or territories in which they are resident. These licenses are issued by the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions. In all other respects they are equivalent to a regular state-issued license.[4]

Graduated licensing laws

In states, the minimum age to obtain a driver's license varies from 14 years, three months in South Dakota to as high as 17 in New Jersey. In most states, a graduated licensing law applies to newly licensed teenage drivers, going by names such as "Provisional Driver", "Junior Operator", "Probationary Driver" or "Intermediate License." These licenses restrict certain driving privileges, normally whether the new driver may carry passengers and if so how many, as well as setting a curfew for young drivers to be off the roads. Unlike in Australia and some provinces of Canada, however, graduated licensing laws do not require lowered speed limits, displaying of L and P plates, restrictions on towing a trailer or boat, or prohibitions on highway driving or operating high performance cars.

Drivers under 18 are usually required to attend a comprehensive Driver's education program either at their high school or a professional driving school and take a certain number of behind the wheel lessons with a certified driving instructor before applying for a license. Some states like New York also require new adult drivers to attend some form of driver's education before applying for a license.[citation needed]

Unlike in Europe and Australia, Minnesota drivers who are under 16 may have others, outside the family, in the car with a licensed driver present. However, in some states all newly licensed adult drivers may be on probation for a set amount of time (usually between six months and two years), during which traffic violations carry harsher penalties or mandatory suspensions that would not normally apply to experienced drivers.

According to federal law, the minimum age to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate transit (i.e. across state lines) is 21, and as a result the minimum age to apply for an unrestricted commercial driver's license is 21. Driving a school bus also requires a CDL, however the minimum age to drive a school bus is typically higher, usually 25. Some states issue restricted intrastate commercial driver's licenses, valid for operating commercial vehicles in that state only, to drivers aged 18 and older. Professional drivers who are aged 18–20 typically cannot be licensed to drive tractor trailers, hazardous materials, or school buses.

Licensing laws by states and district

Below is a list of the GDL laws for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.[5]

State Learner's Permit Restricted License Full (Unrestricted) License Notes
Alabama 15 years 16 years 16 years, 6 months Restricted license achievable after reaching age 16 and holding permit for six months. No driving from midnight to 6:00 a.m. and no more than three passengers for six months or reaching age 17, whichever is sooner. The learner must also log 30 practice hours or take driver training with permit.
Alaska 14 years 16 years 16 years, 6 months The license holder must log 40 practice hours, reach age 16 and have had permit for six months to get restricted license. No passengers under 21 for the first and no driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. until holding license for six months or reaching age 18, whichever is sooner.
Arizona 15 years, 6 months 16 years 16 years, 6 months The license holder log 30 practice hours or take driver education. No more than one passenger allowed in the vehicle or driving between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until reaching age 18 or holding license for six months, whichever is sooner.
Arkansas 14 years 16 years 16 years, 6 months Learner's permit must be held for six months and driver must reach age 16.
California 15 years, 6 months 16 years One year after receiving license or 18 years, whichever is first. Permit upon completion of driver's education registration, and cannot drive with a permit without a parent, guardian or licensed adult age of 25 or older. Restrictions include not being able to drive anyone under the age of 20 and not being able to drive between the hours of 11p.m. to 5a.m. for one year after receiving the license or upon reaching age 18, whichever is sooner.[6][7] Learner's permit must be held for six months and learner must log 50 practice hours.
Colorado 15 years 16 years 17 years Learner's permit must be held for one year. 50 practice hours must be logged. Drivers under 17 may carry one passenger. Driving between midnight and 5 a.m. is also prohibited until the driver has been licensed for one year or turns 18.
Connecticut 16 years 16 years, 4 months 18 years Learner's permit must be held for four months and driver must log 40 practice hours. No passengers under 20 for six months, no driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. until the driver turns 18.
Delaware 16 years 16 years, 6 months 17 years Permit must be held for six months. Learner must have 50 practice hours. No driving from 10:00 to 6:00 a.m. or any more than one passenger for six months.
District of Columbia 16 years 16 years, 6 months 21 years Learner's permit must be held for six months. Learner must have 40 practice hours. Restrictions are lifted after six months or reaching age 21, whichever is sooner. Driver will receive enhanced penalties for violations until reaching age 21.
Florida 15 years 16 years 18 years 16 years - No midnight to 5 a.m. driving for one year unless with 21 year or older licensed driver or driving to and from work or going home. 17 years - No 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. driving for one year unless with 21 year or older licensed driver or driving to and from work. You may ONLY drive to school and work with permit and be at least age 16 and still attending school.[8]
Georgia 15 years 16 years 18 years Permit must be held for one year and learner must have 40 practice hours. One passenger Under the age of 18 for first six months or 1000 miles. Three passenger for following six months or 1000 miles. After that no more than Four passengers until reaching age 18. Also, driver may not drive from 1 a.m to 6 a.m. until reaching age 18. further more information visit:[9]
Hawaii 15 years, 6 months 16 years 17 years Permit must be held for six months. Only one passenger under 18 or driving from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for one year or upon age 18, whichever is sooner.
Idaho[10] 14 years, 6 months 15 years 16 years Permit must be held for six months. Learner must log 50 practice hours. Those under 17 must complete an accredited driver training program to receive an instruction permit. Those under 16 may only drive during daylight hours, unless supervised by a licensed driver 21 or over. For the first six months of license possession, the driver is only able to carry one non-family member under age 17 in their car.
Illinois[11] 15 years 16 years 18 years If under 18, applicants must complete 50 hours of driving, complete driver's education, show proof of enrollment in school and hold permit for nine months before one can apply for license. If convicted of a moving violation during permit phase, the 9-month waiting period restarts. Anyone under 18 cannot drive between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Monday - Thursday or 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Friday - Saturday. If the teenage driver is coming from a job, school activity, or a family oriented place, this curfew is extended with proof of being there until the time of the event being over. Drivers under 18 for the first 12 months or until the driver turns 18, whichever occurs first, are allowed one passenger under the age of 18 unless those being transported are immediate family members or over 18.

Driver must have not been convicted of a moving violation in the six months prior to turning 18 to receive full license privileges. If a driver is convicted of a moving violation in the first full year of licensing, this will result in extension of the passenger restriction for an additional six months. If a driver is convicted of a moving violation before turning 18, the Secretary of State will mail a warning letter to the driver and parents. If an under 18 driver is convicted of two moving violations in 24 months, this will result in a minimum 1-month license suspension.

Indiana 15 years, 6 months 16 years, 6 months 18 years Permit must be held for two months and learner must be 16 and 180 days before getting a restricted license. If the learner is younger than 18 years of age on receiving the driver's license, it is considered probationary. Holders of a probationary driver's license may drive alone but must observe the following regulations regarding passengers:

If there are passengers of any age in the vehicle during the first 60 days of the driver's license, an individual 21 years of age or older with a valid driver's license must be seated in the vehicle's front passenger seat; and If there are passengers in the vehicle, every occupant must wear a seat belt. Holders of a probationary driver's license must comply with state and local curfew laws. Drivers under the age of 18 are not permitted to drive after 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, or after 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, unless the following conditions apply:

The probationary driver is accompanied by a parent, guardian or custodian, or an adult designated by a parent, guardian or custodian; or The probationary driver is going to or returning from a job, school, religious activity, an activity involving the exercise of civil rights, or an activity sponsored by a governmental or non-profit entity.

Iowa 14 years 16 years 17 years (with perfect driving record for first year, if not, 18 years) Permit must be held for six months and learner must be 16. Learner must also log at least 20 practice hours. Restricted drivers can not drive between 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless there is a parent/guardian, immediate family member over 21, or a designated adult over 25. The driver may drive between these times if they are granted a waiver for travel to and from work or school related activities. The number of passengers is limited to the number of seat belts. Full license at 17 years old if the driver has gone violation and accident free for 12 consecutive months, otherwise they must be 18 years old.
Kansas[12] 14 years 14 years 6 months (15 years less restricted) 15 years Permit must be held for six months. After logging 20 daytime and five nighttime hours of driving, if the learner is between age 15 and 16 the learner has the option of getting a restricted license. The learner must then log an additional 20 daytime and five nighttime practice hours and reach age 16 before getting a less restricted license. Applicant must provide affidavit showing at least 50 hours of adult supervised driving, with ten of those hours being at night, by a licensed driver at least 21 years old. At age 17, a full-privileges license may be obtained with the same requirements as the semi-restricted license.[13]

Nonresident: At least 16 years of age and has in immediate possession a valid license issued by home state or country.[14]

Kentucky 16 years 16 years, 6 months 17 years Learner's permit must be held for six months and learner must log 60 practice hours. No driving from midnight to 6 a.m. and no more than one passenger under 20 for six months or reaching age 18, whichever is sooner.
Louisiana 15 years 16 years 17 years Learners's Permit (Age 15):Must complete 30 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours behind the wheel driving instruction. May not drive without a licensed driver over 21 or a licensed sibling over 18.

Intermediate License (Age 16):Must have completed the Learners's Permit requirements. Pass the on-road drivers test, and have the Learner's Permit for at least 90 days. May not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Full License (Age 17):Must successfully complete Learner's Permit and Intermediate License stages OR Minimum 17 years of age prior to application for the first time.

Maine 15 years 16 years 18 years Learner must have permit for six months, be 16, and have 35 practice hours. Only immediate family and no driving from midnight to 5 a.m. for six months or reaching age 18, whichever is sooner. Under 18 may not use cell phone while driving.
Maryland 15 years, 9 months 16 years, 6 months 18 years Learner must hold permit for nine months and log 60 practice hours. Anyone under 18 years of age with a provisional license may not carry passengers under 18 for the first five months of having the license or drive between midnight and 5 a.m. In Maryland, all new drivers regardless of age hold a provisional license for 18 months, but for adult drivers, the passenger and time restrictions do not apply (however the enhanced penalties do.)
Massachusetts[15] 16 years 16 years, 6 months 18 years Learner must complete driver's education, hold their permit for six months incident free (no accidents, no citations, no warnings), and log 40 practice hours with a licensed driver over 21. Junior operators cannot drive between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by their parent or legal guardian and Massachusetts law provides no exceptions for employment, education, or medical reasons. Additionally, junior operators cannot drive with passengers under the age of 18 (except immediate family members) unless accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 within the first six months of obtaining a License. The Massachusetts JOL law also takes a zero-tolerance stance towards speeding, drivers under 18 caught speeding are subject to a mandatory 90 day suspension for the first offense accompanied by a mandatory road rage education class and a mandatory retake of the both permit and road tests. A one year revocation is mandatory for the second and each subsequent offense.[16]
Michigan[17] 14 years, 8 months 16 years 17 years Learner must reach age 16, have permit for six months, and log 50 practice hours. To obtain a Level 1 License (Learner's Permit) the learner is required to complete Segment 1 of a Driver's Education Course. A Level 2 License (Junior License) permits the holder to drive unaccompanied except between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 or driving to or from employment.
Minnesota 15 years 16 years 17 years (with perfect driving record for first year, if not, 18 years) Permit must be held for six months and learner must reach age 16 and log 30 practice hours. No cell phone usage before age 18, all passengers must wear seat belts. Effective August 1, 2008: junior operators can drive with minor passengers now. Driving curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. for first six months. Exceptions to these rules are traveling from home to place of employment, school, school events that offer no transportation, or other employment reasons.
Mississippi 15 years 16 years 16 years, 6 months Must hold a learner's permit for one year before applying for an intermediate license, and is restricted for use between hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Missouri 15 years 16 years 18 years Must hold a learner's permit for six months before applying for an intermediate license. 40 hours of driving instruction are required including ten hours at night and reaching of age 16 and holding the permit for six months to be eligible for the restricted license. Restrictions include no driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless required for school and work. Exceptions include school events and driving to and from place to place. limitations of one passenger under 19 for the first six months after the license is issued and three passengers thereafter, and there must be no traffic or alcohol offenses for one year to advance to the full license.[18] The State recently passed a measure mandating all Missouri drivers tests be given in only English of American sign language. The law has yet to be passed.
Montana 14 years, 6 months 15 years 16 years Permit must be held for six months. Learner must log 50 practice hours. No driving from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for one year. No more than one passenger under 18 for first six months. No more than three passengers under 18 for second six months.
Nebraska 15 years 16 years 17 years (18 if 3 or more points assessed against driver in previous 12-month period while holding restricted license) Learner must log 50 hours of practice, hold permit for six months, and reach age 16. Must have restricted license for at least one year before applying for your first unrestricted permit. Only one passenger under 19 allowed for first month. No driving from midnight to 6 a.m. for one year.
Nevada 15 years, 6 months 16 years 18 years Learner must have 50 practice hours and hold permit for six months. Underage drivers may not transport passengers under 18 for the first six months of being licensed, and may not drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. until they turn 18 (except with a letter from a school official or employer.) Additional restrictions apply in Las Vegas and Reno.
New Hampshire 15 years, 6 months 16 years 18 years Learner's Permit - No formal learner's permit is required in NH, 15 12-year-olds may drive so long as they are accompanied by a licensed driver aged 25 or older.[19]
Restricted License - "Youth Operator Licenses" are issued to those between 16 and 21 years of age and expire when the person turns 21 years old (although drivers may operate unrestricted after they reach their 18th birthday). 16 and 17 years old applicants must obtain written consent from a parent or legal guardian, and a certificate of successful completion of a driver education course as provided in RSA 263:19. Youth Operators under 18 years are restricted from operating a motor vehicle in the following manner: between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.; the number of occupants exceeds the number of safety restraints in the vehicle; during the first six months after issuance of the license with more than one passenger less than 25 years of age who is not a member of the holder's family unless accompanied by a licensed responsible adult who is at least 25 years of age.
The director of motor vehicles can issue a hardship license for a person between 16 and 18 who hasn't completed a driver's education course, if there is no readily available means of transportation exist to and from a school and the license requirements of RSA 263:14 would cause an undue hardship.[20]
New Jersey 16 years 17 years 18 years Learner must reach age 17 and have had a permit for six months. No driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Driver may not drive with more than one additional passenger in the car, other than parents, guardians, or dependents, until a Basic License is obtained, which the minimum age to receive is 18. Since May 1, 2010, Kyleigh's Law took place, it requires any driver under age 21, who holds a permit or probationary (formerly provisional) driver license, buy a $4.00 pair of decals and display them on the top left corner of the front and rear license plates of their vehicles. Despite having over 250000 drivers that are required to display the decals, less than 80000 have been sold.[21] As some of the 80000 decals sold are for drivers with multiple cars, it is estimated that 75% of provisional drivers ignore this law.[22] All passengers must wear seatbelt.
New Mexico 15 years 15 years, 6 months 16 years, 6 months Learner must log 50 hours of practice and hold permit for six months. No driving from midnight to 5 a.m. and no more than one passenger under age 21 for one year after receiving license.
New York 16 years 16 years, 6 months 17 years (with driver's education, otherwise 18) The NY DMV divides the state into three regions: New York City, Long Island (Nassau/Suffolk), and "All Other Counties (includes Westchester and Rockland counties)."

Learner Permits: NYC has the toughest regulations of the regions, requiring an instructor's brake to be installed, and the accompanying driver must be a parent or professional instructor (driving school/driver's ed teacher), and prohibits driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. On Long Island, one must be accompanied by a guardian or professional instructor, and may not drive between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. In the rest of the state, one may drive while accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; other hours require parent or professional accompaniment.

Junior operator licenses (Class DJ or MJ) allows unaccompanied driving from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., driving outside these hours is permitted only to or from school, employment, or documented medical appointments, unless the driver is accompanied by their parent, legal guardian, or a certified driving instructor. Once someone acquires a junior license he/she is able to drive to and from school with the same restrictions on passengers as driving anywhere else with a junior license.

The limited junior license, formerly issued to persons under 18 who passed their road test before having their permit for six months was eliminated in February 2010. Adolescent drivers must now have their permit accident and ticket free for six full months before taking their road test, along with the completion at least 50 hours of supervised driving, 15 of which must be in moderate to heavy traffic.

A full driver's education course is not required in New York, although license applicants who do not have a driver's ed certificate must complete a five-hour pre-licensing course. For 17-year-olds, a junior license will be converted to a full standard license if the driver submits a Driver's Ed Certificate and a certified completion of 50 hours of driving plus 15 in moderate to heavy traffic. Otherwise, it will be converted on the driver's 18th birthday.

North Carolina 15 years 16 years 16 years, 6 months Driver's education required for a Learner Permit to be issued. Permit must be held for twelve months with the last six months accident and point-free before obtaining a Limited Provisional License. Limited Provisional license holders cannot drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless attending a school event (including sporting events, school dances, school concerts etc.), and a limit of one non-family member passenger under 21 applies. A Full Provisional License can be obtained after holding a Limited Provisional license for six months without an accident or points added to the license, and this license removes the time of day and passenger restrictions, but some restrictions remain until the license holder turns eighteen.
North Dakota[23] 14 years 14 years, 6 months 16 years Those under 16 who have a license may only drive a car that is their parents' or a car with dual controls. Licensed drivers under the age of 16 may not drive with more passengers than the vehicle manufacturer's suggested capacity.
Ohio[24] 15 years, 6 months 16 years 18 years Learner must log 50 practice hours and hold permit for six months, if under 18. Those who are 15 12 with a valid learners permit may only drive with a parent or a drivers education instructor with a valid driver license. Those who are 16 and over with a learners permit may drive with anyone who is over 21 with a valid driver license. Drivers under 18 must complete driver's education. 18 and over have no permit hold time, driver education or practice time requirements.

Under 17 either with a learner's permit or a driver license cannot drive between midnight and 6 a.m., under 18 either with a learner's permit or a driver license cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Drivers under 17 may only have one non-family member under the age of 21 in the car; no restrictions on family members or those over 21. 18 and over have full license privileges and have no time or passenger restrictions. Special restricted license can drive after hours for purposes of employment, education, travel between home and school, vocational training, employment opportunities, and attending church services.

Oklahoma 15 years, 6 months 16 years 16 years, 6 months (with perfect driving record for first six months, if not, 18 years) Learner must have 40 practice hours and hold permit for six months. Intermediate drivers cannot drive more than a single passenger of any age (family excluded) or drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless there is a licensed driver present or until the driver is 18 years of age and has a GDL(Graduated Driver's License).
Oregon[25] 15 years 16 years 18 years Learner must be 16, have had permit for six months and have 50 practice hours. Driving between midnight and 5 a.m. is prohibited during the first year of holding the license. No passengers under 20 for the first six months of being licensed (except family members.) For another six months, no more than three passengers under 20.
Pennsylvania 16 years 16 years, 6 months 17 years, 6 months with behind-the-wheel driver's education, 18 years without behind-the-wheel driver's education Those with a learner's permit must drive with an adult 21 years of age or older. The adult the learner's permit holder is driving with must have a valid driver's license in any U.S. state or the District of Columbia. It is required that a permit holder doesn't only get practice driving in perfect conditions, but also with driving at night and driving in inclement weather. Permit holders are also required to get practice driving on limited-access highways. A classroom driver's education course may be taken by 10th grade students in Pennsylvania, since that is the year when most students will turn 16 years old and will be getting their permit. Permit must be held for six months and the holder must log 50 practice hours before issuance of restricted license. Those with a restricted license may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless a family member 18 years or older is present. Exceptions to this curfew include school-sponsored events, religious events, work, and volunteer firefighters. No passenger restrictions, other than the number of seatbelts may not be less than the number of passengers. A person may obtain an unrestricted license after one year if he/she completes a driver's education course and has no moving violations. Otherwise, it automatically becomes an unrestricted license on the learner's 18th birthday.[26]
Rhode Island 16 years 16 years, 6 months 17 years, 6 months Learner must hold permit for six months and have 50 practice hours. Junior operator under the age of 18 may not drive between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. or carry more than one passenger under age 21 for one year or until they turn 18, whichever is sooner.

Special restricted license can drive after hours for purposes of employment, education, travel between home and school, vocational training, employment opportunities, and attending church services.[27]

South Carolina 15 years 15 years, 6 months 16 years, 6 months A 17-year-old may apply on a restricted license for permission to drive between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. 16-year-old drivers that have held the Beginner Permit for a minimum of 180 days or hold a conditional license are eligible for the Special Restricted License.

Applicants for the Special Restricted License must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the application process to sign the Special Restricted License application.

Applicants must bring their Beginner Permit and submit a PDLA form certifying the following:

  • Certification of School Attendance
  • Certification of Driver Education Course
  • Certification of Driver Practice
  • All three of these certifications can be submitted on one form offered at the South Carolina DMV website at this website.

Teen drivers applying for the Special Restricted License must pass a vision screening and the DMV road test. Special Restricted License holders may drive unaccompanied from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or until 8:00 p.m. during daylight saving time.

Outside of those hours the teen driver may drive until midnight if accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age.

Between midnight and 6:00 a.m. a Special Restricted License holder must be accompanied by a licensed parent or legal guardian.

Special Restricted License holders may receive an exception for these time restrictions if they can prove that the restrictions interfere with employment, education, travel between home and school, vocational training, employment opportunities, or attending church services.

Teen drivers must submit two statements to qualify the exception. One of the statements must be from a parent or legal guardian and the other must be a statement on letterhead from a school official or your employer.

The statements must describe the reason the waiver is needed.

Passengers under the age of 21 are limited to two unless they are immediate family members or students be transported to or from school or the license holder is accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age.

Teen drivers that hold the Special Restricted License for 16-year-olds for one year without a conviction for a traffic violation and have not been at-fault in an accident may obtain full driving privileges when they reach the age of 17.

South Dakota[28] 14 years 14 years, 3 months (with driver's education, otherwise 14 years, six months) 16 years Learner can either take driver training and hold permit for three months or not take the course and hold permit for six months. Under 16 may not drive from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Tennessee 15 years 16 years 17 years Learner must have permit for six months and log 50 hours of practice driving. No driving from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. or more than one passenger for one year or until reaching age 18, whichever is sooner.
Texas 15 years 16 years 17 years Learner's must complete the classroom portion of driver training to receive a permit. Permit holders must be with someone age of 18 or older and must have two years of driving experience while driving, also must be held for six months and learner must reach age 16 to get restricted license. Drivers with a restricted license may drive with no more than one other person under the age of 17, may not drive from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., and cannot use a cell phone while driving for the first six months.

As of March 1, 2010, anyone age 18 through 24 must complete an approved driver education course and driving skills test to become licensed in the state of Texas in accordance with Texas Senate Bill 1317.[29] Provisions of this law only apply to first-time Texas drivers license applicants.

Utah 15 years 16 years 17 years Drivers under 17 may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. If under 18, must hold learner permit for six months and log 40 practice hours. Under 18, for the first six months no passengers that are not immediate family members; unless there is a licensed driver 21 years or older, or driver reaches age 18.
Vermont 15 years 16 years 16 years, 6 months Learner must hold permit for one year and log 40 practice hours. Junior operators may not carry any passengers (including siblings) for the first 90 days after receiving their license, and immediate family members only for the second three months (passenger restrictions are waived if accompanied by a parent or another licensed adult aged 25 or older.[30])
Virginia 15 years, 6 months 16 years, 3 months 18 years - Learner must hold permit for nine months and log 45 supervised driving hours, 15 of which must be at night. Under 18 may not carry more than one minor passenger for the first six months of being licensed and no more than three passengers until reaching age 18. All minors subject to a curfew between midnight to 4:00 a.m. until reaching age 18.
Washington 15 years if the driver is enrolled in Behind-The-Wheel drivers training, 15 years 6 months without enrolling in drivers training 16 years 17 years (with perfect driving record for first year, or if not, 18 years) Learner must reach age 16, hold permit for six months, and log 50 hours of practice driving. For the first six months,no driving with more than three passengers who are under 20 years old who are not members of the learner's immediate family. For the first year, no driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless with a licensed driver age 25 or older. After two violations of the restrictions, the driver's license is suspended for six months or until their 18th birthday (whichever is sooner). Also, a single traffic violation will extend the second phase (no more than three passengers under 20 and still no driving from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.) until age 18 if license had not been held for one year before the traffic violation.
West Virginia 15 years 16 years 17 years Learner must reach age 16, hold permit for six months, and log 50 hours of practice or take driver education. No passengers under age 19 or driving from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for one year.
Wisconsin 15 years, 6 months 16 years 16 years, 9 months Learner must hold permit for six months and log 30 hours of practice. Passenger and nighttime driving restrictions removed after nine months, or upon reaching the age of 18 whichever is sooner. License holder is subject to enhanced penalties until they have three years of experience, or reach the age of 21, whichever comes sooner. However, people who are at least 14 years of age with a necessity to drive may apply for a special permit as long as it can be proven that the motor vehicle can be operated in a safe manner by the minor.[citation needed]
Wyoming 14 years, 14 years, 16 years, 6 months Learner must reach age 16 and log 50 practice hours. No more than one passenger under 18 or driving from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the first six months or until reaching age 17, whichever is sooner.

Decline in licensing among young people in the U.S.

According to a December 2, 2004 Los Angeles Times article, only 43% of American 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds had licenses in 2002.[31] By comparison, the percentage in 1982 was 52%.[citation needed]

For example, in California, newly licensed minors must wait a year before they can drive with other minors in their car, and cannot drive during certain hours of the night due to California's youth curfew laws. Thus, a minor can only drive with his or her friends in the car for at most one year before the minor becomes an adult.

Use as identification and proof of age

Driver's licenses issued in the United States have a number or alphanumeric code issued by the issuing state's Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent), usually show a photograph of the bearer, as well as a copy of his or her signature, the address of his or her primary residence, the type or class of license, restrictions and/or endorsements (if any), the physical characteristics of the bearer (such as height, weight, hair color, eye color, and sometimes even skin color), and birth date. No two driver's license numbers issued by a state are alike. Social Security numbers are now prohibited by federal law from appearing on new driver's licenses, due to identity theft concerns. In most states, to be compliant with AAMVA standards, the orientation of a driver's license for persons under the age of 21 is vertical while a driver's license for those over the age of 21 is horizontal. Since the driver's license is often used a proof of a person's age, the difference in orientation makes it easy to determine that a person is legally allowed to purchase or consume alcohol (the drinking age in the US is 21). Most states require that when a driver establishes residence in a state, he or she must obtain a license issued by that state within a certain time frame.

Because there is no national identity card in the United States, the driver's license is often used as the de facto equivalent for completion of many common business and governmental transactions. As a result, driver's licenses are the focus of many kinds of identity theft. Driver's licenses were not always identification cards. In many states, driver's licenses did not even have a photograph well into the 1980s. Activism by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization for the use of photo ID age verification in conjunction with increasing the drinking age to 21 in order to reduce underage drinking led to photographs being added to all state licenses. New York and Tennessee were the last states to add photos in 1986. However, New Jersey later allowed drivers to get non-photo licenses; this was later revoked.[32] Vermont license holders have the option of receiving a non-photo license.[citation needed] All Tennessee drivers age 60 or older have the option of a non-photo drivers license.[33] Thirteen states allow the option of a non-photo drivers license for reasons of religious belief: Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.[34]

Later additions varied from state to state, and have included fingerprints, bar codes, magnetic strips, social security numbers and tamper-proof features, most of which were added to prevent identity theft and to curb the use of fake IDs. States have now slowly been converting to digitized driver's licenses, which incorporate holographs and bar codes to prevent forgery.

Non-driver identification cards

All states, usually through the same agency that issues driver's licenses, provide identification cards for people who do not drive. These typically resemble a driver's license and have the same security and identification features. They are commonly used by seniors (who are eligible for free cards in some states), students who choose not to drive, people who are unable to drive, and people in large cities with comprehensive public transportation networks.

Real ID

The Department of Homeland Security has the power through the Real ID Act of 2005 to set standards relating to identification of applicants and license design for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards. States are not required to comply with RealID, but if a state does not comply, any driver licenses or ID cards issued by that state will not be valid for any official purpose with the Federal government, meaning they will not be accepted for entering federal buildings or boarding airplanes.

For a state to meet RealID compliance, licenses and ID cards issued from that state must be approved by DHS in meeting RealID requirements.

States can choose to issue both regular licenses and ID cards as well as RealIDs, but any non-RealID must be marked that it is not a RealID.

RealIDs are only allowed to be issued to legal immigrants and citizens of the United States.

When a person applies for a RealID, either as a new driver license or ID card applicant or renewing a current license or ID card, they must present a citizenship document (US passport, certified birth certificate or citizenship certificate) or proof of legal immigrant status (valid visa) and proof of residency in that state. The state then must verify the documents and store them either electronically or on paper. No one may have more than one RealID at one time.

For those born on or after December 1, 1964, a RealID must be obtained by December 1, 2014 to be allowed to conduct business with the federal government. Those born before December 1, 1964 have until December 1, 2017 to obtain their RealIDs.

Florida and Nevada have been approved by DHS and started to issue RealIDs. A RealID can be identified as materially compliant by a gold star located on the top third of the ID. A fully compliant RealID is identified as having a circle with an inset gold star in the top third of the ID.[35]

Enhanced driver's licenses

Additionally, some states, mostly those with an international border, issue Enhanced Driver Licenses and Enhanced ID Cards. Enhanced licenses combine a regular driver's license with the specifications of the new Federal passport card. Thus, in addition to providing driving privileges, the enhanced license also is proof of U.S. citizenship, and can therefore be used to cross the Canadian and Mexican borders by road, rail, or sea, although air travel still requires a traditional passport book.[36] The enhanced licenses are also fully Real ID compliant.

As of May 2009, Vermont, New York, Michigan and Washington were issuing enhanced driver's licenses and ID cards.[37]

On March 27, 2008, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that Washington's enhanced driver's license[38] was the first such license approved under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative;[39] according to a Homeland Security press release, the department is also working with Arizona authorities to develop enhanced driver's licenses.[40] On September 16, 2008, New York began issuing Enhanced Drivers Licenses that meet WHTI requirements. Texas was expected to also implement an enhanced driver's license program, but the program has been blocked by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, despite a state law authorizing the Texas Department of Public Safety to issue EDLs and a ruling by the state attorney general, Greg Abbott, that Texas' production of EDLs would comply with federal requirements.[41][42]

References

  1. ^ Part 383: Commercial driver's license standards; requirements and penalties - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  2. ^ Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:
  3. ^ American Motorcyclist Association, State-by-state motorcycle laws, http://www.amadirectlink.com/legisltn/laws.asp, retrieved 2009-12-26 
  4. ^ Office of Foreign Missions, Driver Services, http://www.state.gov/ofm/dmv/documentation/driver/index.htm, retrieved 2011-04-09 
  5. ^ US GDL laws: intermediate stage
  6. ^ California Driver Handbook - The California Driver License - Minor's Provisional Permit and License Information
  7. ^ V.C. Section 12814.6 - Provisional License for Minors: Distinctive Driver's License
  8. ^ The state of Florida allows persons with permits to operate a motor vehicle, as follows: (1) Any adult "may apply for a temporary instruction permit." (2) The department can "issue a temporary permit to an applicant for a Class E driver's license permitting him or her to operate a motor vehicle ..." (3) Any person can "apply for a temporary commercial instruction permit." (4) Any teenager "17 years and three months can and may" get a "Class E drivers" licenseif they already "possesses a valid driver's license issued in any state; and ... is accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years of age or older, who is licensed ..."[citation needed]
  9. ^ Obtaining Learners Permit
  10. ^ Drivers Manual Master
  11. ^ Illinois Graduated Driver License Requirements
  12. ^ cover.pmd
  13. ^ Kansas Department of Revenue (2010-01-01). "Teen Driving Information". Graduated Driver License Requirements for Teen Drivers. Kansas Department of Revenue. http://www.ksrevenue.org/dmvteen.htm. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  14. ^ KS Statute 8-236(a)(1)
  15. ^ Massachusetts Driver's Manual
  16. ^ Massachusetts FAQs About Learner's Permits & Junior Operator Licenses
  17. ^ Michigan's Graduated License System Timeline
  18. ^ Missouri Graduated Driver License Law
  19. ^ Section 263:25 Exception for Persons Learning to Drive
  20. ^ Section 263:21 Exception
  21. ^ "N.J. teens refuse to use red decal stickers required by Kyleigh's Law". NJ.com. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/05/nj_teens_refuse_to_use_decal_s.html. 
  22. ^ "Fewer than one in four N.J. teen drivers purchased required license-plate decals". NJ.com. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/05/one_in_four_nj_teen_drivers_pu.html. 
  23. ^ rules07WEB
  24. ^ Ohio Graduated Driver License Requirements
  25. ^ Oregon DMV Teen Driving Getting a Driver License - Under 18
  26. ^ PENNDOT Driver and Vehicle Services - Young Drivers
  27. ^ Driver's Manual (Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles), accessed November 17, 2011.
  28. ^ State of South Dakota - Driver Licensing Program
  29. ^ "Adult Driver Education and Safety Course". Texas Department of Public Safety. http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/driverlicense/adultdrvredandsafetycourse.htm. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  30. ^ http://www.aot.state.vt.us/DMV/documents/MiscellaneousDocuments/GraduatedDriverLicenseBrochure111706.pdf
  31. ^ Los Angeles Times - "Licenses Take a Back Seat"
  32. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20050305233425/http://www.njlicense.org/FAQ.shtml
  33. ^ http://www.tn.gov/safety/driverlicense/dlrenew.shtml
  34. ^ http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/litigation/documents/LWVJ.pdf
  35. ^ http://www.aamva.org/aamva/DocumentDisplay.aspx?id={64C36556-B4B8-4C34-BC34-3A133E494E6A}
  36. ^ Enhanced Drivers Licenses: What Are They?, retrieved April 2, 2008. Archived March 11, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^ [1][dead link]
  38. ^ Enhanced Driver License/ID Card (EDL/ID)
  39. ^ Homeland Security and State Departments Announce WHTI Land and Sea Final Rule. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  40. ^ Publication of Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Land and Sea Final Rule, Questions and Answers. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  41. ^ Perry Denies Enhanced Driver's License Program. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  42. ^ AG Gives Conditional Approval To Enhanced License. Retrieved April 2, 2008.

See also


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