Driver's license in the United States: Wikis

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In the United States, the issuance of licenses is the authority of individual states (including Washington, D.C. and all territories). 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 the federal law of 49 CFR part 383.

Contents

Standard licenses

  • Passenger Car: Covers most passenger vehicles, including cars, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, vans, and all except for the largest recreational vehicles but does not include motorcycles. Different jurisdictions have different designations for this license type: a majority of states call it Class D, a few combine the Class C (Non Commercial) and Class D licence together as Class C, in Florida and Louisiana it is designated as Class E, in Mississippi it is known as Class R, in Missouri Class F, in Rhode Island Class 10 and in Hawaii it is Class 4.
  • Graduated License: 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 exceptions of Kansas[1] and 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 without an adult present (typically midnight or 1am, but as early as 6pm in South Carolina, and 9pm in New York State). 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, a new driver may not transport people under 20 unless there is an adult 25 or over present in the vehicle, for the first 12 months or until age 18.
  • 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. 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 50 cc (3.1 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 Europe, 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.[2]
  • 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 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) and multi-part buses.
Class B: Single (straight) vehicle of 26,000 lb (11,790 kg) or more (includes most 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.

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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 (P), additional TSA and CORI background checks are required.)

Graduated licensing laws

In states, the minimum age to obtain a driver's license varies from 14 years, 3 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. GDLs are subject to the same 50 state reciprocity that unrestricted licenses are[citation needed], with the exception that drivers under 16 may not be permitted to operate in states with higher licensing ages. Graduated license holders must always adhere to the restrictions of their home state regardless of where they are driving. Additionally, depending on local laws, underage drivers may also be subject to the GDL laws of the state they are driving in as well, although this is not always the case.

In addition to the above restrictions, 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.

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 1 district. The information was compiled from [3].

Employment Education Travel Between Home and School Vocational Training Employment Opportunities Attending Church Services

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 6:00am and no more than 3 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 licence 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 1am and 5am 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 licence holder log 30 practice hours or take driver education. No more than 1 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 18 years 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 reaching age 18, whichever is sooner.[4][5] 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 5am 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 4 months and driver must log 40 practice hours. No passengers under 20 for six months, no driving between 11pm and 5am 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 am 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 11 pm to 5 am driving for one year unless with 21 year or older licensed driver or driving to and from work. 17 years - No 1 am to 5 am 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 after holding permit for at least six months and be at least age 16 and still attending school.[6]
Georgia 15 years 16 years 18 years Permit must be held for one year and learner must have 40 practice hours. No passengers for first six months. One passenger for following six months. After that no more than three passengers until reaching age 18. Also, driver may not drive from midnight to 6am until reaching age 18. further more information visit:Obtaining Learners Permit, Joshua's Law[7] Click here for: Joshua's Law Online Course.
Hawaii 15 years, 6 months 16 years 17 years Permit must be held for six months. Only one passenger under 18 or driving from 11pm to 5am for one year or upon age 18, whichever is sooner.
Idaho[8] 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 6 months of license possession, the driver is only able to carry one non-family member under age 17 in their car.
Illinois[9] 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 PM and 6:00 AM Monday - Thursday or 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM 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 20 unless those being transported are immediate family members or over 20.

Driver must have not been convicted of a moving violation in the 6 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 6 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 16 years, 6 months 18 years Permit must be held for 2 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 90 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[10] 14 years 16 years 17 years Permit must be held for six months. After logging 20 daytime and 5 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 5 nighttime practice hours and reach age 16 before getting license. Applicant must provide affidavit showing at least 50 hours of adult supervised driving, with 10 of those hours being at night, by a licensed driver at least 21 years old.[11]
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 6am 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 8 hours behind the wheel driving instruction.

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. 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 5am 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 151 days of having the license or drive between midnight and 5am. 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 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 12:30am and 5am 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 6 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 [12].
Michigan[13] 14 years, 9 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 midnight and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 or driving to or from employment.
Minnesota 15 years 16 years 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 cannot drive with more than one minor passenger (except immediate family members) unless accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 within the first 6 months of obtaining a License. Driving curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. for first 6 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 1 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, 6 months 16 years 18 years 40 hours of driving instruction are required including 10 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 1am and 5am unless required for school and work. Exceptions include school envents and driving to and from place to place. limitations of 1 passenger under 19 for the first six months after the license is issued and 3 passengers thereafter, and there must be no traffic or alcohol offenses for one year to advance to the full license.[14]
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 11pm to 5am for one year. No more than one passenger under 18 for first six months. No more than 3 passengers under 18 for second six months.
Nebraska 15 years 16 years 17 years Learner must log 50 hours of practice, hold permit for six months, and reach age 16. Only one passenger under 19 allowed for first six months. No driving from midnight to 6am 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 10pm and 5am 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, 15-1/2 year olds may drive so long as they are accompanied by a licensed driver aged 25 or older.[15]
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 6 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.[16]
New Jersey 16 years 17 years 18 years Learner must reach age 17 and have had a permit for six months. No driving between 12:01 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. or driving with more than one, non family member under 18 for one year until age 18.
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 5am 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 education)otherwise 18 The NY DMV divides the state into three regions: New York City, Long Island, and "All Other Counties."

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). Driving alone is prohibited until the driver gets a full driver license. On a junior license, driving is only permitted when accompanied by a parent or professional instructor. On Long Island, a Junior License grants permission to drive only to/for school, employment, day care, sports or a medical appointment; all other driving must be with a parent, professional instructor or someone over 21 who, in writing, has permission from the driver's parent to instruct the driver. No driving is permitted between 9 PM and 5 AM, even if accompanied. For the remainder of New York State, a Limited Junior License can be acquired to drive to employment, day care, or a medical appointment, without time restrictions. Other driving must be under the supervision of a licensed driver over 21; between 9 PM and 5 AM, this person must be a parent or professional instructor. Standard junior licenses (Class "DJ") grants permission to drive without accompaniment from 5 AM to 9 PM, though it carries restrictions on how many passengers may be carried. All other times, one needs supervision from a parent or professional driving instructor.

Driver's Education is not required in New York State; a 5-hour pre-licensing course will suffice to obtain a license. For 17-year-olds, a junior license (class "DJ") will be converted to a senior license (Class "D") if the driver brings a Driver's Ed Certificate of Completion to the road test or DMV. Otherwise, it will be converted on the driver's 18th birthday.

North Carolina 15 years 16 years 18 years Learner's permit must be held for six months before obtaining a restricted license; Restricted 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.), employment or accompanied by license holder over 21.
North Dakota[17] 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[18] 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 1/2 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 12 a.m. 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 under these circumstances: Employment Education Travel Between Home and School Vocational Training Employment Opportunities 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 11pm and 5am for the first six months or until age 18, whichever is sooner. A single traffic violation will extend the intermediate phase until the driver turns 18.
Oregon[19] 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 5am 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 perfect driving record for first year, if not, 18 years) 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 11pm and 5am. 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.[20]
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 1am and 5am or carry more than one passenger under age 21 for one year or until they turn 18, whichever is sooner.
South Carolina 15 years 15 years, 6 months 16 years, 6 months - driving between 6 AM and 12 AM during standard time, A 17 year old may apply for this on a restricted license.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 http://www.scdmvonline.com/DMVNew/forms/pdla.pdf

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 AM to 6:00 PM or until 8:00 PM during daylight savings 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 AM 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 the following:

Employment Education Travel Between Home and School Vocational Training Employment Opportunities Attending Church Services Teen drivers must submit 2 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 2 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 1 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[21] 14 years 14 years, 3 months (with driver's education, otherwise 14 years, 6 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 10pm to 6am.
Tennessee 15 years 16 years 17 years Learner must have permit for six months and log 50 hours of practice driving. No driving from 11pm to 5am or more than one passenger for one year or until reaching age 18, whichever is sooner.
Texas 15 years 16 years 16 years, 6 months Learner's must complete the classroom portion of driver training to receive a permit. Permit 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 21, may not drive from 10pm to 5am, and cannot use a cell phone while driving for the first 6 months.
Utah 15 years 16 years 16 years, 6 months Drivers under 17 may not drive between 12 AM and 5 AM. 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.[22])
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 12:00-4:00AM until reaching age 18.
Washington 15 years 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 6 months, no driving with passengers under the age of 20 unless they are members of immediate family. For the next 6 months no driving with more than 3 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 2 violations of the restrictions, the driver's license is suspended for 6 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 1am to 5am) 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 under age 19 or driving from 10pm to 5am 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 9 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.
Wyoming 14 years, 6 months 16 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 11pm to 5am 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.[23] 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 person's 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. Indeed, 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 older drivers to get non-photo licenses; this was later revoked. Vermont license holders have the option of receiving a non-photo license. 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. [24]

Enhanced driver's licenses

Additionally, some states, mostly those with an international border, are issuing 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 proving 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 will always require a traditional passport book due to International Civil Aviation Organization regulations.[25] The enhanced licenses are also fully Real ID compliant.

As of May 2009, Vermont, New York, Michigan and Washington are issuing enhanced driver's licenses and ID cards.[26]

On March 27, 2008, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that Washington's enhanced driver's license[27] was the first such license approved under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative;[28] according to a Homeland Security press release, the department is also working with Arizona authorities to develop enhanced driver's licenses.[29] 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.[30][31]

References

  1. ^ http://www.ksrevenue.org/dmvdlhandbook.htm
  2. ^ American Motorcyclist Association, State-by-state motorcycle laws, http://www.amadirectlink.com/legisltn/laws.asp, retrieved 2009-12-26 
  3. ^ US GDL laws: intermediate stage
  4. ^ California Driver Handbook - The California Driver License - Minor's Provisional Permit and License Information
  5. ^ V.C. Section 12814.6 - Provisional License for Minors: Distinctive Driver's License
  6. ^ 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 3 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]
  7. ^ [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua's_Law]
  8. ^ Drivers Manual Master
  9. ^ Illinois Graduated Driver License Requirements
  10. ^ cover.pmd
  11. ^ Teen Driving Information
  12. ^ http://www.mass.gov/rmv/jol/21336_web.pdf
  13. ^ Michigan's Graduated License System Timeline
  14. ^ Missouri Graduated Driver License Law
  15. ^ http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XXI/263/263-25.htm
  16. ^ http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XXI/263/263-21.htm
  17. ^ rules07WEB
  18. ^ Ohio Graduated Driver License Requirements
  19. ^ http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/TEEN/license.shtml
  20. ^ PENNDOT Driver and Vehicle Services - Young Drivers
  21. ^ State of South Dakota - Driver Licensing Program
  22. ^ http://www.aot.state.vt.us/DMV/documents/MiscellaneousDocuments/GraduatedDriverLicenseBrochure111706.pdf
  23. ^ LA Times - "Licenses Take a Back Seat"
  24. ^ http://www.aamva.org/aamva/DocumentDisplay.aspx?id={64C36556-B4B8-4C34-BC34-3A133E494E6A}
  25. ^ Enhanced Drivers Licenses: What Are They?, retrieved April 2, 2008.
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ Enhanced Driver License/ID Card (EDL/ID)
  28. ^ Homeland Security and State Departments Announce WHTI Land and Sea Final Rule, retrieved April 2, 2008.
  29. ^ Publication of Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Land and Sea Final Rule, Questions and Answers, retrieved April 2, 2008.
  30. ^ Perry Denies Enhanced Driver's License Program, retrieved April 2, 2008.
  31. ^ AG Gives Conditional Approval To Enhanced License, retrieved April 2, 2008.

See also


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