California Graduated License Program - CA Graduated Drivers License Requirements
California Graduated License - CA Graduated Drivers License Program
The current California graduated driver's license program was introduced in 1998 and is a build-up on the original graduated license program that was introduced in 1983. In addition to all restrictions present in the original program, the upgraded California graduated license system features additional driving hours, nighttime driving restrictions and limited the number of teenagers who could be present in the vehicle operated by a young driver.
Main Stages of the California Graduated License Program
The graduated license system in California is very similar to that of many other states and it features the same three stages:
- Instruction permit
- Restricted license
- Full drivers license
Applying for the California learners permit is the first step towards the drivers license no matter how old you are, however, license applicants under 18 are subject to additional GDL restrictions.
Step 1 - California Learners Permit
The minimum age when you can apply for the California driver's permit is 15 and ½. According to the graduated license law, if you are applying for the learners permit before you turn 17 and ½, you must complete one of the California drivers education classes and sign up for driving lessons with a professional instructor prior to submitting the application. You can apply for your permit at any drivers license office where you will have to take a vision exam and the California DMV permit test. If you pass the exams, you will be issued with your learner's permit.
The graduated license law states that the permit must be held for at least 6 months before you can apply for your drivers license. During this time, you cannot drive unless you are accompanied by another licensed drivers and you must complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with your parents and 6 hours of driving lessons with a professional driving instructor.
Step 2 - California Restricted Driver's License
If you fulfill the requirements of stage 1, you can proceed to stage 2, which is obtaining an intermediate drivers license. You must pass the California DMV drivers test and your parents will need to provide a statement that you have completed the required number of supervised driving hours. Once you receive your restricted license, you can start driving alone, but you must still observe the curfew and passenger restrictions.
Step 3 - California Drivers License
You can obtain your unrestricted California drivers license once you've held the intermediate license for at least 6 months or when you turn 18. Starting this moment, you have the same driving privileges as other drivers around you.
Who Needs to Observe the California Graduated License Law
The graduated license system in California is relevant for everyone who is under 18 years of age. If you are 17 and ½, you can get your drivers permit without taking any drivers ed or driving classes, but you must still observe all California permit restrictions until you turn 18.
California Graduated License Restrictions
In California, the graduated license restrictions can be divided into restrictions that apply to the permit holders and those that apply to the restricted license.
- Supervised driving only
- Must complete drivers ed
- Must take professional driving lessons
- Passenger restrictions
You can always find the relevant rules and latest updates on the subject in the California driver's handbook.