To reduce young driver crashes in Virginia and to save lives, the General Assembly enacted a graduated licensing process that requires new drivers to have more driving experience prior to obtaining a license.
Eligibility for a learner’s permit and provisional driver’s license
- A juvenile may apply for a learner’s permit if he or she is at least 15 years and six months of age.
- A juvenile who fails the DMV knowledge test three times must complete a classroom driver education course before being eligible to take the test a fourth time.
- A juvenile may apply for a driver’s license when he or she becomes 16 years and three months of age.
- A juvenile must hold a learner’s permit for nine months, or until the learner’s permit holder turns 19 (whichever comes first).
- Students younger than 18 must have their parents, foster parents, or guardians certify that they have driven a motor vehicle for at least 45 hours, at least 15 of which were after sunset.
- If you are 18 years of age or older and you have never held a license issued by any state, U.S. territory or foreign country, you must hold a learner's permit for at least 60 days or show completion of a state-approved driver education program before you can apply for a driver's license.
- The in-car teacher will administer the road test. If your child successfully passes the test, meets all the licensing requirements, and the school receives written permission from the parent to license the child, the school will issue the student a 180-Day Temporary Provisional Driver’s License.
Learner’s permit and provisional driver’s license restrictions
- Prohibits driving with more than one nonfamily passenger less than 18 years old until the holder has held a provisional license for one year, and no more than three non-family passengers less than 18 years old until age 18.
- Restricts licensed drivers younger than 18 years old from operating a vehicle between midnight and 4 a.m., except when driving: (i) to and from work; (ii) to and from a school-sponsored activity; (iii) when accompanied by a parent or person in loco parentis, or by a spouse who is 18 years old or older; (iv) in cases of emergency; or (v) when responding to fire or some other emergency as a volunteer firefighter or rescue worker.
- Prohibits drivers under age 18 from using cell phones or wireless communication devices while driving, regardless of hand-held or hands-free, except in a driver emergency and the vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped.
- Requires passengers younger than 18 years of age who are occupying the rear seats of a vehicle to use safety belts.
- Requires drivers younger than 20 years of age to attend a driver improvement clinic if convicted of a demerit point offense (moving violation), a seat belt or a child safety seat violation.
- Requires license renewal applicants younger than 21 years of age who are convicted of one or more moving violations to retake the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) traffic safety knowledge tests.