Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

California Graduated Drivers License

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For the last 10 years California has had a law that requires all new teen drivers to get their license through a three-step process. This graduated license law was developed to reduce the number of teen accidents and fatalities of drivers between the ages of 15 and 19. By all reports, it works, too. Every year since the graduated requirements took place there have been fewer accidents and deaaths of teen drivers.

This is how it works:
  1. Supervised period (with a learners permit) of driving at least 50 hours with a driving teacher, parent or licensed driver over the age of 25 -- ten of those hours have to be at night. Teens must also: complete at least six hours of a drivers training course; must keep a clean driving record; and s/he must never drink and drive.
  2. The student may receive a provisional license if s/he is between the ages of 16 and 18; passes the behind the wheel test; and can provide a parent's signature stating that s/he has completed all of the required driving practice. With a provisional license, for the first 12 months, the new driver (who is under 18 years of age) may not have passengers under the age of 20 in the car, or drive between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM unless a licensed driver over the age of 25 is present.
  3. Finally, a full-privilege license may be granted after the driver successfully undergoes the first two steps for one year if there are no outstanding DMV or court-ordered restrictions, suspensions, or probations on the driving record.
I happen to have one teen coming up on this full-privilege phase and I read pages of information on the DMV web site without finding the answer to my question, which was - does she have to go back into the DMV to get her full-privilege license?

Finally I called, waited for 12 mintues, and was told that she can come in and get a new license - for $23, otherwise she just keeps the provional license, and if she is pulled over, the officer would calculate the date from the date of issue on the license and assess her compliance.

And there you have it. Once they have a license - they keep it!
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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