Without a driver’s license, it is illegal for you to operate a vehicle. If you are caught behind the wheel you could face significant fines and fees and possibly jeopardize your ability to drive in the future. Every state has its own rules about who can get a driver’s license and how the application process works, but there are similarities that apply to all state. This guide is designed to give you a broad and general overview of driver’s license requirements.
Operating a vehicle is incredibly dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Driver’s licenses are only given to people who have demonstrated that they understand the rules of the road and know how to drive safely and cautiously. By requiring all drivers to have a license at all times, officials are able to ensure that the roads are a safer place for everyone.
Most states allow an individual to get a driver’s license and begin driving on their own once they turn 16 years old. When they are 15 they are often allowed to get a learner’s permit that allows them to drive as long as a licensed driver is in the vehicle with them.
A person who earns a driver’s license at age 16 is given what is called an intermediate driver’s license. When they turn 18 they are given a full driver’s license. Anyone who intends to drive a motorcycle will need to earn a specialized license. There are also specialized licenses for driver’s who intend to operate a vehicle for commercial purposes. Simply having a driver’s license is not enough to satisfy the requirements of the law. You must also have the right kind of driver’s license. Be sure to closely investigate the specific requirements in your state to avoid legal penalties.
The first step is to learn to drive. Do not assume that you can meet the requirements for a driver’s license without a detailed understanding of driving, driving laws, and roadway safety. Once you feel confident behind the wheel, you will need to visit your local DMV and pass both a written test and a road test. The written test evaluates your understanding of driving laws, and the road test requires you to demonstrate driving competency in the presence of a driving expert. You will also need to fill out various forms and pay a modest fee. Once you have a driver’s license, vehicle insurance, and access to a registered vehicle, you are legally allowed to drive on your own.
These are the two most important parts of the driver’s license application process. If you fail either, you will need to leave the DMV, practice/study the things you struggled with, and then take the tests over again at a later date. Some states mandate that you wait a certain amount of time before retaking the test. Others penalize you if you fail the tests too many time. The smartest strategy is to study/practice extensively and wait to apply for your driver’s license until you feel very confident about your knowledge and abilities.
In most state’s a driver’s license is good for either three years or six years. If you choose the longer duration you will have to pay a larger fee. However, it is important to understand that a driver’s license can be taken away for a number of reasons. If you are caught driving recklessly on a regular basis, law enforcement officials have the right to suspend your license and mandate how long it’s unavailable to you. In every state, driving is considered a privilege, not a right.
Many people learn from a trusted friend or family member after first being granted their learner’s permit. The process often starts in a parking lot, moves to a street with light traffic, and eventually leads to major roads and highways. If you feel you need more comprehensive training there are also a number of driving schools that have developed specialized training methods. The DMV also provides manuals and guides designed to help you pass the written test.
Typically you only need to fill out forms, pay fees, and visit your local DMV office. However, under certain circumstances you may be asked to retake the written or road test or submit to a test of your vision. It is important to be aware of when your driver’s license expires and to renew it before that date arrives. Driving with an expired license is considered the same as driving with no license at all.
If you establish resident status in a new state you must earn a driver’s license in that state. That typically involves giving up your previous license and going through the same steps necessary for new driver’s to earn a license. If you have questions about what exactly is required, contact the DMV in your new state.
Every time you are issued a moving violation you also have “points” added to your license. The number of points that are added depends on the severity of the violation. Once you reach a certain number of points you lose your right to drive. This creates a powerful incentive for driving responsibly at all times. If you need to know how many points are currently on your license, contact the DMV.