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Teen Driving

The leading cause of death among the 16 to 19 year old age group is car crashes.  With a statistic as profound and disturbing as this one, it comes as no surprise that Virginia is adamant about their Drivers Education program.  While it is our responsibility, as a State, to ensure the delivery of the finest Drivers Education instruction possible, it is the job of the family and community to instill in young drivers an appropriate and safe attitude towards operating a motor vehicle.

At 15 years 6 months old, you are able to get your Virginia learner’s permit and enroll in a Drivers Education course.  You can apply for your learner’s permit at any Virginia DMV and will pay fees for both the learners permit and your permanent driver’s license.  The fee for your learner’s permit is $3.00 and the fee for a permanent driver’s license is $4.00 per year.  Be prepared to show two proofs of identity.  Also, unless you are emancipated, teen drivers under 18 years old will be required to apply with your parent or guardian present and to show the written consent of that parent or guardian.  At the time of application, you will also be required to pass a vision screening and a written knowledge examination.  The Virginia DMV website offers valuable preparation tools such as the Drivers’ Manual and sample written tests.

You can operate a vehicle under the direct supervision of a 21 year old licensed driver or an 18 year old licensed driver if they are a guardian or sibling.  You must complete at least 40 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training, 10 of which must be acquired after sunset in addition to the 36 classroom periods of Virginia Drivers Education and 14 in-car instruction periods (7 driving and 7 observation) requirements.

At 16 years and 3 months old, you are eligible for your permanent driver’s license once you have met all training, testing and Virginia Drivers Education requirements.  Your driving school or school will forward your certificate of completion to the Virginia DMV and you will be assigned a court date.  You will appear at your licensing ceremony with your parent or guardian on the court date specified, at which time you will be issued your permanent license.
At 16 years and 3 months old, you can also transfer your driver’s license from another State to Virginia. You must show successful completion of Drivers Education program while in another state that meets at least a 30 classroom hour requirement and six in-car instruction hours.  You must also present proof of legal residence in VA.  You can be issued a 6-month temporary license to give you time to meet requirements.

The following driving restrictions apply to drivers under 18 years old:

  • No driving from midnight to 4am
  • Only 1 passenger under 18 years old in your car for first year until you’ve had it for one year
  • No more than 3 passengers under 18 until you are 18 years old
  • Violation of these restrictions results in suspension of your license
  • Restrictions do not apply to family members 


If you are 19 years old and have never held a valid driver’s license, you must successfully complete a state-approved driver education program or have a learner’s permit for at least 30 days before taking the road skills test and obtaining your permanent driver’s license.

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