Getting your Florida driver’s license is a big step towards independence and adulthood. And though the path to an unrestricted Florida driver’s license might seem like a long and complicated one, we’re here to help you figure out the qualifications for a learner’s permit, how to land a provisional driver’s license, and everything in between.
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Qualifications for a Driving Permit
In order to take your permit test, you must be at least 15 years old and have completed the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course required by the state of Florida. This course teaches about Florida road signs, driving basics, and the effects drugs and alcohol have on driving. This course can be taken at your school, if offered, or through an online course.
The online Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education courses will provide an opportunity to take the permit test online. The company hosting the course will then send your results to the DHSMV. If for any reason you need to take the test in person, you’ll need to go to the Division of Driver Licenses office of the DHSMV.
Keep in mind that whether you take your permit test online or in person at the DHSMV, you’ll need to drop by the DHSMV to show the following documentation:
- Proof that you completed the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course (if you took the permit test online, this will automatically be sent to the DHSMV)
- Form HSMV 71142 (Driver’s License Application for a Minor), signed by a parent or guardian at the DMV. If your parent/guardian can’t be there with you, you need to get their signature on the form notarized ahead of time, and bring in the notarized form.
- Proof of identity
- Proof of SSN
- Proof of residential address
- $48 for fees
The written permit test is comprised of 50 multiple choice questions. In order to pass, you must get 40 of them correct. You’ll also be required to pass a vision and a hearing test.
Once you’ve passed the written permit test, you can start driving with a licensed adult over 21 years old in the front passenger seat. For the first 3 months, you can only drive during the day. After you’ve had your learner’s permit for 3 months, you can drive until 10 pm. You need to log at least 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 of which need to be at night.
The Provisional License
To get your provisional driver’s license, you need to have had your Florida learner’s permit for at least one year (without incident), have driven for 50 supervised hours, and be at least 16 years old. When you’re ready to take the road test, head down to your local DMV and submit 1) your learner’s permit and 2) Form HSMV 71143 (Certification of Driving Experience of a Minor), signed by a parent or guardian.
Occasionally driver’s education courses will include a road test as part of their curriculum, and you’ll just need to present a waiver at the DMV. Otherwise, you’ll need to take a DMV road test, which will cover basic driving techniques.
When you pass your road test, you’ll receive your provisional driver’s license–that means you’re allowed to drive unsupervised! Because your license is provisional until you turn 18 years old, though, there are some restrictions to keep in mind:
- If you’re 16 years old, you can only drive unsupervised between the hours of 6 am and 11 pm
- If you’re 17 years old, you can only drive unsupervised between the hours of 5 am and 1 am
If you’re accompanied by a licensed adult of 21 years or older, or you’re driving to or from work, these restrictions don’t apply. And when you turn 18, your provisional license will turn into a full, unrestricted Florida driver’s license. Best of luck on your path to getting your Florida driver’s license!