In a country as vast as the United States, a driver’s license is more of a necessity than a rite of passage. All states recognize this importance, which is why some, such as Florida, allow individuals to begin the process from as young as 14 ½ years. Any teenager applying for their first license in Florida will need to go through a Graduated Driver Licensing program as required by the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV).
Besides the theory and paperwork, they will also need to get some supervised, behind the wheel practice. This step is critical in helping the teen to generate the right amount of confidence through experience, so they can become an unsupervised driver in their own right.
Starting with Driver’s Ed
There are several steps to take and each teen younger than 18 years old will need to complete a certain amount of driver’s ed first. Many teens are opting to take this course online through an approved provider such as DriversEd.com, or Aceable.
The approved course not only teaches young drivers how to understand the rules of the road and learn how to prepare for the actual in-car lessons, but once complete the teen can also take the learner’s permit test right there. Successful completion of the course will trigger a waiver that eliminates the need to take the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course, which should have lasted a further four hours.
On to the Learner’s License
Upon successful completion of this step, it’ll be time to apply to the FDHSMV for a learner’s license, from the age of 15 onward. This enables the teenager to drive during daylight hours for the first three months, so long as somebody who is older than 21 sits beside them. They can drive until 10 PM after those first few months, although there can be no accidents or infractions during this time, or the State will revoke their privileges.
Gain Experience from Florida Driving Lessons
The learner’s licence presents the ideal opportunity to get professional tuition from experts in a real-world environment. There are several driving schools dotted throughout Florida, where the learner will be supervised by driving instructors who are certified by the State. The school will provide the vehicles with necessary insurance and most cars have dual control brake systems, just in case. The next phase is the big one, involving a behind-the-wheel exam. So long as the teen has completed at least 50 hours of supervised practice, with 10 or more hours at night and a parent or guardian can certify this, then the State will issue a provisional operator’s licence upon passing the exam.
Provisional Operator’s Licence
To get this operator’s licence, the teen should take their learner’s licence, driver’s ed waiver and certification documents to any Division of Driver Licenses office. Once issued, the provisional licence will allow a 16-year-old teen to drive unsupervised between 6 AM and 11 PM and those hours extend to between 5 AM and 1 AM after the 17th birthday. However, restrictions do not apply if driving to or from work or if accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.
The Graduated Driver Licensing journey should end on the 18th birthday, when the teen will finally get their full, unrestricted licence.
Visit Florida Safety Council to learn how you can enroll in Florida driving lessons. While you're at it, stop by our sister site, DriversEd.com, to learn more about Florida drivers ed, practice tests, and more.