California’s graduated driver license laws follow a similar format to the laws on the record in many other states and countries. Teens are first required to go through a supervised learner’s period (with a learner permit) for at least six months before receiving an intermediate license. There is a minimum amount of supervised driving required during the first stage as well as a nighttime driving restriction. The new driver must also comply with the following restrictions:
- The student is only allowed to drive with a parent or guardian, an adult over 25 years of age, or with a licensed professional instructor. All supervising drivers must have a current California driver’s license.
- Student drivers must also complete 50 hours of supervised driving during this learning period. Ten of the required hours must be performed at night. A parent or guardian is responsible for certifying in writing that the proper amount of hours have been completed.
- New drivers must enroll in and complete both a driver education and a driver training course.
- He or she must keep a clean driving record.
- The student may not drink and drive at all.
Once the teen has successfuly completed the first step, he or she is free to move on to the next learner stage. In step two, the student may receive a provisional license if he or she is at least 16, but less than 18 years old and has passed a behind-the-wheel driving test. The new driver must also provide a parent's signature on his or her instruction permit stating that he or she has completed all required driving practice. In this stage, the new driver is required to abide by the following regulations:
- He or she must complete advanced driver training (and provide proof of completion).
- For the first 12 months (or until the driver reaches his or her 18th birthday), no passengers under the age of 20 are allowed in the provisional license holder’s vehicle unless a licensed driver age 25 or older is present.
- For the first 12 months, the new driver needs to be accompanied by a driver 25 years of age or older if teenager is driving between the hours of midnight and 5 A.M.. The driver may now drive passengers under 20 without supervision between the hours of 5 A.M. and midnight.
A full-privilege license may be granted after the driver successfuly undergoes the first two steps for the proper amount of time and there are no outstanding DMV or court-ordered restrictions, suspensions, or probations on the driver’s record.