Understanding Traffic Laws for Florida Teens
Learning to operate a moving vehicle is no small feat. As a result, a number of laws apply specifically to teen drivers to ensure their newfound road knowledge is ingrained in them, behind the wheel.
Traffic Requirements and Regulations for Teens
- Do not acquire moving violations while holding a learner’s permit. Teens who are convicted of a moving violation while holding a learner’s permit must retain their learner’s permit for one year from the date of the conviction.
- The only exception to this is if no formal conviction was declared.
- Abide by drinking laws. When it comes to underage drinking and driving, the state of Florida has a zero tolerance policy. Minors who are found to have a blood alcohol content of over .02% will immediately have their license suspended for six months. If charged with a second offense, the license will be suspended for a year.
- Teens who refuse to submit to testing will have their license suspended for 12 months (for a first offense) and 18 months (for a second offense). Put simply, do not drink and drive.
- Six-plus points leads to restriction. Teens who receive six or more points on their driving record within the span of a year will have their license restricted to “Business Purposes Only.” The restriction will last 12 months or until the minor turns 18, whichever is sooner.
- Any points acquired during the restricted period will extend the restriction 90 days, per point.
- Tobacco possession has repercussions. Teens who are convicted of tobacco possession will have their driving privileges revoked for at least 30 days.
- Maintain regular school attendance. Teens who do not comply with school attendance can have their driving privileges suspended. In some cases, minors who have a poor record of school attendance may be required to prove 30 consecutive days of attendance before receiving their driver’s license.
- Parents can cancel a minor’s license. Teens can have their license canceled by the parent or legal guardian who signed the Parental Consent Form.
Graduated Driving Laws for Teens
To ensure that first-time teen drivers are able to develop their skills in a low-risk environment, the state of Florida has created Graduated Driving Laws (GDL) to manage and support the learning curve experienced by each first-time Florida driver. The law pertaining to the learner’s permit is as follows:
- Driving restricted to daylight hours. For the first three months after receiving their learner’s permit, teens are restricted to driving only during daylight hours. After the first three months have passed, the driving curfew is extended to 10:00 pm.
- First-time teen drivers must always be accompanied by a qualified adult. All driving done while holding a learner’s permit must be done in the presence of a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.
- The learner’s permit must be held for 12 months or until the teen driver turns 18, whichever comes first.
- While holding a learner’s permit, teen drivers must log 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours of nighttime driving.
Once teen drivers are granted a driver’s license, the following Graduated Driving Laws apply:
- Restricted hours for 16-year-olds: First-time teen drivers who receive their driver’s license when they are 16 are forbidden from driving between the hours of 11:00 pm and 6:00 am.
- Restricted hours for 17-year-olds: First-time teen drivers who receive their driver’s license when they are 17 are forbidden from driving between the hours of 1:00 am and 5:00 am.
The only exceptions to these laws are if the teen is accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old, or if the teen is driving to or from work.
What Forms are Required for First-Time Teen Drivers?
Obtaining a Florida driver’s license can seem overwhelming at first. Fortunately, however, understanding the forms necessary for the learner’s permit process does not have to be complicated. Here is what all teens will need to complete:
- Parent/Guardian Online Test Proctoring Form—Teens who take the learner’s permit test online will need to complete this form in the presence of a driver’s license examiner. In the event that the parent or guardian will not be present when the teen visits the DMV office, the teen must bring a signed and notarized form instead.
- Parental Consent Form—All teens must have this form completed and signed by their parent or legal guardian.
- Please note: Stepparents may not sign the form unless they have legally adopted the minor seeking a learner’s permit.
For your convenience, all of the requested forms are also available in Spanish:
It is also important to note that first-time teen drivers who are under the age of 18 and unmarried will need the signature of a parent or guardian on their license application. The signature must be made in front of a driver’s license examiner or notary.
Married minors must bring their marriage certificate. Emancipated minors must bring their certified court order.
What Resources are Available?
Preparing for the learner’s permit exam is an exciting time. However, it can also be stressful and leave teens and adults seeking more information. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website offers a variety of resources to make driver’s education a little more accessible. Check out the following helpful resources:
Florida Driver’s License Handbook—This handbook contains answers to any questions that may arise from behind the wheel. Whether you need to understand the meaning of a road sign or are wondering how to manually signal a left turn, this handbook—also available in Spanish and Creole—has what you need.
Pre-DMV Visit Overview—If you’re worried you’ll forget one of the important papers or forms of identification you need to get your permit, this page clearly explains the details.
Practice Driving Log—As a first-time teen driver with a learner’s permit, keeping track of your hours is key. This form will help you keep your hours organized, so you can chart your progress.
Road Trip Checklist and Safety Tips—Before setting out on the road, this guide gives teen drivers a few helpful reminders. You can print one and keep it in the glove compartment for easy access.
Sign Up for the Florida Learner’s Permit Exam Today
Obtaining a learner’s permit is the first step on the road to driving freedom. However, with that freedom comes increased responsibility. When you sign up to take the American Safety Council’s Learner’s Permit Test online, you can rest assured that you are making the first of many responsible choices as a new driver.
To make the driver’s education process even more accessible, the American Safety Council is proud to offer package deals. These bundles make driver’s education even more affordable and convenient. Teens can take the Drug and Alcohol Course with Online Permit Exam or the DATA Course, Online Permit Exam and Exam Prep. Both bundles offer students the same high quality content at a reduced rate so learning to drive can be as easy as getting online.