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A California provisional driver license is the next step in a graduated driver license system. It is issued after the learner's permit and before a regular, unrestricted license. Most provisional licenses are issued between the ages of 16 to 18 years of age. Teens will be allowed to drive alone when they have a provisional license, but there will be specified times and other conditions and restrictions that must be adhered to. These restrictions are put in place to reduce potential problems that a new driver could experience due to "moving too fast" in the driving process.
With your provisional driver license, you will be able to drive by yourself between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. However, one of the California provisional license restrictions is that you are not allowed to transport passengers under the age of 20 at any time for the first 12 months unless there is a licensed parent, guardian, or other adult in the car with you who is over the age of 25.
You are also not permitted to drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless there is a licensed parent or guardian or another adult over the age of 25 years in the car with you.
With a provisional license, you are not allowed to be employed in a job that requires you to drive a vehicle. Once you turn 18, the provisional license and its restrictions end and you can drive as a regular licensed driver.
The provisional driver license restrictions apply to you if you are under the age of 18 and you got a provisional driver license on or after January 1, 2006, and they will last for 12 months from the time you are given the provisional license.
There are some exceptions to the California provisional license restrictions that are in place. To be exempt from these restrictions, a written note, signed by the appropriate person, must be kept with you at all times to explain the necessity of not adhering to the restrictions and the date that you will be able to adhere to the restrictions again, if applicable. Examples include:
Although it may feel a little frustrating to have these restrictions in place, they are put there for your own safety while you are getting used to driving on a regular basis alone. It is very important that you follow the restrictions that are part of your provisional driver license so you do not incur any penalties or repercussions. If you must break any of the restrictions due to reasons that are on the exception list above, make sure that you have the appropriately signed note in your possession.