How to Get Your Florida Driver License
Before you can take to the road, there are a few things you need to know about getting your Florida driver license. Like many states, Florida employs a graduated driver license (GDL) program designed to keep young drivers safe. Florida's GDL program comes with a few restrictions for teen drivers, but it's fairly easy to navigate. Here's a rundown on how to get your Florida driver license.
Step One: Start With Your Learner's License
Florida teens are required to have their learner's license (also known as a learner's permit) for at least one year before they can get a driver license. You can apply for your permit, which allows you to drive while accompanied by a licensed adult, when you're 15. In order to get your permit, you'll need to pass a 50-question written exam. The best way to prepare is to study the Florida Driver License Handbook. In addition to studying for your written exam, you'll also need to complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course. This requirement may be waived if you take a comprehensive driver education course.
Once you've completed or waived your TLSAE course and studied the handbook, you're ready to schedule an appointment at the DMV. You'll need to bring:
- A signed parental consent form
- Proof of your identity
- Proof of your social security number
- Two proofs of your residential address
Once you get your learner's license, be sure to abide by all its restrictions. You're only allowed to drive with a licensed driver in the front seat who is at least 21. You can only drive during daylight hours for the first three months. After that, you cannot drive after 10:00 p.m. If you break these rules, it could interfere with your ability to get your Florida driver license.
Step Two: Get Your Intermediate License
If you're at least 16 and you've had your permit for a year or longer without any traffic convictions, you're eligible to apply for your first Florida driver license. Though an intermediate license still comes with a few restrictions, it will allow you to drive on your own.
In order to get your intermediate license, you'll need to make another trip to the DMV. Be sure to bring your proof of identity, social security number, and residential address, like you did when applying for your permit. At the DMV, you'll also need to take a road skills test, unless you've taken a driver education course with an instructor who was approved to administer the road skills test on their own.
The Florida driver license exam includes two parts: a vehicle inspection and a skills test. Be sure you've practiced driving the vehicle in which you'll be taking the test. Ultimately, your test administrator will be looking to confirm several things:
- You have a thorough understanding of Florida's road signs, traffic signals, and highway markings.
- You know the state's traffic laws.
- You drive safely.
Once you've gotten your intermediate license, a few restrictions still apply:
- If you're 16, you can only drive between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., unless you're traveling to or from work. You can also drive after curfew if you have a licensed driver who is 21 or older in the front seat.
- If you're 17, you can drive alone anytime EXCEPT between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Otherwise, the same restrictions apply.
Step Three and Beyond
As long as you have a safe driving record, all restrictions are removed from your license when you turn 18. Then you're free to hit the road whenever you choose!