Driver’s Permit Rules for Young and New Drivers

Your learner's permit is your first step in enjoying the freedom of the open road. One thing to be aware of in this process is that, depending on your state, your learner's permit may come with multiple restrictions. Learn what these restrictions are and what you need to get your permit and license in this handy guide.

Driver's Permit Rules for Young and New Drivers

Each state has its own laws about what a driver in training can or can't do. These laws are in place to protect young drivers still learning the basics of driving. Here are some of the common restrictions various states share:

  • The time of day that you can drive — A lot of states dictate the time of day you're allowed to drive on a permit. They may only let you drive from the early morning til the early evening. They are also likely not to let you drive overnight, either. For example, Illinois limits permit drivers to only drive between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Driving at night requires extra awareness which young drivers don't have yet.

  • The number (and age) of passengers — Another rule that states share is who can be in the car with you while you're on your permit. Some only let a licensed adult in there with you, while others may allow you to have one additional family member. States like New York require you to have a licensed driver over the age of 21 with you every time you drive. This is to help minimize distractions that multiple people or even friends may cause to new drivers.

  • Cell phone usage — While cell phone usage is a form of distracted driving, states like New Jersey ban permit drivers from even using a cell phone in hands-free mode.

Requirements for Turning Your Learner's Permit Into a License

While there are restrictions on what you can't do with a permit, there are also things each state requires you to do before making the jump from your learner's permit to your driver's license:

  • Minimum hours behind the wheel — A very common requirement before getting your license is to log a certain number of hours behind the wheel. This number seems to average around 50 for states that require it. Some even want you to have hours that are specifically during inclement weather or during the nighttime.

  • Driver's ed — More than two-thirds of all states now say that you must take a driver's education course before you get your driver's license. This only helps you by teaching you all of the local traffic laws and preparing you for just about any situation you can encounter. You can take these courses through high schools, DMV-provided classes, or online on

  • Minimum time period — Some states require you to hold a permit for a certain time period before you can get your full driver's license. California, for example, declares that you have your permit for at least 6 months before you apply for your driver's license. This ensures drivers don't fly through their other prerequisites and get their licenses as fast as possible. You'll have the chance to practice for much longer, making you a more confident driver.

What You Need to Do to Get Your Permit

Almost every state requires both a vision and knowledge test before you get your permit. These ensure you're fit to drive and know the basic rules of the road.In states like Washington, you can get a knowledge test waiver if you're enrolled in a driver's education course. 

Take a Driver's Ed Course to Prepare You for Your Permit

Since most states require you to take a driver's ed course at some point before you get your driver's license, why not just beat them to the punch? A driver's ed course is the perfect way to prepare yourself for what to expect when you first get into a car. At, our state-approved online courses give you the training you need to hit the road at any age. 

Get Started with your Online Drivers Ed Course Today

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Updated 3/14/23