Teens in California can enjoy driving privileges at the age of 15½. These provisional licenses come with restrictions that are designed to keep inexperienced drivers safe while they practice their skills. How can teens in California obtain a learner’s permit or driver’s license? What are some of the restrictions placed on teen drivers in California? What are the consequences of driving while high for underage drivers?
Provisionary Licenses for Teen Drivers
Drivers under the age of 18 must apply for a provisionary license. To successfully apply, learners need to meet these criteria.
- Be between the age of 15½ and 18 at the time of application.
- Complete form DL 44. Include the signature of at least one parent or legal guardian. All parties who have legal custody of the minor must sign the application.
- Present a birth certificate or other official birth document.
- Show proof of successfully completing a California Drivers Ed course.
- Submit application with appropriate fees included.
- Successfully complete a vision test. This is usually administered in the DMV office.
- Take a photograph for your identification card.
- Provide a fingerprint sample.
- Pass the California knowledge test for drivers. Testers must wait 7 complete days after failing the exam to try again.
When all these requirements are met, teen drivers are given a learner’s permit. However, the document doesn’t grant driving privileges until it is signed by an instructor. These include:
- Parents and legal guardians.
- Licensed California residents who are at least 25 years of age.
- A certified driving instructor.
- Teens with provisionary licenses are not allowed to drive alone. An instructor should be in the car and ready to take over in case of an emergency.
Six months after receiving their learner’s permit, teens can take the skills test and receive their California driver’s license. This application also requires proof of successfully completing a California Drivers Ed course. In addition to passing the skills test, students must submit signed proof of at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice. Testers must wait 2 complete weeks after failing the skills test before they schedule another attempt.
Restrictions for Teen Drivers
During their first year as a licensed driver, teens are restricted in their driving privileges. Those under the age of 18 are not allowed to:
- Transport other people under the age of 20 unless an instructor is present.
- Operate a vehicle from 11 pm to 5 am.
- Use cell phones or other electronic devices while operating a vehicle. This includes hands-free devices.
There are some exceptions to these rules. These restrictions can be waived:
- In a medical emergency.
- Temporarily by a designated school official.
- To enable students or other family members to get to work.
- For emancipated minors.
- To assist with family-related duties.
All waivers must be signed by a responsible adult and ready to present to enforcement officials on demand.
Driving While High: California Law for Teens
While marijuana consumption is legal for adults over the age of 21 in California, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any mind-altering substance. Those who are caught driving while high can face several penalties. Punishment is determined by the frequency of the offense.
- The first time a teen is caught driving under the influence, they could receive up to 6 months in a correctional facility. They can also lose their driving privileges for up to 10 months or until they reach the age of 18.
- The second offense increases possible jail time to 1 year and loss of privileges to 2 years.
- For the third infraction, teens may face a year in jail and/or 3 years without driving privileges.
These punishments may also include fines between $390 and $1000, mandatory DUI school, and other punitive measures that are necessary by judges and court officials.
Receiving a driver’s license opens new doors for teens and allows them to explore their potential. Practicing safe driving habits is the best way to ensure that they retain those privileges.