Learner's permit

Learner's permit

A driver's permit, learner's permit or learner's license, is a restricted license that is given to a person who is learning to drive, but has not yet satisfied the requirements to obtain a driver's license. Having a driver's permit for a certain length of time is usually one of the requirements (along with driver's education and a road test) for applying for a full driver's license. To get a learner's permit, one must typically pass a written permit test about rules of the road, although the process varies between jurisdictions. With written documentation and permission from your legal guardian and if you have a learner's permit you may be allowed to drive to and from school and work in some jurisdictions. Age requirement in the United States for the learner's aid is 18 years of age, and 15 1/2 with the legal guardian's consent.


Age requirements


In Canada, the minimum age varies from province to province and may be 14 or 16. In Ontario, a G1 License is issued to new drivers at the age of 16 after completing a written test. G1 license restrictions include:

  • A person with four years' experience must sit in the seat adjacent the new driver
  • All passengers must wear seat belts
  • You are able to drive with a legal driving license at the age of 16 alone in Canada
  • The learner must not drive between the hours of 12AM and 5AM
  • The learner must have a blood alcohol count of zero.

After a period of one year, the learner may upgrade their G1 to a G2 license by taking a road test. The G2 license has fewer restrictions, but still requires seat belts and a BAC of 0. A G2 license does not have time or road restrictions, and the learner is free to drive alone. After one year with a G2, the learner may upgrade to their full G class license by taking another road test, which has a major highway component. A similar program is in effect for motorcycles, the M class license.

In Nova Scotia, a beginner's permit (L) is issued to new drivers after the age of 16 after a written test. The L license restrictions include:

  • A fully licensed driver must sit in the seat adjacent the new driver
  • There can not be additional other passengers
  • The learner must have a blood alcohol count of 0
  • No time or road restrictions

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong any person aged 18 or above can apply for a Learner's Driving License for private cars, light goods vehicle and motorcycles. For other types of vehicle the age required is 21 and the applicant must have a valid private car or light goods vehicle driving license for 3 years. Unlike other jurisdictions, a learner must be supervised by an approved driving instructor instead of an ordinary fully licensed driver, or attending an approved driving school to learn to drive (except motorcycles, which learners can drive on their own, but motorcycle learners must pass a motorcycle course from an approved driving school before they can learn to drive on road). L-plate is also required when the learner is practicing.


In Jamaica, any person 17 years or over may apply for a Provisional (Learners) License.

New Zealand

In New Zealand any person 16 years or over can sit a learner's licensing test, which is a theory multiple choice test on road rules . Once they have passed this, they may drive with an adult who has had their full license for at least two years.[1] They must display L plates at all times when driving. You may drive up to the speed of 100 km/h in allowed areas .You may carry passengers with an adult in the car that has had their full licence for more than two years. After at least 6 months have passed, they take a road test in order to receive their restricted license. On a restricted license, the learner may only drive between 5am and 10pm, with no passengers other than their dependent children, spouse, or persons holding a full license for more than 2 years. If you are a learner, you may only drive between 5am and 10pm. Learners who sit the practical test in an automatic car are only legally allowed to drive an automatic while restricted. People can also sit a full license road test after 18 months or a year if they have undertaken a defensive driving course. In March 2010 the New Zealand Government announced changes to licence regulations which included raising the minimum age for a learner's licence to 16,[2] since September 2011 the minimum age to attempt to obtain a learners licence is the age of 16.


In Norway, any person 16 or above can attend a 17-hour Basic Course on Traffic and receive a permit which allows the person to start driving at the age of 16. No test is required; the learner will earn the permit as long as she/he be present during the whole course. The requirements include an L plate on the back of the car and an additional rearview mirror for the compulsory passenger who must be over the age of 25 and have had the license for at least five consecutive years.

South Africa

In South Africa, any person who is of the minimum required age may sit a learner's licence exam. The minimum required age varies by vehicle class and has the following minimum age restrictions [3]: a. for a motorcycle (without a sidecar) with an engine not exceeding 125 cc – 16 years b. for light motor vehicles with a mass not exceeding 3 500 kilograms – 17 years c. for all other vehicles (also motorcycles with an engine exceeding 125 cc) – 18 years

The Learner's Licence exam is a 68 question multiple choice exam with questions spread over three sections: Rules of the road (30 questions); Signs, signals and road markings (30 questions), and vehicle controls (8 questions)[4]. Once a student has passed with approximately 80% correct answers, he or she may drive on public roads/freeways provided they are supervised by a person in possession of a valid driver’s license for the class of vehicle which you are driving. South African Learners must carry their Learner's Licence with them whenever they are driving a vehicle and have L plates on the rear window. The Learner's Licence is valid for 24 months [5].


In Sweden, the minimum age is 16 to get a basic car learner's permit; 17 years and six months are required for more advanced vehicle combinations [1].

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the minimum age at which a provisional licence is valid is 17 (16 for driving a tractor, riding a scooter, or those receiving Disability Mobility Allowance). When driving under a provisional license, the learner must be accompanied by a driver holding a full driving license for three years, and who is 21 or over. The supervisor has to be in view of the road, however the road safety act 1988 states that the supervisor does have to be in the passenger seat, although the passenger in the front seat DOES have to be over the ages of 15. A full licence can be acquired as soon as the provisional license is received, unlike many other countries where applicants must wait a minimum of 6–12 months with this being said,, before getting a full license. The provisional license is available without taking a test, although to get a full, unrestricted license - the applicant must take a written 'Theory' test, followed by an intensive physical driving test. The vehicle being driven by the learner must also be fitted with L-plates on both the back and front of the vehicle. This tells other road users that the vehicle is being operated by a driver without their full license and that they may make mistakes easily and that the driver may not be fully competent yet. The L-plate consists of a white square plate (often tied to the vehicle or attached by magnets) with a large red L in the middle. In Wales the L-plate or the D-plate may be used. When the learner has passed, they can get a non-compulsory 'P' plate, which shows that they have just passed their test, and so may not have much experience on the road. The P plate has a white background, with a green 'P'. In Northern Ireland for one year after the passing of a driving test, the driver is defined as a "restricted driver" who must not exceed 45 mph (72 km/h) and must display an "R-plate" consisting of an amber sans-serif R on a white background

United States

In the United States, the minimum age at which a person can receive a learner's permit varies by state, ranging 14 to 18. With a driver's permit, the driver does not have to have a supervising driver in the car unless they want it counted in their driving log. Drivers may also count drives to and from school or work in their driving log without a supervising driver having been in the car with them. Holders of a permit are (15-21) restricted to driving during a certain period of time (usually around midnight to dawn).

In order for a minor to get a learner's permit, they must have signed permission from a parent or guardian. After six months of driving supervised with a permit, and reaching the requisite age, a person can apply for a license. Obtaining a license allows certain restrictions to be lifted from the driver, such as the times that they are allowed to drive, and the number of people allowed in the car. In some states, permit holders are allowed to drive to and from school or work with a permit, without a supervising driver.

A written knowledge permit test is required in many states. A permit is obtained by showing proof of age and identity and proof of enrollment in a driver's education class.

In some states, but not all, an adult learner need only have the driver's permit for a few days before being able to get a driver's license. If the adult learner is over the age of 21, he/she may take the written test and pass for a permit, then is granted to take the driving test for a license on the same day if all fees are paid, and if it is convenient for both the DMV and the adult learner. In the state of Colorado, an adult learner over the age of 21 can take both tests on the same day, so long as the driving test is scheduled by appointment and the learner has passed and paid in full the written exam/permit first.

Driving ages, for permits, probationary licenses, and basic licenses vary greatly by state. These are the ages at which a person may obtain a permit in the following states:

14 years: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota,

14 years, 6 months

Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming

14 years, 9 months

Michigan, Louisiana

15 years

Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia

15 years, 6 months

Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin

15 years, 9 months


16 years

Connecticut, New York, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island

Learner's permits do not exist in New Hampshire. Teenagers may drive with adult supervision after reaching 15 years, 6 months.

To obtain a restricted license, the driver must be the minimum age for testing and have had his or her permit for the required duration. A computerized knowledge test is first required. After that is passed, a 6 hrs drive test is given over a two day period. It consists of driving around a residential neighborhood. There are no hazard tests. If you fail the test, you must usually wait a week or two to retake it. Here is a list of the minimum ages in each state in which a restricted license (driver may drive alone, but with restrictions):

14 years, 3 months

South Dakota

14 years, 6 months

North Dakota

15 years

Idaho and Kansas

15 years, 6 months

Mississippi, New Mexico

16 years

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

16 years, 3 months


16 years, 6 months

Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York (Excluding New York City), Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island

17 years

New Jersey and New York City

Here is the list of the ages in each state where a full license may be obtained (no restriction except for alcohol if under age 21). No additional driving test is required to obtain one. A full license is usually given after having a restricted license for six months to a year or reaching age 18, whichever is sooner, and depending on the state laws.

No restricted license (driver automatically starts with full license after passing test)

Arizona, Minnesota, North Dakota

16 years

Michigan, Idaho, Kansas, and Mississippi

16 years, 6 months

Georgia, Arkansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming

16 years, 9 months


17 years

Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia

17 years, 6 months

Rhode Island, California

17 years, 9 months


18 years

Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania

19 years


See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • learner's permit — learner s .permit n AmE an official document that gives you permission to learn to drive British Equivalent: provisional licence …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • learner's permit — learner s ,permit noun count AMERICAN an official document that you can have before you are old enough to drive a car that allows you to drive with a parent or driver who has a license …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • learner's permit — noun a document authorizing the bearer to learn to drive an automobile • Hypernyms: ↑license, ↑licence, ↑permit * * * learner’s permit UK US noun [countable] [singular learner’s permit …   Useful english dictionary

  • learner's permit — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms learner s permit : singular learner s permit plural learner s permits American a provisional licence …   English dictionary

  • learner's permit — /ˈlɜnəz pɜmɪt/ (say lernuhz permit) noun → learner s licence …   Australian-English dictionary

  • learner’s permit — ➡ driving * * * …   Universalium

  • learner's permit — noun (C) AmE an official document that gives you permission to learn to drive; provisional licence BrE …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Permit — may refer to:*Permit (fish) *Various legal licenses::*License:*Work permit:*Learner s permit:*Permit to travel:*Construction permit:*Home Return Permit:*One way Permit *Permit is the common name for the Trachinotus falcatus, a type of Pompano.… …   Wikipedia

  • learner's licence — /ˈlɜnəz laɪsəns/ (say lernuhz luysuhns) noun a restricted licence to drive a motor vehicle, issued to a learner on the condition that he or she be accompanied when driving by a fully licensed driver. Also, learner s permit; Colloquial, learner s …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Drinking learner permits — Merge|alcohol abuse|date=August 2007Drinking learner permits have been proposed as a way to reduce alcohol abuse among young adults. Proponents argue that learner s permits would be analogous to driving learner permits. A person who wishes to… …   Wikipedia

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