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Your driver’s license is so close you can almost taste it. You can envision the freedom of the open road, with the radio up and the windows down… but for now, your learner’s permit is your best friend (along with whichever 21-year old licensed driver you can find to accompany you on your journeys).

But, before you can receive your driver’s license, you must get your learner’s permit. 

Who Can Get a Learner's Permit?

Before you can start driving with your 21-year old licensed driver (or parent), you must receive a learner’s permit. 

Each state has their own learner's permit requirements, though they are fairly similar. For instance, if you live in the Sunshine State, you would need to find out Florida’s specific requirements. So before you’re ready to head over to the DMV, you must meet the Florida learner's permit rules below:

Age Requirement 

To apply for a Florida learner’s permit, you must be between 15 and 18. If you’re above 18, you get to skip the learner's permit and apply for a Class E driver’s license

Enroll in Drug and Alcohol Course

Learner's permit requirements also entail completing a four-hour drug and alcohol course that covers everything from traffic laws, dangers from DUI, safe driving techniques and other important topics for new drivers The online training is known both as the Drug, Alcohol and Traffic Awareness (DATA) course or a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course. Don’t worry about the four hours - you don’t need to complete the course in one sitting! You can Sign up for the DATA Course at FirstTimeDriver.com. One you’re done, all online course providers will notify your completion to the FLHSMV.

Pass Vision and Hearing Tests

Before receiving your learner’s permit, you also must pass a vision and hearing tests at a FLHSMV location. If you don’t have perfect vision or hearing, don’t worry - you can use glass, contact lenses, or hearing aids to pass.  

If you fail the test, you can always retake it again if you need stronger prescription lenses or hearing devices.

Complete Florida Learner's Permit Test  

After all the other learner's permit requirements are fulfilled, you’re ready to take the Florida learner’s permit test, also known as the Class E Knowledge Exam. To pass, you must get at least an 80% or 40 of the 50 multiple-choice questions covering Florida traffic and state laws, traffic controls and safe driving practices correct to pass. 

You can either take the exam online, or in person at a FLHSMV location. You can also see if your high school offers a Driver Education Licensing Assistance Program, where you can also take the test. 

Looking to study for the test? Everything you need to know is in the Official Florida Driver License Handbook. You can also enroll in a permit prep course or practice with a free DMV permit test to help you prepare.

Required Documents For your Learner’s Permit 

Pass the exam? Congratulations!  Before you visit a FLHSMV location to receive your learner’s permit, remember to bring these required documents: 

  • Proof of identification (U.S. passport, original birth certificate, or a state-issued copy of your birth certificate)
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Two proofs of residential address
  • FLHSMV parent proctoring form (if you took the exam online)
  • FLHSMV parental consent form (if you’re under 18)

Important Rules that Driver's with a Learner's Permit Must Follow

Now that you have your Florida driving permit, are one step closer to receiving your driver’s license! If you’re thinking, “I passed my permit test now what , there are important Florida learner's permit rules you must follow:

  • Whenever you are driving, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver in the front passenger seat that must be 21 years of age or older.
  • For the first 3 months after the date you received your permit, you can only drive between sunrise and sunset.
  • After the first 3 months, you may drive between the hours of 6:00 am and 10:00 pm.

Disregarding learner's permit rules can get you in trouble with state laws and further delay the wait to receive your drivers license. 

Driving Out of State with a Learner's Permit

Whether you just received your learner’s permit, or are the parent of a new owner of one, you probably are wondering: Where can you drive with a learner's permit?

It’s a tricky question, as states make their own laws regarding drivers with permits, and drivers must abide by the laws of the state they’re traveling in, not the one in which they received their learner’s permit.

For example, 14-year-old drivers are eligible for a learner’s permit in Wyoming, but just next door in Colorado drivers must be 15. So, a teen driver with a driving permit crossing from Wyoming to Colorado would, in fact, be breaking the law. 

But let’s focus on Florida. It’s technically possible to drive out-of-state on a Florida learner’s permit. Georgia, the closest state to drive to, happens to have the same rules, so if you’re abiding by Florida’s rules and cross over to Georgia, you’re good to go.

But again, other states differ. For example, let’s say you’re 15 and you fly up to New York to visit a 21-year old sibling who allows you to drive their car while they ride shotgun. All good, right? Wrong. New York says you must be 16 to drive, so despite what Florida says, you’re breaking the law in New York. Worse yet? The excuse, "I thought my learner’s permit was valid everywhere,” is unlikely to pass muster with the police officer. As a responsible driver, it’s up to you to know the laws of the state you’re traveling in. So, you’ll likely receive a ticket, which may then jeopardize your driving privileges in Florida (yes, state ticketing systems are connected and Florida will find out). This could ultimately slow the driver’s license waiting period.

Receiving your driver’s license is a momentous occasion; don’t do anything to put it at risk. If you plan to drive out of state, do you research. Ignorance is not an excuse; after all, the laws of each state are just a Google search away. Better yet, check the official DMV.org site. There, you’ll find an interactive map that allows you to select the state you’ll be traveling in, which will then provide a detailed list of all the laws and restrictions of that particular state so you can drive (or not) with confidence.

Want to speak with a real person? Call ahead of your travels and talk with someone from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, Sheriff's Department, or Highway Patrol.

If you have further legal questions, or if you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident while driving on a learner’s permit, contact the professionals at Lowman Law Firm today to discuss your situation—and be safe out there, new drivers!

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