Minnesota Graduated License Program
The graduated driver's license law (GDL) compliments the existing driver's license program by introducing a provisional license stage for teen drivers. It consists of a multi-tiered program, designed to ease young novice drivers into the driving environment.
- An applicant, who is 18 and not previously licensed, must hold an instruction permit for six months before taking a skills exam. Applicants that are 19+ must hold an instruction permit for three months before taking a skills exam.
- A person who does not pass the driving exam 4 times must complete a minimum of six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction with a licensed instructor before taking the skills exam again.
The GDL Program includes 3 phases of licensing for persons under 18 years old
Phase I - Instruction Permit Qualification:
- Must be at least 15 years old
- Must have completed the appropriate amount of classroom instruction and be enrolled in behind-the-wheel instruction.
- Must pass vision and knowledge written exam, complete application and pay the required fee.
- Parent or legal guardian's signature and certification required on application.
Permit holder may drive under the supervision of a certified driving instructor, parent or guardian or other licensed driver 21 years or older. Every occupant must wear a properly fastended seat belt or use a properly fastened child restraint system. The driver with an instruction permit may not use or talk on a cellular phone while driving. It is illegal to practice driving without a valid instruction permit. The permit must be in immediate possession.
Phase II- Provisional License
The provisional license is the next phase of GDL. If you are 18 or younger, you must hold an instruction permit for at least 6 months before taking a skills exam. When you have passed the driving exam, you may apply for your provisional license. To qualify for your provisional license you must:
- Be at least 16 years of age
- Have completed the classroom and behind-the-wheel phases of National Driver Training's Online Teen Minnesota Driver's Ed program.
- Have held an instruction permit for 6 months with no convictions for moving or alcohol/controlled-substance violations.
- Present a supervised driving log verifying that they have driven under the supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years of age, for not less than 50 hours, with at least 15 night hours.
- Have passed the driving exam.
- Complete a license application and pay the required fee.
- Have your parent, court appointed guardian, county appointed foster parent or director of the transitional living program in which you reside approve the driver's license application.
Every occupant should wear a properly fastened seat belt or use a properly fastened child restraint system. Drivers with provisional licenses may not use or talk on a cellular phone while driving. A provisional license is valid for 2 years.
Phase III- Full License
- Must be at least 18 years old, OR have held a provisional license for at least 1 year with no convictions for alcohol/controlled substance violations or crash-related moving violations and no more than one conviction for a moving violation that is not crash-related.
- Must complete application and pay required fee.
- If under 18, the person who approved the application certifies that the applicant has driven under the supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years old for no fewer than 10 hours on the provisional license.
- This "Full License" expires on the 21st birthday.
What is the Parent's Role in Helping to Create Safe Teen Drivers?
Parents should continue to monitor and train teen drivers throughout the entire process of Graduated Driver Licensing. Teens will need supervised exposure in a wide variety of driving conditions/environments. Parents need to encourage teens to speak up when they do not feel comfortable when driving or riding with others. It is important to ensure that the teen is comfortable and confident about communicating with other passengers about buckling up, slowing down, and stopping all distractions. Be a positive role model. Pay attention and don't drive aggressively.
To qualify to take a road skills exam, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Have completed National Driver Training's Online Teen Minnesota Driver's Ed program and have the white course completion card.
- Hold an instruction permit for at least 6 months with no convictions for moving violations or alcohol/controlled substance violations.
- Present a supervised driving log verifying that the teen has driven under the supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years old, for not less than 50 hours, with 15 of those hours at night.
- Have your parent, guardian, county appointed foster parent in which you reside approve the driver's license application.