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West Virginia Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program for Teen Drivers

West Virginia teen driver being supervised by mom.

Charleston, WV — In West Virginia, the DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles) has a program called Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL). The purpose of this program is to help young drivers develop and practice the skills needed to drive safely and pass the requirements for a full driver’s license. There are three levels to West Virginia’s GDL program.

Level 1 – Instructional Permit (WV Learner’s Permit): Eligibility Requirements

If you are 15 years old and attend school, you are considered responsible enough to apply for the West Virginia Level 1 Instructional Permit. This permit is often referred to as a learner’s permit. The requirements for this permit include passing a written test and vision screening. The test is called a Written Knowledge Test, and its purpose is to assess a person’s knowledge of the basic rules of the road.

For example, you will be tested on traffic signs, signals, and road marks to determine if you can likely drive safely while learning how to drive. In addition, this permit requires written consent from a parent or legal guardian and a certificate issued by the county school board showing proof of school enrollment or completion.

WV Learner’s Permit Terms & Conditions

While 15-year-olds are able to drive with this permit, there are several terms and conditions that have to be followed so that all persons on the road are safe. Below are the requirements of the level 1 permit:

  • Passenger Requirements — There must always be a licensed driver who is 21 years of age or older riding in the front passenger seat.
  • Passenger Restrictions — There may not be more than 2 additional non-family passengers in addition to the supervising adult.
  • Driving Time Restrictions — Driving time is restricted to the hours between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Alcohol — As a driver under the age of 21, there is zero-tolerance for drinking and driving, and there is zero alcohol tolerance for all occupants under the age of 21.
  • Handheld Devices — All drivers are not permitted to use a cell phone or texting device while operating a vehicle.
  • Seatbelts — All occupants of the vehicle must wear a safety belt.

Level 2 – Intermediate License

West Virginia drivers at the age of 16 are eligible to take the road skills test after completing a form signed by a parent or legal guardian verifying that they have completed 50 hours of driving time, with 10 of those hours being at night. Additionally, the driver must have held a Level 1 permit for at least 6 months with no violations. Again, this driver will have to prove that they are a current student just as with the Level 1 permit.

What are the requirements of a Level 2 Intermediate Permit?

  • During the hours between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., a supervising licensed adult who is 21 or older must occupy the vehicle. During the hours between 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., a supervising adult is not required. There are exceptions to this rule, the driver may drive during the hours of 10p.m. to 5 a.m. if they are traveling to a place of employment; for a school activity; for a religious activity and an emergency situation requiring the licensee to operate a motor vehicle to prevent bodily injury or death of another
  • Level 2 drivers who receive two moving violations or violate the terms and conditions of the GDL program, will expect to see their driver’s license revoked until the age of 18 or possibly longer.
  • For the first six months of driving with this permit, the driver cannot operate the vehicle if it is occupied by anyone who is not a family member.
  • For the second six months of driving with this permit, the driver can only operate a vehicle occupying more than one non-family member.
  • As a driver under the age of 21, there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
  • All drivers are not permitted to use a cell phone or texting device while operating a vehicle.
  • All occupants of the vehicle must wear a safety belt.

Level 3 – License with Full Driving Privileges 

A person in the state of West Virginia can obtain a driver’s license at the age of 17. Again, the driver must prove current school enrollment or completion. At this stage in the program, in order to receive a driver’s license, the driver must have completed a year of driving at the second level without any violations.

Licensed drivers don’t have the same driving restrictions as those with a permit. Now that level three has been completed, the driver doesn’t have restricted driving hours and there are no restrictions on the occupants of the vehicle. Driving conditions that remain include:

  • As a driver under the age of 21, there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
  • All drivers are not permitted to use a cell phone or texting device while operating a vehicle.
  • All occupants of the vehicle must wear a safety belt.

The West Virginia DMV offers an online GDL brochure that breaks down the requirements below in a chart format. online West Virginia Driver’s Licensing Handbook that includes a list of DMV regional offices that offer driver testing and a study guide needed to pass the test for an instructional permit.

Dangers on West Virginia Roads to Look Out For & Additional Resources

Below is a list of dangers that teen drivers face in West Virginia and resources to help educate them about these dangers:

Get a Free Consultation With a West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer

We hope you and your loved ones stay safe while traveling on West Virginia roads and highways. However, if you or a loved one has been injured in a West Virginia car accident or hurt by negligence, we invite you to call one of our West Virginia personal injury lawyers for a free case evaluation.

West Law Firm is located in Charleston, West Virginia with accident attorneys who serve clients throughout the state. We offer information like this related to transportation, safety, and health in hopes that it helps support the safety and well-being of West Virginians.

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