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West Virginia Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program for Teen Drivers

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 the GDL program.

Level 1 – Instructional Permit (Learner’s Permit)

If you are 15 years old and attend school, you are considered responsible enough to apply for the 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 it’s purpose is to asses what a person’s driving knowledge, for example, questions about traffic signs, signals and road marks are included to determined if the person being tested can act safely while driving. In addition, this permit requires written consent from a parent or legal guardian and and a certificate issued by the county school board showing proof of school enrollment or completion.

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. What are the requirements of the level 1 permit?

  • There must always be a licensed driver who is 21 years of age or older riding in the front passenger seat.
  • Driving time is restricted to the hours between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • 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 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 their 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 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.


— On behalf of West Law Firm, we wish you and your teen safe driving

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