Provisional Driver’s Licenses

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Because teens are so highly over-represented in traffic crashes, the law requires young drivers to spend more time behind the wheel gaining the experience needed for safe driving. Teens must hold an instruction permit for six months before applying for a provisional license. During this time, they must log 50 hours of adult-supervised driving practice.

Because night-time driving poses a greater risk for teens, the instruction permit period requires 10 of the 50 hours of practice to occur during darkness. The law also restricts late-night driving during the first year of a provisional license.

Because the risk for teen passengers is greater with teen drivers, the law restricts under-age-20 passengers for the first year of a provisional license, until the teen gains more driving experience.

  Provisional License


Provisional Driver’s License Restrictions – You must be accompanied and supervised by a license parent, guardian or other licensed driver 25 years of age or older or a licensed or certified driving instructor when you:
  • Transport passengers under 20 years of age at any time for the first 12 months.
  • Drive between 11pm and 5 am for the first twelve months

Exceptions to Restrictions – When reasonable transportation is not available and it is necessary for you to drive, the grants the following exceptions for minors to drive between 11 pm and 5 am or to transport an immediate family member unaccompanied and unsupervised.

The law requires that you must carry a note explaining why you must drive and when the necessity will end.  Only following reasons are acceptable:

  • Medical Necessity – The note must be signed by your physician and contain a diagnosis and probable date when recovery will end your need to drive.
  • School or School-Authorized Activities – The note must be signed by your school principal, dean, or their designee and include a reason for the activity and the date when the activity will end.
  • Employment Necessity – The note must be signed by your employer and verify employment and the date your employment will end.
  • Immediate Need of Family Member – The note must be signed by your parent or legal guardian and include the reason and date the necessity will end.
  • Emancipated Minor – No documentation is needed, however you must have already declared yourself emancipated by completing a DMV form and by providing Proof of Financial Responsibility (SR 1P) in lieu of your guarantors’ signatures when you applied for an instructional permit.


Provisional Licsense Restrictions (PDF)

California DMV

AAA Califorina

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