Teenagers in West Virginia don’t receive a driver’s license all at once. The state enforces learning to drive in stages between the ages of 15 and 17, known as the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) system. This provides teenagers with opportunities to learn to drive slowly and gradually develop expertise in more complicated situations, such as parking, heavy traffic, and highway driving.
Even when teens get permits and licenses, they must follow certain restrictions until they receive a full driver’s license.
Obtaining an Instruction Permit
Teenagers can apply for a GDL Instruction Permit Level I once they turn 15. The application process requires going to the local West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office in person.
Teens will need a valid School Driver Eligibility Certificate from the school board in your country and a specific consent form from a parent or legal guardian giving permission for the instruction permit to be issued. You also need a copy of your birth certificate and a Social Security card to apply.
Teens must pass a written driver’s test and a vision test to receive an instruction permit. Both tests are given on-site at the DMV.
Once you are issued the GDL Instruction Permit Level I, several restrictions apply:
- A licensed driver who is at least 21 must be in the right front passenger seat at all times
- You can have up to two additional non-family passengers in addition to this passenger, but not more than two
- Holders of this permit can only drive between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
You will need to show practice driving with the adult of at least 50 hours (including 10 hours of night driving) before you can apply for a Level 2 GDL Intermediate Driver’s License. A driver’s education course approved by the West Virginia Department of Education is also accepted.
Level 2 GDL Intermediate Driver’s License
Teenagers can apply for a Level 2 GDL driver’s license once they turn 16, provided they have completed the 50 hours of training referenced above.
To be issued the intermediate level license, applicants must show a minimum of 180 consecutive days (roughly six months) of driving at the permitted level with no significant time elapsed before between that and the Level 2 application. There can’t be any driving violation convictions during that time.
Applicants also need to show a current School Driver Eligibility Certificate and proof of identity and state residency.
Applicants are given a road test. If teens don’t pass the first time, they are eligible to try two more times, on separate occasions.
At this stage, teens can drive without an adult but are restricted to the hours between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
If they must drive outside of these hours, they need a supervising, licensed driver who is at least 21 years old, just as they do at Level 1.
There are some exceptions, however. If the intermediate license holder is going to work, a school-sanctioned activity, a religious activity, or an emergency that is needed to prevent physical injury or death of another person outside of the 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. period, this restriction is temporarily lifted.
In addition, for the first six months, a Level 2 GDL intermediate license holder can’t have any non-family members under 20 years of age in the car.
For the second six months, there can be one non-family member under 20 in the car (but no more than one).
Level 3 License GDL
Teens who have had a Level 2 License GDL for at least a year and are at least 17 years old are eligible to apply for a Level 3 License GDL. (They can also keep the Level 2 if they choose until they reach 18.)
The level 3 license is the full license, with no specific restrictions on the hours of operation or passengers.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
Car accidents happen to teenagers and adults alike. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it’s prudent to consult a seasoned West Virginia car accident lawyer soon, so that we may advise you of your rights, investigate the accident if necessary, and discuss a possible caser case.
Johnstone & Gabhart always offers to offer free initial consultations. Contact us today.