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California Drivers License Restrictions

California Drivers License Restrictions

Depending on the type of a drivers license that you currently hold, certain California drivers license restrictions may apply to it. This particularly concerns drivers under the age of 18 who must observe all California provisional driver's license restrictions for at least 12 months or until they reach the age of 18, whatever comes first. Apart from provisional license restrictions, other California driver license restrictions may limit your ability to operate a vehicle under certain conditions. For example, a very common type of a restriction is a bioptic lens restriction that requires you to wear glasses or contact lenses while driving.

California Drivers License Restriction Codes

Unfortunately, we were unable to locate a list of the California driver's license restriction codes, so if you are trying to find what a specific code means, you should turn to the California Department of Motor Vehicle and they will decipher the code for you. The most common restrictions that are placed on California driver licenses are the bioptic lens and daytime driving only. These are placed onto your drivers license if you fail the vision exam at the DMV during your California drivers permit test. In order to pass the vision exam, you must have visual acuity better than 20/200 in at least one eye without the use of a bioptic telescopic lens or similar bioptic device.

California Provisional Drivers License Restrictions

Provisional license restrictions are part of the California graduated drivers license program and it's just a small portion of the measures that were devised to keep teen drivers safe during their first years of driving. Most teenagers are under the impression that once they pass the California drivers license test, they get a full driver's license and can do whatever they want on the road. This is not exactly true, the drivers license that is issued to drivers under age of 18 is marked as a provisional drivers license and it comes with the following restrictions:

  • Curfew. No driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Passenger restrictions. You cannot transport any passengers under the age of 20.

These driver's license restrictions do not apply if you have a parent/legal guardian present in the vehicle.

Note how these license restrictions are different from the California permit restrictions that you had to observe while driving under the California drivers permit. The main difference is that while operating under a learner's permit, you are not allowed any unsupervised driving whatsoever, while California provisional license restrictions merely limits your ability to drive alone to when it's safe to do so.

Exceptions to California Provisional License Restrictions

In certain situations, the need to travel is greater than the danger this traveling may cause and the DMV recognizes this fact. That's why you are allowed to break the provisional license restrictions, provided the following conditions are met:

  • Medical necessity when reasonable transportation facilities are inadequate. You must carry a signed statement from your doctor stating the diagnosis and the probable date the necessity will end.
  • Schooling or school-authorized activities when reasonable transportation facilities are inadequate. You must carry a statement signed by the school principal, dean or a staff person authorized by the principal or dean, indicating when the schooling or school-authorized activity will be completed.
  • Necessity of family member including yourself, when adequate transportation facilities are unavailable and you need personal transportation or to transport a family member. You must carry a signed statement by a parent/legal guardian verifying the reason you must drive and the probable date the necessity will end.
  • Emancipated minor If you have filed documents with DMV to show you are emancipated and have filed either an SR-1P or SR 22 as required by law, you are not held to the provisional driving restrictions. It may be a good idea to carry proof of your emancipated status with you.

In all other cases, you must observe your driver's license restrictions are all times. Restrictions will be automatically lifted in 12 months or when you turn 18, whichever comes first. You do not need to exchange your drivers license at that point.