Florida Graduated License - FL Graduated Driver's License Program
Florida was one of the first states in the country that recognized the dangers faced by teenage drivers on the road. According to the statistics, the crash rate for 16 year old drivers is 15 times that of drivers who have more than 4 years of driving experience. Florida graduated license system was developed in order to reduce the mortality among teenage drivers and went into effect in 1996. Results speak for themselves - in 1997 Florida saw a 9% reduction in fatalities and injury crashes for teenage drivers aged 15 to 17 years old. This fact clearly proves the necessity of the graduated drivers license system.
The graduated license requirements apply to individuals who choose to obtain a Florida driver's license before they turn 18. License applicants who are over 18 years of age are not subjected to the graduated license laws.
Florida Graduated Drivers License Stages
The GDL system is Florida is very similar to that in many other states. The program contains 3 essential steps, each one with its own requirements and restrictions. Teenagers proceed to the next level only after completing all requirements of the previous stage. The system reduces the crash risks for the drivers and allows them to gain the essential driving experience in a relatively safe driving environment.
The main stages of graduated drivers license system in Florida are:
- Learners permit
- Intermediate license
- Unrestricted driver's license
You can enter the graduate license program when you turn 15 - the minimum age for applying for a Florida learner's permit.
1. Florida drivers permit
The first step in the application process is completion of a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse program. The course will educate you on the subject of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, provide you with a basic overview of the Florida traffic rules and teach you the basics you will need in order to pass your Florida driver's permit test.
Once you are done with the course, completed the permit test and a vision exam, you receive your learner's permit. The permit comes with numerous restrictions, the main one being that you must always have another licensed driver supervising you at all times.
You must hold your learners permit for at least 12 months and pass a road skills test before you can proceed to the next stage of the graduated license program - provisional drivers license.
2. Florida Provisional License
The provisional license can be issued to applicants who are at least 16 years old and fulfilled the requirements for the first step of the graduated drivers license program. While the restricted license allows you to drive unsupervised, it still comes with certain restrictions that won't be lifted until you turn 18. Traffic convictions during this stage may result in the loss of the driving privilege.
3. Unrestricted license
Unrestricted Florida drivers license can be issued only to applicants who are at least 18 years old. Once a provisional license holder reaches the age of 18, the graduated license restrictions are removed from the provisional license and it is upgraded to a full license.
Graduated License Restrictions
Restrictions that are part of the Florida graduated license system can be divided into two groups - restrictions that apply to the learner's permit and restrictions that apply to the provisional license. Florida driver's permit restrictions include:
- Supervised driving only. You must have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old seated next to you at all times while you are operating a vehicle.
- Curfew. Daylight driving only during the first three months after receiving the permit.
- No traffic offenses. If you are convicted of a traffic offense, you will have to wait at least 12 months from the conviction date before you can apply for the intermediate license. Serious offense will result in your permit cancellation.
Restrictions that apply to the intermediate license depend on your age. If you are 16 to 17 years old and hold a provisional license you cannot operate a vehicle between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. If you are 17 to 18 years old you cannot drive from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. If you want to drive during these hours, you must have a supervising driver present in the vehicle.
If you want more information on the graduated license restriction, please refer to the official Florida driver's manual, it is the most detailed and up to date source of driving related information.
Drivers Education Classes
Drivers who are subject to the graduated driver's license program have to complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse course prior to applying for a drivers permit, however, you do not have to limit yourself to this course. If you want to take a more advanced and comprehensive class, you may sign up for one of the Florida driver's education course. Most of the courses also include practice permit tests, so they will come in handy when you take your permit exam at the DHSMV.