Indiana Graduated License Program - IN Graduated Drivers License Requirements
Indiana graduated drivers license program is somewhat confusing, due to the fact that there is more than one learners permit available and the requirements for these permits are different. However, once you dig into it, you find that the graduated drivers license requirements in Indiana are very similar to those in many other states and they feature the same key elements - drivers education classes, extended permit holding periods and supervised driving hours.
What is the graduated drivers license program and why do we even need it? Indiana graduated drivers license program is the answer to high accident rates among teenage drivers. Teenagers belong to a high risk group when it comes to driving for a number of reasons and lack of driving experience is probably the main one. New drivers don't have the skills required for dealing with many of the on road situations yet and thus they pose a threat to themselves and other drivers around them. The graduated drivers license system allows them an opportunity to gain that essential driving experience in a relatively safe driving environment by coupling a newly licensed Indiana learners permit holder with a more experienced and older driver who is supposed to steer the young driver clear of any potential danger.
Although lack of driving experience is dangerous by itself, you may ask a reasonable question - why not apply the same rules and learners permit restrictions to older drivers who just get their licenses, since they got just as few driving hours up their sleeve. The reason why older drivers don't have to meet the same requirements is because they are usually able to predict the consequences of their actions and avoid risky behavior behind the wheel. Teens, on the other hand, don't always do this and that's why the drivers license requirements are different for teens and adults.
Indiana Graduated Drivers License Stages
If you are going through the Indiana graduated driver license program, you won't be able to apply for a full Indiana drivers license right away and you will have to go through a number of consecutive stages. Each next stage of the program gives you additional driving privileges, but you cannot graduate to the next stage until you fulfill the requirements of the stage you are currently on. At the moment, the Indiana graduated license features the following level:
- Drivers education learners permit
- Learners permit
- Probationary license
- Full drivers license
Depending on your age, you may enter the graduated drivers license program either at the drivers education permit stage or the learners permit stage. If you start by obtaining a drivers education learners permit and then fail the permit requirements for this stage, you will have to start the application procedure for a learners permit from the beginning.
Please remember: all Indiana graduated drivers license rules and requirements apply only to those who are under 18 years of age. If you are 18 years old or older, you don't have to observe these requirements.
Indiana Drivers Education Learners Permit
You can apply for a drivers education learners permit as soon as you are 15 years and 6 months old, provided you are enrolled in an Indiana drivers education class. Once you are enrolled in the course and have your certificate of drivers education - CDE, you can visit a local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office and apply for your permit. At this stage, you will only need to take a vision test and provide the required documents, such as proof of identification, proof of birth date, Indiana residency and your Social Security Number. Once you get your drivers ed permit, you will need to go to the driving school you signed up with and finish the drivers education class. Until you finish the class and get your permit validated at the BMV, you can drive only while being supervised by your parents (provided they hold a valid drivers license) or your driving instructor. Under no circumstances you are to drive alone. Once the drivers education class is finished and your drivers ed permit is validated by the BMV, you can drive under the supervision of any licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.
According to the graduated drivers license rules, you have to hold your drivers ed permit for at least 180 days and be at least 16 years, 180 days old in order to be able to proceed to the next step - the probationary license. You don't have to apply for a regular learners permit if you have a valid drivers education permit.
Some of the drivers education classes allow you to take a road skills drivers test as part of your class. If this is the case, you will not have to take a driving test at the BMV. You still have to take a knowledge permit test though and if you fail the knowledge test, the BMV will have you take both the knowledge and the driving tests before you are issued with a probationary license. If you want to make sure that you pass the knowledge test the first time you take it, study hard and take some Indiana practice permit tests before you go in for the real thing.
If you drop out or fail your drivers education course, your drivers education permit is canceled and you have to start the process again by applying for an Indiana learners permit.
Indiana Learners Permit
The minimum age for applying for an Indiana learners permit is 16. In order to get a learners permit, you will have to visit a BMV office, provide the same documents as for a drivers education permit, apart from the CDE, and take an Indiana permit test. Once you pass the test, you get your permit and you can start driving, provided there is a parent, legal guardian or any other licensed driver who is at least 21 years old seated next to you at all times.
The learners permit must be held for at least 180 days and the applicant must be at least 16 years, 270 days old in order to be eligible for a probationary license.
Indiana Probationary License
The graduated drivers license law states that drivers under the age of 18 cannot be issued with a full drivers license and have to obtain a probationary license first. In order to be eligible for a probationary license, you have to fulfill the requirements of the previous stages of the graduated drivers license program and pass both the knowledge and drivers tests (those who already took a driving test as part of the drivers education course may not have to take it again). You can read more about the required testing in the official Indiana driver handbook.
A new supervised driving hours requirement was added to Indiana graduated license program on July 01, 2010. From this date on, both the Indiana drivers education permit and regular learners permit holders must complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving, with 10 hours completed at night. You will not be eligible for a provisional license until you complete these driving hours.
While driving on your probationary license, you will need to observe the following restrictions:
- Passenger restrictions. For the first 90 days, no passengers are allowed to be in the vehicle unless a supervising driver who is at least 21 years old is present in the front seat.
- Seat belts. Everyone in the vehicle operated by a probationary license holder must wear a seat belt.
Failure to observe these restrictions will result in a large fine and suspension of your driving privileges. The restrictions will be removed once you reach the age of 18.