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Kansas Graduated License Program - KS Graduated Drivers License Requirements

Kansas Graduated Drivers License

Kansas has its own version of the graduated drivers license system which was updated in January 2010. Please remember that if you received a learners permit or drivers license before that date, the changes that were introduced into the Kansas graduated drivers license program do not apply to you and you must follow the procedures that were in place before that date. The graduated driver's license program targets drivers under the age of 18 and utilizes permit restrictions, drivers education classes and supervised driving as means to increasing the safety of young drivers.

In order to understand the graduated license requirements, we have to learn what the graduated license laws really are and why do we even need them.

The graduated drivers license program of any state is a number of laws, restrictions and requirements that concern only drivers below a certain age, which can be anything from 17 to 21. The GDL restrictions and requirements are based on multiple studies of teenage driving habits that were conducted all over the country and they are called upon to correct the behavioral flaws that are attributed to teenage drivers.

You may ask yourself why teenagers are treated differently from other Kansas drivers license applicants and this is a good question. The reason why teenage drivers have to go through so many additional steps before they can get a drivers license is the fact that teenage drivers have the highest crash rates among drivers of all other age groups. Lack of driving experience is an important contributor to this fact, but it is not the only one. If lack of driving experience was the only thing to blame, those who apply for a drivers license after they turn 18 should have the same chance of having a traffic accident as younger drivers, and we are not observing this. The reason why this happens is because older drivers are usually able to recognize the shortcomings of their driving ability and take actions that compensate for these shortcomings - they drive slower, pay more attention to the road and stay alert at all times. Teenagers, on the other hand, rarely treat driving seriously and tend to overestimate their driving skills. In addition to this, teens are much less likely to use safety precautions such as seat belts, so have higher chances or sustaining serious bodily damages should an accident happen.

In order to address these issues, the state has developed a number of requirements and restrictions that target teenage drivers and these requirements came to be known as Kansas graduated drivers license laws. You have to remember that if you are 18 years of age or older, the graduated driver license rules and requirements don't apply to you and you can obtain a drivers license through a simplified application procedure.

Graduated Drivers License Stages

In order to allow teenagers sufficient time for gaining driving experience and honing their driving skills, the licensing procedure is divided into a number of steps or phases. As the applicant proceeds through these stages, he/she gains additional driving privileges, up until the point when a full license is attained. You can obtain more information about the process from the official Kansas driver handbook.

At the moment, the graduated driver license system in Kansas has the following stages:

  1. Instruction permit
  2. Restricted drivers license
  3. Unrestricted drivers license

The restricted drivers license stage can be divided into two separate phrases, the initial phase that contains more restrictions and the second phase that contains less restrictions.

Kansas Learners Permit

The minimum age for receiving an instruction permit is 14. You will need to visit one of the drivers license testing sites and take a vision test as well as the Kansas permit test. The permit test covers the driving rules and traffic signs and you need to get a score of 80% or above in order to pass. If you want to see what the test will be like, you can try yourself against the Kansas permit practice test.

Parental approval is a must for those who apply for the Kansas drivers permit before the age of 16. The graduated license law mandates that minors cannot be issued with a learners permit unless their parent or legal guardian signs the application form.

There is a way for you to avoid taking a learners permit test at the testing center. In order to be exempt from testing, you will need to complete a state-approved Kansas drivers education course and present a certificate of completion at the time of your application for a permit. Completion of a drivers education class will also allow you to get a restricted license a little sooner, at the age of 15, while those who choose not to complete the class will have to wait until they are at least 16 years of age.

Once you have a learners permit, you can start driving, provided you observe the following Kansas permit restrictions:

  • No driving alone. You must have a licensed driver at least 18 years of age accompany you at all times while you are driving. The supervising driver must have at least one year of driving experience.
  • No cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone or any other communication device while driving.
  • Seat belts for everyone. Everyone present in the vehicle operated by a permit holder must wear a seat belt.

You must hold a learners permit for at least 12 months before you can take a Kansas drivers test.

One of the Kansas graduated license requirements is that every teenage driver must complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice, with 10 hours done at nighttime. In order for the driving hours to count towards this requirement, the supervising driver must be at least 21 years of age.

Kansas Restricted Drivers License

The minimum age for applying for a restricted drivers license in Kansas is 15, however in order to be eligible to do so, you must already have completed a drivers education class, at least 25 hours of supervised driving and have held a learners permit for 12 months without being convicted of a moving violation or being involved in a traffic accident. If choose to avoid going through drivers ed, the minimum age at which you can receive a restricted license becomes 16 and you must complete all 50 hours of supervised driving prior to taking a drivers license test.

If you are 15 to 16 years of age and hold a restricted drivers license, you must observe the following restrictions:

  • Driving alone only to or from work and school. If you want to drive somewhere else, you must have a licensed driver at least 18 years of age to accompany you.
  • No cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone, neither hands-free nor hand-held, while driving with a learners permit.
  • Passenger restrictions. You cannot transport any passengers who are not members of your immediate family.

By the time you turn 16, you must complete all 50 hours of supervised driving. At the age of 16, the restricted license holders must observe the following license restrictions:

  • Driving alone. Allowed only between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. If you need to travel during the curfew hours, you must have a licensed driver at least 18 years of age supervise you.
  • No cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone or any other communication device while driving.
  • Passenger restrictions. No more than one passenger who is under the age of 18 and is not member or the driver's immediate family can be present in the vehicle.

These restrictions will be lifted once the driver reaches the age of 17 or when the driver holds a restricted license for at least six months without any moving violations, whichever comes first.

Drivers Education Classes

As you may have already noticed, drivers education classes play an important role in the Kansas graduated license system. Although the class is not mandatory and you can complete the application process without taking the class, the GDL system strongly encourages everyone to take drivers education classes.