Louisiana Graduated License Program - LA Graduated Drivers License Requirements
The graduated drivers license system in Louisiana is very similar to the graduated license requirements in other states - it features mandatory drivers education classes, an extended permit holding period and a multi-step licensing procedure for drivers who are under the age of 17. The graduated drivers license laws target teenage drivers because statistics tell us that younger drivers face higher risks of being involved in a traffic accident. The Louisiana graduated drivers license law sets a number of permit and license restrictions that were designed for correcting the flaws in teenage driving techniques.
Here is what the official Louisiana drivers handbook says about the state graduate drivers license laws:
“Teenagers not only have a higher crash rate than other age groups, their crashes are different. The combination of inexperience behind the wheel and immaturity produces a pattern of fatal crashes among 16-year-old drivers that includes the highest percentage of crashes involving speeding, single-vehicle crashes, crashes due to driver (teenager) error and occupancy. According to statistics, teenage drivers lack maturity and experience in driving. Teenagers are more willing to take risks and less likely to use safety belts. They are more likely to underestimate the dangers associated with hazardous situations and less able to cope with such dangers. With these things in mind, most states have developed a Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) in an effort to reduce teenage deaths on the highway.”
We could not agree more - when it comes to teenage drivers, there are multiple risk factors to consider in addition to the risks every new driver faces. Even though every new driver lacks driving experience and has a higher risk of being involved in a car accident, older people take steps to counteract their lack of experience - they drive slower, they pay more attention to the road and they avoid taking risks on the road. This is the reason why the Louisiana graduated drivers license law applies only to teenage drivers.
Although the Louisiana graduate drivers license system is well developed, in our opinion, it is due for an update. The current graduate license requirements were introduced in 1999 and things changed since then. The traffic conditions are becoming more requiring and additional studies conducted throughout the nation being new insights on the causes of traffic accidents. Thus, in Maryland, the graduated drivers license rules apply to drivers of all ages, not just teens. Adult drivers face less restrictions, but most of the requirements are the same.
Please remember: the Louisiana graduated driver license requirements are applicable only to drivers who are under 17 years of age. If you are 17 years of age or older, these rules do not apply to you.
Louisiana Graduated License Steps
The key mechanism of the graduated license system is breaking the licensing procedure into a number of separate steps. Instead of granting a Louisiana drivers license applicant with full driving privileges right away, the DPS makes the applicant go through a number of intermediate stages. Each stage of the program allows the driver to gain additional driving skills and experience and grants extra driving privileges. At the moment, the Louisiana graduated drivers license program consists of the following stages:
- Learners permit
- Intermediate license
- Full drivers license
This approach allows to ensure that the roads are not filled with young drivers with absolutely no driving experience. By the time the drivers license applicant receives an unrestricted drivers license, he should already have at least 40 or 50 hours of behind the wheel practice and should be able to start driving alone.
Louisiana Learners Permit
The minimum age for applying for a Louisiana learners permit is 15, but that does not mean that you cannot start the graduated license program earlier. According to the law, there are a number of things that must be done before you visit the Department of Public Safety to lodge your application.
The first thing you should do is to sign up and complete a Louisiana drivers education program. At this age, drivers ed classes are mandatory and there is no way around it, you will need to take the class either at your high school or through one of the commercial driving schools. The certificate you will receive from the school must be presented at the DPS on the day of your application.
Once you completed the drivers education class, you can visit the DPS and take a Louisiana permit test. The test covers the state driving rules, road signs and safe driving practices. If you want to see what the test will be like, you can take a Louisiana practice permit test free of charge.
When you pass the exam and receive your learners permit, you can start driving, but you must have a supervising driver accompany you at all times. This is the main learners permit restriction and it is there to ensure that you get some driving experience in a relatively safe driving environment. The supervising driver must be 21 years of age and hold a valid drivers license. The supervising driver can be 18 years of age if it's your sibling.
This stage of the graduated drivers license program lasts at least six months and you must be at least 16 years of age before you can proceed to the next step. While driving with your learners permit, you must obtain at least 35 hours of driving experience.
Louisiana Restricted Drivers License
If you satisfy the above requirements and are at least 16 years of age, you may take a Louisiana drivers test and receive an intermediate license. This license allows you to drive alone between the hours of 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. If you want to drive during the curfew hours, you will need to have a supervising driver accompany you, just like you did when you held a learners permit.
The Louisiana graduated license law requires you to observe these restrictions until you are at least 17 years of age. At this time, the restrictions are lifted and your intermediate license turns into a full unrestricted drivers license.