Mississippi Graduated Drivers License
As traffic conditions around the country become more congested, most states recognize the need for additional measures that would improve traffic safety. The graduated drivers license system that was recently introduced in Mississippi is one of such measures. The Mississippi graduate drivers license targets drivers under 18 years of age and utilizes additional license and permit restrictions for safeguarding young drivers. Recent changes to the Mississippi graduated drivers license law also raised the minim age for obtaining a drivers license.
First, let's look at the reason that motivated the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to develop and enforce the graduated license system so we can better understand the requirements that are presented before young drivers.
If you look at the statistics that were collected both throughout the nation and specifically in Mississippi, you will notice the fact that drivers who just got a drivers license are very likely to be involved in a traffic accident. Thus, one in every five drivers either receive a traffic ticket or are involved in a car accident during their first year of driving. Mostly this happens due to the fact that drivers who just got their first Mississippi drivers license simply don't have much driving experience and experience is everything when it comes to driving. There are things you can learn in a classroom, during a driving lesson with a professional instructor, but in order for you to learn how to apply these things, you need hundreds of hours of driving experience. In fact, there is no such thing as too much driving experience. Seasoned drivers learn to anticipate trouble and are constantly applying defensive driving tactics while driving. Drivers who just got licensed don't have these skills yet and this is where the drivers license and permit restrictions kick in. The restrictions were intended to discourage new drivers from driving in complex traffic conditions until they gain the required skills
You may have noticed a statement a little earlier that the Mississippi graduated drivers license law applies only to teenage drivers. At this point, you may be asking yourself why are teenagers treated differently from older drivers? If you got your drivers license yesterday, it means you have one day of driving experience, no matter how old you are. So why have teenagers go through all these additional steps and let older drivers skip them?
It turns out that teenagers are much more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than drivers of other age groups. In fact, teenage drivers have the highest crash rates and traffic accidents in the number one cause of death for people between 15 and 20 years of age. The difference between teenagers and older drivers is that older drivers usually recognize the shortcomings of their driving skills, while teens tend to overestimate their driving ability. Studies show us that teens are much more likely to take risks while driving and are less likely to use safety precautions, such as wearing a seat belt. In order to compensate for this, an additional set of restrictions and requirements were developed specifically for drivers under 18 years of age and that is what the Mississippi graduated drivers license program is.
Remember: if you are 18 years of age or older, the Mississippi graduated license law does not apply for you and you may obtain your drivers license through a simplified application procedure. Check out the Mississippi drivers handbook for details on applying for a drivers license when you are an adult.
Mississippi Graduated License Stages
In order to ensure that young drivers have enough time to develop safe driving habits and to acquire as much driving experience as possible, the licensing procedure is divided into a number of steps. As the student proceeds through these steps, he learns new things about driving and is gradually given more driving privileges. At the moment, the state graduated license program has the following stages:
- Instruction permit
- Intermediate drivers license
- Full drivers license
You can enter the program on your fourteenth birthday, provided you sign up for a Mississippi drivers education class. Drivers education is only required if you want to apply for a temporary learners permit at the age of 14, it is not mandatory for students who are over 15 years of age. Your temporary instruction permit is issued only for the purpose of completing a drivers ed program and you can only use it when there is a certified drivers education instructor present in the vehicle. Once you reach the age of 15, you will exchange your temporary permit for a regular instruction permit.
Mississippi Learners Permit
The minimum age for obtaining a regular learners permit is 15. At this age, you can visit one of the drivers license testing facilities and take the Mississippi permit test that covers the state driving rules, road signs and safe driving practices. If you would like to see what questions are asked on the real permit test, you can try a few Mississippi practice permit tests that use similar wording and cover the same topics as the real exam.
Your parents must be present at the DPS office at the time of your application as they must co-sign the application form. Furthermore, you must obtain a school certification form from your high school, stating that you are currently attending high school and have a good attendance record. The form must be issued no earlier than 30 days prior to the application date.
Once you pass the test and obtain your Mississippi drivers permit, you can start practicing driving. You were issued with a learners permit for the purpose of obtaining some driving experience and there are certain permit restrictions that you need to observe. You are not allowed to drive alone and must have another licensed driver accompany you whenever you are behind the wheel. The supervising driver must hold a valid Mississippi drivers license and be at least 21 years of age.
You must hold your learners permit for at least 12 months before you can take a Mississippi drivers test. Although there are no minimum required hours that must be completed before you can take the drivers license test, try to get as many hours as possible. The graduated license laws in other states require students to complete at least 40-50 hours of driving and that is just the minimum, no one is preventing you from doing more hours.
Once these graduated license requirements are met, you are at least 16 years of age, have held your Mississippi learners permit for at least 12 months and passed the drivers license test, you are issued with an intermediate drivers license.
Mississippi Intermediate Drivers License
Obtaining an intermediate drivers license is the second step of the Mississippi graduated drivers license process. While your intermediate driver license allows unsupervised driving, you must still observe the following restrictions:
Curfew. You are not allowed to drive alone between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. If you want to drive during these hours, you must have a supervising driver seated next to you. The requirements presented before the supervising driver are the same as for supervising a learners permit holder.
An intermediate license must be held for at least six months before you can exchange it for a full unrestricted drivers license. At this step of the graduated license program, the DPS wants you to demonstrate that you learned safe driving techniques and are able to apply them while driving alone. This is why it is very important that you are not convicted of a moving violation or are involved in an at-fault traffic accident. In such cases, the holding period for your intermediate license is extended by another six months. The DPS also reserves the right to suspend or cancel your driving privileges during the intermediate license stage.