Missouri Graduated License Program - MO Graduated Drivers License Requirements
The Missouri Department of Revenue takes the matter of traffic safety very seriously and that is why the state has developed its own version of a graduated drivers license system. Missouri graduated drivers license laws apply to everyone who chooses to apply for a drivers license before the age of 18. In Missouri, the graduate drivers license works by dividing the licensing procedure into a number of steps as opposed to granting teens the full driving privileges right away. The system also mandates that teenage drivers complete at least 40 hours of supervised driving instruction with parents or a professional driving instructor before the drivers license is issued.
Most of the teen drivers think that it is unfair that they have to go through so many additional steps before achieving a Missouri drivers license and we wanted to make it clear why the graduated license laws were developed and introduced. Studies made across the nation show that teens have the highest risk of having a traffic accident among all drivers. Car accidents is also a number one cause of death for people between 15 and 20 years of age. Statistics show that deaths and serious injuries from traffic crashes involving young drivers decline by as much as 58% after a graduated drivers license program is implemented. This means that the graduated drivers license laws save hundreds if not thousands of lives every year, which is a great success.
One can argue that similar measures should be taken towards older drivers as well and one may be right. However, development and introduction of such laws and restrictions takes a long time and Missouri graduated license system is still young. Quite possibly, in some years we shall see similar requirements presented before drivers license applicants of all ages as it is done throughout many European countries. Until then, remember that the Missouri graduated drivers license law applies only to drivers who are under 18 years of age. If you are 18 or older, you don't have to observe these license requirements.
Missouri Graduated License Stages
According to the Missouri graduated license law, drivers under the age of 18 have to go through a number of steps before they achieve a full drivers license. This approach allows new licensees to gain some driving experience while being supervised by a more experienced driver or a licensed driving instructor prior to getting out on the road alone. The graduated license system in Missouri features the following key steps:
- Learners permit
- Intermediate drivers license
- Full drivers license
The driver must fulfill all requirements of the previous stage prior to graduating to the next level. Conquering each step of the system grants the licensee additional driving privileges, which slowly leads to achieving a full unrestricted drivers license.
In order to prevent young drivers from committing the most common mistakes and ensure a safe distraction-free environment, the state employs a number of drivers permit restrictions. Restrictions usually limit the number of passengers that can be present in the vehicle and forbid nighttime driving.
Missouri Learners Permit
Applying for a learners permit is the first step of the graduated drivers license. The minimum age when you can apply for a permit is 15. The state requires you to take a number of tests, such as a Missouri permit test that covers the traffic rules and road signs and a vision exam. Since more than a half of all first time applicants fail the learners permit test the first time they take it, it might be a good to start preparing for the test early. When you think you've learned enough, take a free Missouri practice permit test. If your score is well over 80%, you should be good to take the real exam.
When you pass the required tests and receive your Missouri learners permit, you can start driving while being supervised by another licensed driver. If you are under the age of 16, the supervising driver must be your parent, legal guardian or a professional driving instructor. Those who are 16 years old or older can be supervised by any licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age.
During this stage of the graduated license program you are required to complete at least 40 hours of driving with your parents, 10 of these hours must be done at night time. All passengers must wear seat belts. Although the state does not require you to complete any additional driver safety classes, you may wish to look into taking a Missouri drivers education course. The courses are guaranteed to make you a safer driver and some of them also include professional driving lessons.
The learners permit must be held for at least 182 days and you must be at least 16 years old before you can proceed to the next step - intermediate drivers license. You can't have any traffic violations during this stage, if you receive a violation, the holding period is reset.
Missouri Intermediate License
An intermediate drivers license can be issued to applicants who are 16-17 years of age and you already fulfilled the requirements of the previous graduated license stage. Before you can swap your learners permit for an intermediate license, you have to take a Missouri drivers test. The examiner will check how well you handle the vehicle and whether you are good enough to be allowed on the road without a supervising driver. If you pass the test, you are granted an intermediate license.
While your intermediate drivers license allows you to drive alone, you still have to observe the following restrictions:
- No more than one passenger under the age of 19 for the first six months.
- No more than three passengers under the age of 19 after the first six months.
- Curfew. No driving alone between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions can be made if you are traveling to and from school related activity, if traveling is associated with your employment or if it's an emergency situation. In all other cases, you must have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age seated next to you.
- Seat belts. Everyone present in the vehicle must wear a safety belt.
You can read more about the intermediate license restrictions in the Missouri drivers manual. You can grab a copy of the manual at one of the DOR offices or download it online.
You will need to hold your intermediate license until you turn 18. At this age, you can visit one of the DOR offices and apply for a full unrestricted drivers license.
Missouri Drivers License
Once you reach the age of 18, all graduated license restrictions are lifted from your license and you can obtain a full Missouri driver license. Although this license won't have any restrictions placed on it, it will still be marked as a minor's license for identification purposes. You can exchange it for a normal license when you are at least 21 years old.