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Tennessee Learners Permit

Tennessee Learners Permit

Tennessee learners permit, sometimes also referred to the PD drivers license, is the primary document that allows you to get behind the wheel and start your driving lessons. However, you must always remember that the Tennessee learners permit comes with certain restrictions that you have to observe at all times.

Graduated Drivers License

Tennessee learners permit is part of the graduated drivers license system, the system that targets teenage drivers license applicants and aims at reducing the number of driving-related fatalities among teenagers. Although the GDL laws in other states may vary from the Tennessee version, the key elements always remain the same - the licensing procedure is broken up into many steps, each step bringing the teenage license applicant to the new level of driving skill. The learners permit and its permit restrictions are the essential parts of the GDL system as they reduce the main risk factors - lack of experience and failure to correctly judge the situation on the road.

Learners Permit Application

In Tennessee, you need to be at least 15 years old in order to be able to apply for the learners permit. The main obstacle that is presented before the drivers permit applicant is the learners permit exam. There is no way around the permit exam - if you want your permit, you will have to take the test. The exam will have questions on driving rules, road signs and traffic laws and most people fail it the first time they take it. The reason for this is not because the test is awfully hard, it's not. The reason for this is because most people fail to prepare for the exam.

The best way for you to prepare for your learner's permit exam is to take a drivers education program. However, since drivers ed is not compulsory, many people decide to save a few bucks and skip it. If you are one of those people, you should definitely grab yourself a copy of the drivers handbook (the book is provided by the DOS free of charge) and use it to study for the knowledge exam. You can also use practice tests as additional study materials once you read the book.

When you visit the DOS for your exam, be prepared to do the following:

  • present proof of citizenship
  • present proof of birth date
  • present proof of ID
  • present your Social Security card
  • pay the permit application fee
  • take a vision test
  • take a written exam

Once you successfully pass the test, you will be awarded with your Tennessee learners permit.

Learners Permit Restrictions

The main reason why you are issued with the learners permit is so you can practice your driving skills. The DOS wants to make sure that you practice in a safe environment, so it enforces a number of restrictions onto all learners permit holders. The main restriction limits the permit holder to supervised driving only. If you are driving with a Tennessee learner's permit, you must have a licensed driver who's at least 21 years old and who has at least 12 months of driving experience sitting next to you at all times. Passenger restrictions and curfew also applies to minors.

Drivers Permit Holding Period

The Tennessee learners permit is valid for 12 months and the holding period depends on the age of the license applicant. If you are under 18 years of age, you must hold your learner's permit for at least 180 days with no traffic convictions before you can apply for the drivers license. Applicants who are over 18 years of age can take the road test and apply for the drivers license the same day after receiving the learners permit. Successfully passing the road test will yield you the Tennessee drivers license or the intermediate restricted drivers license, depending on your age.