West Virginia Permit Restrictions
If you received your West Virginia learners permit and are eager to go for a drive, hold your horses right there. Your permit does not grant you full driving privileges and you must make sure to observe all West Virginia permit restrictions at all times. The exact rules and requirements that apply to you depend on your age as the state issues two types of learner permits. Teens must observe the graduated drivers license restrictions as well as the regular permit restrictions until they obtain a full drivers license. The consequences of breaking the West Virginia permit restrictions are very harsh - you may have your driving privilege suspended and, when the suspension period is over, have to restart the application process all over again.
Many people wonder why these permit and license restrictions are required and why not grant anyone who is able to pass the required tests with full driving privileges right away. There are numerous reasons why you cannot obtain an unrestricted West Virginia drivers license right away and lack of driving experience is one of them. Breaking the licensing procedure into a number of steps allows the driver license applicants to gain the essential driving skills before attempting to pass a drivers test. The learners permit restrictions that are applied during the permit stage were designed to discourage drivers from getting into potentially dangerous situations and from making the mistakes that are known to lead to traffic accidents.
Teenage drivers usually have to jump through additional hoops when it comes to applying for a West Virginia learners permit or drivers license. In addition to that, they also have to observe many more restrictions than older drivers. The reason why it is done this way is because statistics show us that teenage drivers are much more likely to be involved in a traffic accident. In fact, traffic accidents is a number one cause of death for people between 15 and 20 years of age. Teen drivers tend to overestimate their driving ability and are less likely to use safety measures, such as seat belts. In order to address the issue of teen driving, the DMV has introduced a number of additional requirements and restrictions that apply only to drivers under the age of 18, which are known as the West Virginia graduated drivers license system.
Learners Permit Restrictions - 18 and Older
If you are at least 18 years of age when you receive a learners permit, there are not that many permit restrictions for you to observe. The main limitation is that you cannot drive alone and must have another licensed driver at least 21 years of age seated next to you whenever you are behind the wheel. If you think about it, you will find that this is more of a precaution, rather than a real restriction. Having another licensed driver in the car should strike some confidence into you, so it will take some stress out of the process. In addition to that, the supervising driver will be able to guide you on the road. We all remember our first hours of driving and how you can't seem to keep up with the road signs and traffic around us.
The testing procedures for your permit are exactly the same as for younger drivers, you are required to pass the West Virginia permit test and a vision exam before you can receive a permit. If you want to see what the permit test questions are like, you may choose to take a free West Virginia practice permit test.
Instruction Permit - Level 1 License Restrictions
If you are under 18 years of age, you have to go through the graduated drivers license program before you can obtain a full West Virginia drivers license. You start the program by applying for an instruction permit, which is also called a level 1 drivers license. Your West Virginia drivers permit restrictions are as following:
- No driving alone. Whenever you are behind the wheel, you must have a licensed driver 21 years old or older seated next to you. The supervising driver must be prepared to take control of the vehicle at any time.
- Curfew. There is a nighttime driving restriction that does not allow you to drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Passenger restrictions. You cannot carry more than two passengers apart from the supervising driver.
- Seat belts. Everyone present in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
- No cell phones. You cannot talk on a cell phone, neither hand-held, nor equipped with a hands-free device. Exceptions to the rule are possible if you are calling an emergency service, such as 911.
Make sure to observe these West Virginia permit restrictions at all times as the consequences of breaking them are very serious. If you are caught breaking these restrictions twice or have two moving violations, apart from having to pay the regular fine, your driving privilege is suspended for 90 days. When the suspension period is over, you have to start the application procedure all over again.
If you received only one moving violation, your driving privilege is not suspended, but the holding period for your learners permit is restarted. The instruction permit must be held free of any convictions for at least six months before you can take the West Virginia drivers test and upgrade to a provisional drivers license. During these months, you must also meet additional GDL requirements, such as completing a West Virginia drivers education course or at least 30 hours of drivers practice with parents.
Intermediate Drivers License Restrictions
Intermediate drivers license, or level 2 drivers license, is the second stage of the graduated drivers license process. The difference between a learners permit and an intermediate license is that an intermediate drivers license allows unsupervised driving under certain circumstances. However, you must still observe the following West Virginia level 2 drivers license restrictions:
- Curfew. The nighttime restriction does not allow you to drive alone between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. You can ignore the nighttime driving restrictions if you have a licensed driver at least 21 years of age seated next to you or if you are traveling to/from a school or employment related activity.
- Passenger restrictions. No more than three passengers under the age of 19 who are not members of the driver's immediate family are allowed to be in the vehicle.
- Seat belts must be worn by everyone.
- Cell phones. Cell phones are banned and you cannot use one unless you are making a call in an emergency situation.
Moving violations and failure to observe these license restrictions are treated in the same way. One violation will see you taking a mandatory traffic safety course. A second violation will result in your driving privilege being suspended for 90 days and once this period is over, you will have to go through the application process from the very beginning. The West Virginia drivers handbook contains more information on the graduated license system and the punishment for breaking permit and license restrictions.
You can obtain a full driver license once you have held a provisional license for at least 12 consecutive months with no traffic offenses.