California Graduated Driver’s License Laws
In 2014, an estimated 4,322 drivers were in fatal accidents and 380 of them were under the age of 21. To combat the number of fatal crashes novice drivers are involved in, California implemented a three-phase Graduated Driver’s Licensing program.
At age 15-and-a-half, after completing driver’s education, you are eligible for a learner’s permit. You must have the permit for 180 days or more before you can take the road test. During this time, you must get 50 hours of supervised operating experience and ten of those hours must be during inclement weather or at night. You will also need six hours of driver training.
After you have satisfied the requirements for phase one, and you are 16-years-old, you can take the road test for your intermediate license. During the first 12 months of this phase, you cannot have anyone under age 20 in the vehicle unless you also have a licensed adult driver (25 or older) with you. You may also not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Drivers are eligible for a full, unrestricted driver’s license at the age of 17.
Be aware: California primary enforcement laws prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones for all drivers, and hands-free cell use is banned for drivers under age 18. Texting is banned for all drivers.