What You Need to Know About the Virginia Graduated Driver’s License Program
Like most other states in the country, Virginia has implemented the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) three-step process for teens to acquire full road privileges. This program has been quite effective at reducing the number of fatal traffic accidents involving young drivers by giving them more time to develop their skills without interference from other young people.
Virginia requires all new drivers under the age of 19 to complete a certified driver’s education course before they are eligible for a license.
At age 15 years 6 months, you can take the written knowledge test and get your learner’s permit. While driving on a permit, there are specific rules you must follow, including accumulating 45 hours or more of supervised driving practice, and at least 15 of these hours must be driven at night. However, you must have a driving supervisor with you anytime you are operating a vehicle. This supervisor must be a licensed parent or guardian or a certified driving instructor.
After holding the permit for at least nine months, and reaching age 16 years and 180 days, you can apply for your junior license by passing a road test. While you hold this license, you are not allowed to drive after midnight or before 4:00 a.m. unless your driving supervisor is with you.
You are only allowed to have one passenger under the age of 21 in your vehicle for the first 12-months. After you have had the junior license for at least one year, you can have up to three passengers under the age of 21 unless you have your supervisor with you, or you are going to or from a school activity.
These passengers restrictions do not include the members of your own family.
At age 18, you are eligible for full driving privileges and an unrestricted license.