What You Need to Know About the Washington Graduated Driver’s License Program

What You Need to Know About the Washington Graduated Driver’s License Program

Washington implemented a graduated system for teens working towards full driving privileges. The goal of the program is to allow novices additional time to develop their skills and defensive driving techniques. Unlike some states, Washington requires that all new drivers complete an approved driver training program to get a license.

First Phase

You can apply for your learner’s permit at age 15 if you are enrolled in driver’s education. If you are not enrolled, you must wait until age 15-and-a-half. You will receive your permit after passing the written knowledge test.

You will need to complete at least 50 hours of driving practice while you have your permit, and ten of those hours must be driven at night. Be aware that any time you operate a vehicle, you must have a supervisor with you. This person must sit in the front passenger seat and must be at least 21 years old with five years or more of licensed driving experience.

Second Phase

At age 16, if you have completed a driver education program, you can apply for your intermediate license by passing the road test. For the first 180-days of having this license, you may not have any passengers under age 20 unless they are immediate family members. After that, you must not have more than three passengers who are under age 20 if they are not immediate family.

Be aware that for the 12 months you will hold the intermediate license, you are forbidden from driving between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless you have a licensed driver over the age of 25 with you.

Third Phase

At age 17, the passenger restrictions and nighttime driving restrictions will be lifted, if you have completed traffic safety education.

At age 18, you are eligible for full driving privileges and an unrestricted license.

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