I have a 14-year-old son and I realize that the time is coming for him to get a driver’s license. I remember being SO READY to get my driver’s license and have that freedom. As a parent, I simultaneously dread this rite of passage and rejoice that he can help with all of the driving that I have to do. Some of my friends’ children are turning 15 now and it has made me sit down and really look at what is involved in getting a Driver’s License for your teenager. It also makes me aware of how many distracted and angry drivers are on the road- and I pray that they have patience with young drivers. It is a lot different now than when I was 15. I think I had to have my permit for two weeks and then I was on my own! There was no texting, no cell phone at all. Now, the young drivers do get more training and guidance. This is a great thing!
Now, the SC DMV website actually has an online practice test that you can take! There are also apps that you can download to take practice tests for your permit.
Applying for your permit:
According to the SC DMV website:
- You must be at least 15 to apply for a regular or motorcycle beginner’s permit. If you are under 18, you must bring an adult with you to sign your application.
Regular beginner’s permit (Class D) allows you to practice driving under the following restrictions:
- From 6 a.m. to midnight with a licensed driver, who is at least 21 and has at least one year of experience, in the front seat of the vehicle.
- From midnight to 6 a.m. with a licensed parent or legally appointed guardian in the front seat of the vehicle.
You must have this permit for 180 days. (If you got your permit on 2/12/18, you could not test for your restricted license until 6/12/18).
Are you ready to get your conditional/First Driver’s License?
You must have the following before your test (In addition to the above):
If you’re 15 or 16 and applying for your first driver’s license, you must complete the Certification of DL Under 18 (SCDMV Form PDLA) and all of the following must be true:
- You have held your beginner’s permit for more than 180 days.
- You completed a driver’s education course (eight hours in the classroom and six hours driving).
- You are enrolled in school (not suspended or expelled), and you have satisfactory attendance.
- You have practiced driving with your licensed parent or legal guardian for at least 40 hours, including ten hours of night driving.
Then, you can test for your First Driver’s License.
There are differences for a 15 year old driver and a driver that is 16 or older:
- Conditional License for a 15-year-old Driver
“If you are at least 15 ½, but less than 16, and have met the above requirements, you are eligible for a Conditional license. You must pass the vision and road test to receive this license. If you pass the required tests for your Conditional license, you will earn full driving privileges once you’ve held your Conditional license for one year with no traffic offenses and not been at-fault in any collisions.”
If you are 16 or older:
- Special Restricted License with a Waiver for a 16-year-old Driver
If you are 16 and have a Special Restricted or Conditional license, you may be eligible for a Special Restricted license with a waiver. The Special Restricted license with a waiver allows you to drive by yourself until midnight if you work or participate in certain extracurricular activities.
To get a Special Restricted license with a waiver, you must visit an SCDMV branch and do all of the following:
- Complete the Application for a Driver’s License, Beginner’s Permit, or ID (SCDMV Form 447-NC)
- Bring a letter, on letterhead, from your school, church, work, or extracurricular activity that says you need this waiver
- Bring a letter from your parent that says your parent is allowing you to have the waiver and why you need this license
- Pass a vision test
- Pay $12.50 (25.00 for the new RealID)
At 17 years old, you have full driving privileges.
Important Additional Information for Parents and Young Drivers:
Now, you ALSO need to remember to add them to your insurance. Teenagers are more likely to have a wreck. According to the CDC:
- In 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.1 That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
- In 2013, young people ages 15-19 represented only 7% of the U.S. population. However, they accounted for 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.
As you add them to your insurance, it is a good time to review your coverage. With a teen driver, you are probably going to want to make sure you have collision coverage. You also need to be certain you have an adequate amount of Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage. If your teen is lucky enough to get a new car- you will need Gap insurance in case a collision occurs and the car loan is more than the payoff.
Here is a great site with links about Teen Driver Safety.
While this is a lot of information to digest, the most important thing is that teen drivers stay safe. Talk to them frequently and often about good driving, defensive driving, and most importantly- be a good role model. Please add any thoughts or information that you have in the comments.