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Teen Driving in West Virginia

Teen Driving in West Virginia

My son recently got his Level II Intermediate License.  When he obtained his Level I Permit last September, I realized how much the requirements, conditions and restrictions have changed since I was a teen driver.  As parents, we all worry about our children when they are driving.  However, the requirements, conditions and restrictions are in place to help ensure the safety of our teen drivers.   

In West Virginia, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has a program called Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program (GDL).  There are three levels to this program.  The following are some of the requirements and restrictions on each level:

Level I - If you are 15 years old, you may apply for a Level I Instructional Permit.  You must have a Driver’s Eligibility Certificate issued by your county school board and the consent of your parent and/or legal guardian. Additionally, you have to pass both a written test and vison screening before you are issued the permit.  Once you receive your permit, there are conditions, requirements, laws, etc. that must be followed, including, but not limited to:

  • You must have a licensed driver age 21 or older in front seat at all times;
  • You may not have more than 2 additional non-family passengers in addition to the supervising adult;
  • You may only drive between 5am - 10pm;
  • The use of handheld cell phones or texting devices is not permitted while operating a vehicle. All occupants are required to use safety belts in accordance with state law. There is ZERO Alcohol Tolerance for all occupants under the age of 21.

Level II – Once you turn 16 years old, you may take the road skills test when you have completed 50 hours of driving time (including 10 hours of night driving), which has been verified by a parent on the required form.  Again, you must also have a Driver’s Eligibility Certificate issued by your county school board. Finally, you must have a Level I Permit with no violations for 6 months.  Once you receive your Level II Intermediate License, there are conditions, requirements, laws, etc. that must be followed, including, but not limited to:

  • You may not drive without a supervising licensed adult age 21 or older between the hours of 10pm - 5am;
  • For the ­first 6 months you may not operate a motor vehicle with any non-family member under the age of 20;
  • For the second 6 months you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than 1 non-family member under the age of 20;
  • You may drive without a supervising adult from the hours of 5am - 10pm;
  •  You must drive with an accompanying licensed adult age 21 or older between the hours of 10pm - 5am. With the exception of:

                                    • Traveling to and from employment

                                    • Traveling for a school activity

                                    • Traveling for a religious activity

                                    •An emergency situation requiring the licensee to drive in order to prevent bodily injury or death

  • The use of handheld cell phones or texting devices is not permitted while operating a vehicle. All occupants are required to use safety belts in accordance with state law. There is ZERO Alcohol Tolerance for all occupants under the age of 21.

Level III – Once you turn 17 years old, you may obtain a License with full driving privileges.  Again, you must have a Driver’s Eligibility Certificate issued by your county school board or a High School Diploma, as well as, you must have held a Level III license with no violations for at least a year.  With a Level III License you know longer have restrictions on driving hours and there are no restrictions on the occupants of the vehicle.  However, some conditions that remain are:

  •       The use of handheld cell phones or texting devices is not permitted while operating a vehicle.
  •       All occupants are required to use safety belts in accordance with state law.
  •       There is ZERO Alcohol Tolerance for all occupants under the age of 21.

If you have a child that is getting close to driving age or you have questions, you may want to contact the DMV for more information.  For all of our drivers, teen or otherwise, we wish you safe travels! 

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