The state of Tennessee has created a multi-step licensing process for teenage drivers.
This process allows teens to gain driving experience gradually and learn how to handle complicated driving situations while under adult supervision. Each stage of licensing has certain restrictions and rules that are important to know if you have a teenage driver.
The first step in obtaining a driver's license for a teenager is to get a learner's permit. In the state of Tennessee, you have to be 15 to apply for a learner's permit. To receive a learner's permit, the teenager must pass a vision test and a written test about the rules of the road.
There are many driving restrictions with a learner's permit. In Tennessee, teens are only allowed to drive with a licensed driver 21 years or older in the passenger's seat. They must have their permit for at least 180 days and drive a minimum of 50 supervised, documented hours before they can apply for the next stage of licensing.
At sixteen a teenager is eligible to apply for their intermediate restricted license. This license requires passing an actual behind-the-wheel driving test. You also have to pass another vision test and provide proof of supervised driving time.
Teens are permitted to drive without a licensed driver at this step but there are still restrictions. Teens with this license may not drive after 11 PM or before 6 AM without being accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 21. They are also not able to drive with more than one passenger under the age of 21. Once the teenager has turned seventeen and has had a restricted license for a year, they no longer have restrictions on the time they can drive and the number of people in the vehicle. With an intermediate license, any crashes or violations can require the teen to revert back to their learner's permit.
At age of 18, high school graduation, or receiving a GED (whichever comes first) the teenager may receive an unrestricted license. This license will still identify that the teen is under 21, but there are no driving restrictions. You can drive at any time and have as many passengers as your car legally holds. At this stage, a crash or violation will no longer require the teen to revert back to their learner's permit.
This multistep licensing program helps keeps our teens and other drivers safe! If you have a teen driver, make sure they're aware of all the driving restrictions that come with their license.