How to Get a Florida Driver’s License
Florida has 14 million licensed drivers and the state Department of Motor Vehicles issues about 800,000 new driver’s licenses every year, according to recent statistics. Like most other states in the country, Florida has a Graduated Licensing Program for new drivers with various regulations depending on the age of the prospective driver. Here are the main steps to follow to get a driver’s license in Florida.
Substance abuse education. All first time drivers in Florida, no matter how old, must take the First Time Driver/Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course, known in the state as the TLSAE. Florida students between 14 ½ and 18 can take the class in school, earning a half-credit and earning the waiver certificate that must be shown in order to get a driver’s license.
Learner’s permit. A teenager must be at least 15 years old to qualify for a learner’s permit. State laws require that teens between 15 and 17 years old have a learner’s permit for at least a year before taking a driving skills test to earn an unrestricted driver’s license. In order to earn a learner’s permit, all drivers – no matter how old – must score at least 75 percent on a written test focusing on traffic laws and traffic signs. According to the Florida DMV, about 70 percent fail on the first try. Teens must also pass both a hearing test and a vision test and present the appropriate documents, including a parental consent form.
Practicing for driving test. The last step before earning an unrestricted license in Florida is passing a driver’s test. If you are under 18, you must keep your learner’s permit for at least a year. During that time, state rules require that you complete at least 50 hours of practice driving with someone who is at least 21 and has a Florida license in good standing. At least 10 of those hours must be at night. Florida law does not require new drivers to take driver’s education lessons from a driving school. Once you have had your learner’s permit for a year and completed the required driver’s education, you can schedule a driver’s test. If you pass the test, and show proof of insurance against personal injury and a proper vehicle registration, you will receive an unrestricted driver’s license.
Different rules for 18-year-olds. If you are 18 or older and want a driver’s license for the first time in Florida, state law requires that you take a four-hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness course as well as a written test on both road signs and road rules. If you pass those two tests you can then schedule a driver’s test.