GRADUATED LICENSING PROGRAM
In 1996, Florida became the first state to implement the Graduated Licensing Program. On January
1, 1998, Louisiana followed by implementing a graduated licensing program as well. It is known as
the R.Y.A.N ACT (Reduce Youth Accidents Now) and was named for a fifteen year old, Ryan Lee,
who lost his life in a traffic accident a few months after being licensed. All states in the U.S. now
have a version of the Graduated Licensing Program. Statistics indicate this program for teenage
drivers has served to decrease the number of traffic deaths and injuries in the teenage driving group.
While teen driver crashes and casualties have decreased in the past decade, and in spite of attention
to the issue, teens are still considered high risk drivers. Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes remain
the number one cause of death among teens in the United States. Per mile driven, teenage drivers
ages 16-19 are four times more likely to crash than older drivers. These high crash rates for teens,
particularly 16-year-olds are related to driver inexperience and driver immaturity.
Driving experience must be built up sooner or later regardless of when a person starts to drive.
But, initial driving experience can be limited to lower risk situations (e.g., daylight and limiting the
number of teen passengers) under a Graduated Licensing Program which has three stages of
1. A learner’s permit that allows the holder to drive only while supervised by a fully licensed
2. An intermediate license that allows unsupervised driving under certain restrictions.
3. A full license.
STAGE 1: LEARNER’S PERMIT
1. Must be a minimum of fifteen (15) years of age.
2. Must complete thirty (30) hours classroom instruction and eight (8) hours behind-the-wheel
3. Must pass vision exam and knowledge exam with at least 80% accuracy.
4. Is authorized to drive only with a licensed adult at least twenty-one (21) years of age or sibling
at least eighteen (18) years of age.
5. Must maintain learner’s license for a minimum of one hundred eighty (180) days and cannot
advance to intermediate stage until attainment of sixteenth (16th) birthday.
Note: Upgrading from Permit to Intermediate (age 16):
Effective January 1, 2011, no applicant shall be issued a Class "E" intermediate license unless a
signed statement by the parent or legal guardian is provided to the department attesting that the
applicant has a minimum of fifty (50) hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience with a licensed
parent, guardian, or adult at least twenty-one (21) years of age. At least fifteen (15) of these hours
must be night time driving.
STAGE 2: INTERMEDIATE LICENSE
1. Must have completed STAGE 1.
2. Must be a minimum of sixteen (16) years of age.
3. Must pass the road skills driving test with at least 80% accuracy.
4. Is prohibited from driving between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., unless
accompanied by a licensed adult at least twenty-one (21) years of age or sibling at least
eighteen (18) years of age. Additionally, between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., an
intermediate licensee may not transport more than one passenger under the age of
twenty-one (21) years of age that is not a member of the immediate family.
5. Must be maintained until seventeenth (17th) birthday.
STAGE 3: FULL LICENSE
1. Must successfully complete STAGES 1 AND 2 OR
2. Must be at least seventeen (17) years of age prior to application for first license.
NOTE: Effective 08/01/2012, applicants eighteen (18) years of age or above who have not entered
the graduated licensing program may apply for full Class E license or a learner’s permit upon
completion of a thirty-eight (38) hour driver’s education course or a six (6) hour pre-licensing course
and an eight hour behind-the-wheel course. An out-of-state applicant, sixteen (16) years of age
who has had a license or permit for a minimum of one hundred eighty (180) days may be eligible to
bypass the learner’s permit stage and be issued an intermediate license.