Get to know Delaware’s laws for new drivers

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2020 | Auto Accidents |

Delaware has a graduated driver’s license system to help teens and young adults become safe drivers before they take the wheel independently. Encouraging your child to follow the regulations when he or she gets a learner’s permit will pave the way for responsible choices as a motorist.

Review the laws that apply to those seeking a Delaware driver’s license for the first time.

Learner’s permit

Delaware teens can apply for a permit when they turn 16. They will need:

  • Parental permission in writing on the learner’s permit application
  • A $40 application fee
  • A passing eye exam
  • Proof of identity and residence

For the first six months, teens must always have an adult in the car when they practice driving. This person must be 25 or older and have at least a five-year history of licensed driving. Teens must record all practice hours with a parent or guardian signature. After obtaining at least 40 hours of daytime practice and at least 10 hours of nighttime practice within six months, new drivers can apply for an interim license with restrictions.

Unsupervised learner’s permit

This interim step allows teens to drive without an adult between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. only. Outside of those hours, a supervising driver must be present in the vehicle, though exceptions exist for teens traveling to work, church or school activities.

Full driver’s license

When a driver turns 17 and has had his or her permit for at least 12 months, the permit automatically converts to a regular Delaware driver’s license. However, teens who received a license suspension while they had a learner’s permit must make up that time before they have a full driver’s license. For example, a driver who serves a three-month suspension of a learner’s permit will not have a full license until 15 months have passed.

According to the data from the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles, crashes involving teen motorists decreased by 50% in the decade after the state implemented the graduated license system.