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Driver's Education » Graduated Licensing

Graduated Licensing

Driver's Education Coursework
The first step to getting your license in North Carolina is to enroll in and pass the Driver's Education classes. Students may apply for these classes when they are 14 1/2 years old. The classroom phase requires 30 hours of seatwork. During the regular school year, these class sessions are held after school for two hours over a 15-day period OR after school for three hours over a 10-day period. Schedules will vary over holiday breaks and during the summer. Students must pass the 30 hours of classroom instruction and the DMV Eye Test before being eligible for the driving phase. The Eye Test is given during the classroom phase.
 
After the above criteria has been met, students will participate in the driving phase. This is called Behind-the-Wheel training and requires a total of twelve hours of in-car instruction - 6 hours behind-the-wheel and 6 hours of observation. Each instructor determines his/her own driving schedule and will contact the student to set up driving times. Students will complete this portion in pairs with each driving no more than two hours each day.
 
A Driver Education Certificate will be awarded after all the classes are successfully completed. This certificate will be used to obtain your Driver Eligibility Form.
 
Driver Eligibility Certificate
Driver Eligibility Certificates (DPI Form 452) are required for all persons under the age of 18 who are applying for a learner's permit or driver's license. This form verifies that the student has successfully completed Driver Education requirements, is currently enrolled in school, and is performing well academically. In order to qualify, students must be passing at least 70% of their classes and be meeting promotion standards established by the local school district. Once obtained, this certificate is only valid for 30 days. If a permit or license isn't earned during this timeframe, the certificate must be renewed. This form is issued at the student's high school. Contact the main office for details.
 
Level One: Limited Learner Permit
After successfully completing the Driver Education courses and obtaining a Driver Eligibility Certificate, students may apply for a Limited Learner Permit. To achieve the permit, students must be 15 years old (but less than 18 years old) and pass the written test, road sign test, and vision test. Students achieving a Limited Learner Permit should understand, abide by, and complete the following requirements and restrictions:
  • Drivers may operate Class C vehicles accompanied by a supervising driver;
  • The supervising driver must have held a valid driver's license for at least five years and must be seated in the front passenger seat;
  • The supervising driver must a parent, guardian, or an adult approved by the parent or guardian;
  • For the first six months, drivers are only authorized to drive from 5am through 9pm with their supervising driver;
  • After having the permit for six months, drivers are eligible to drive at any time with their supervising driver;
  • Drivers are not permitted to use a mobile telephone or any additional technology associated with a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle in public vehicular areas (unless there is an emergency);
  • Drivers must complete a Driving Log which documents 60 hours of supervised driving time, including 10 hours of night driving (no more than 10 hours a week may count toward the total driving time);
  • All passengers must wear seat belts;
  • Before graduating to Level Two, drivers must keep this permit for at least 12 months, complete their Driving Log, and have no moving violations or seat belt/mobile phone infractions within the preceding six months.
 
Level Two: Limited Provisional License
After having a Learner's Permit for at least 12 months and completing and logging 60 hours of drive time (including 10 hours of night driving) with a supervising driver, students may seek a Limited Provisional License. Drivers must be 16 years old (but less than 18 years old), pass a behind-the-wheel driving test, and provide proof of liability insurance coverage to apply. They should also have no convictions of moving violations or seat belt/mobile phone infractions within the preceding six months. Students achieving a Limited Provisional License should understand, abide by, and complete the following requirements and restrictions:
  • Drivers may operate Class C vehicles without supervision from 5am through 9pm;
  • Drive unsupervised when going directly to and from work or any volunteer fire, rescue, or emergency medical service;
  • When driving unsupervised, drivers may only have one passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle (unless they are immediate family or a supervising adult is in the car), and this person should sit in the front passenger seat;
  • All passengers must wear seat belts;
  • Drivers are not permitted to use a mobile telephone or any additional technology associated with a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle in public vehicular areas (unless there is an emergency);
  • Drivers must complete a Driving Log which documents 12 hours of driving time, including 6 hours of night driving (no more than 10 hours a week may count toward the total driving time);
  • Before graduating to Level Three, drivers must keep this license for at least six months, complete their Driving Log, and have no moving violations or seat belt/mobile phone infractions.
 
Level Three: Full Provisional License
After having a Limited Provisional License for at least six months and completing and logging 12 hours of drive time (including 6 hours of night driving) with a supervising driver, students may seek a Full Provisional License. They should have no convictions of moving violations or seat belt/mobile phone infractions. Students achieving a Full Provisional License should understand and abide by the following requirements and restrictions:
  • Drivers may operate Class C vehicles without supervision at any time;
  • Drivers are not permitted to use a mobile telephone or any additional technology associated with a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle in public vehicular areas (unless there is an emergency);
  • There are no passenger restrictions.
 
Full, Unrestricted Driver's License
Once you turn 18 years old, you are eligible for a full, regular driver's license. Take your Level Three Full Provisional License to your local DMV office to apply.
 
Click here to track your progress with the new driver's license checklist!
 
 
Restrictions for Teen Drivers
Teen drivers and their parents should note the following restrictions that apply to teen drivers:
  • Under 18 and thinking of dropping out of school? The DMV will revoke the driver's license of any person under the age of 18 when they are notified by proper school authorities of that person no longer meeting the requirements of the Driver Eligibility Certificate.
  • Lose Control/Lose Your License! A driver will lose their license if they receive a suspension for more than ten consecutive days OR are assigned to an alternative educational setting due to disciplinary action for more than ten consecutive days.