How old do you have to be to drive?

How old you have to be to drive varies by state. Most states use a graduated driver’s license process that requires new drivers to obtain a learner’s permit and a restricted license before being fully licensed. Each stage requires specific steps to be completed, including reaching a certain age. You have to be between 14 and 16 years old to apply for a learner’s permit, at least 15 for a restricted license, and between 16 and 18 for a full driver’s license.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati.com. ...

Full Bio →

Written by

Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Mar 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Can't-Miss Facts

  • In most states, new drivers will follow a graduated licensing process that includes getting a learner’s permit and a restricted license before achieving a full driver’s license
  • The minimum age for a learner’s permit is as young as 14, and to get a full license, you have to be at least 16, but exact ages vary by state
  • Drivers with a learner’s permit are usually covered by their parents’ insurance policy with no changes necessary, but they need to be fully added to the coverage once they have a restricted license

We know auto insurance can be confusing when you’re shopping for yourself, but when your teen is ready to drive, it can be even more complicated. How old do you have to be to drive? At what age can you get your permit, and at what age can you get your license? What are the insurance requirements for teen drivers?

Read this article to answer these and other questions related to age requirements for driving.

Before we jump into this overview of how old you need to be to obtain a driver’s license, take a moment to enter your ZIP code in the tool on this page to get free auto insurance quotes from top companies and save on your rates today.

How old do you have to be to drive?

Can you get your permit at 14? Can you get your license at 16? The short answer is that it all depends on where you live. State laws determine the minimum age for drivers to get a learner’s permit, restricted license, and full driver’s license.

In some states, you can get a learner’s permit to start driving at 14, while in other states, you need to be at least 16. To be fully licensed, you need to be between 16 and 18, depending on where you live (and if you’ve completed the requirements in your state to earn a full driver’s license).

Enter your ZIP code below to compare auto insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How old do you have to be to get a driver’s license vs. a learner’s permit?

Now that you know that the laws governing driving age vary by state, let’s learn about the minimum age to get a license where you live. Take a look at this table for the age requirements for a learner’s permit, restricted license, and full driver’s license in each state based on information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Minimum Driving Age by State for Learner's Permit, Restricted License, and Full License
StateMinimum Age for a Learner's PermitMinimum Age for a Restricted LicenseMinimum Age for a Full License
Alabama151617
Alaska141616 and 6 months
Arizona15 and 6 months1616 and 6 months
Arkansas141618
California15 and 6 months1617
Colorado151617
Connecticut1616 and 4 months18
Delaware1616 and 6 months17
District of Columbia1616 and 6 months18
Florida151618
Georgia151618
Hawaii15 and 6 months1617
Idaho14 and 6 months1516
Illinois151618
Indiana1516 and 3 months18
Iowa141617
Kansas141616 and 6 months
Kentucky1616 and 6 months17
Louisiana151617
Maine151616 and 6 months
Maryland15 and 9 months16 and 6 months18
Massachusetts1616 and 6 months18
Michigan14 and 9 months1617
Minnesota151617
Mississippi151618
Missouri151618
Montana14 and 6 months1516
Nebraska151617
Nevada15 and 6 months1618
New Hampshire15 and 6 months1617 and 1 month
New Jersey161718
New Mexico1515 and 6 months16 and 6 months
New York1616 and 6 months18
North Carolina151616 and 6 months
North Dakota141516
Ohio15 and 6 months1618
Oklahoma15 and 6 months1617
Oregon151617
Pennsylvania1616 and 6 months18
Rhode Island1616 and 6 months17 and 6 months
South Carolina1515 and 6 months16 and 6 months
South Dakota1414 and 6 months16
Tennessee151617
Texas151618
Utah151617
Vermont151616 and 6 months
Virginia15 and 6 months1618
Washington151617
West Virginia151617
Wisconsin15 and 6 months1616 and 6 months
Wyoming151616 and 6 months
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

Keep reading for more information on each of these licensing categories.

What are the differences between a learner’s permit, a restricted license, and a driver’s license?

A learner’s permit and restricted license are required steps in a graduated driver’s license approach (developed in most states to increase driver experience and reduce the risk of accidents for new drivers).

A learner’s permit is what it sounds like: a permit that gives an individual permission to be on the road while learning to drive.

Learner’s permits typically come with specific requirements for driver education, such as a minimum number of practice hours on the road and a fully licensed adult in the vehicle at all times. In many cases, drivers also need to take a written test or driving test (or both) to graduate to a restricted license.

A restricted license allows drivers to get behind the wheel on their own but usually comes with limitations on the number of passengers and the hours of the day in which they can legally drive.

Once drivers have met all learner’s permit and restricted license requirements, they can obtain a full license that allows them to drive with no limitations on passengers, time of day, etc.

Look at this table (populated with IIHS data) to see the learner’s permit and restricted license requirements teens must meet in your state.

Learner's Permit and Restricted License Requirements by State
StateLearner's Permit Minimum DurationLearner's Permit Minimum Driving Practice RequirementsRestricted License Nighttime LimitsRestricted License Passenger Requirements (excludes family members, unless noted)
Alabama6 months50 hours (none with driver education)midnight-6 a.m.no more than one passenger
Alaska6 months40 hours, 10 of which must be at night or in inclement weather1 a.m.-5 a.m.no passengers younger than 21
Arizona6 months30 hours, 10 of which must be at night (none with driver education)midnight-5 a.m. (secondary enforcement)no more than 1 passenger younger than 18 (secondary enforcement)
Arkansas6 monthsnone11 p.m.-4 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 21
California6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night11 p.m.-5 a.m. (secondary enforcement)no passengers younger than 20 (limited exception for immediate family) (secondary enforcement)
Colorado12 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m. (secondary enforcement)first 6 months—no passengers; second 6 months—no more than one passenger (secondary enforcement)
Connecticut6 months40 hours11 p.m. - 5 a.m.first 6 months—no passengers other than parents or a driving instructor;
second 6 months—no passengers other than parents, driving instructor or members of the immediate family
Delaware6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night10 p.m.-6 a.m.no more than 1 passenger
District of Columbia6 months40 hours in learner's stage; 10 hours at night in intermediate stageSeptember–June: 11 p.m.-6 a.m. Sun.–Thur., 12:01 a.m.-6 a.m. Sat.–Sun.;
July–August: 12:01 a.m.-6 a.m.
no passengers
Florida12 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night11 p.m.-6 a.m. for 16 year-olds;
1 a.m.-5 a.m. for 17 year-olds
none
Georgia12 months40 hours, 6 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m. (secondary enforcement)first 6 months—no passengers; second 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 21; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers (secondary enforcement)
Hawaii6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night11 p.m.-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 18 (household members excepted)
Idaho6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at nightsunset to sunriselicensees 16 and younger can have no more than 1 passenger younger than 17
Illinois9 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at nightstarts 10 p.m. Sun.-Thur.,
11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., ends 6 a.m.
first 12 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 20
Indiana6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at nightfirst 6 months, 10 p.m.-5 a.m.;
thereafter, 11 p.m.-5 a.m. Sun.–Fri.;
1 a.m.-5 a.m. Sat.–Sun.
no passengers
Iowa12 months20 hours, 2 of which must be at night12:30 a.m.-5 a.m.parental discretion
Kansas12 months25 hours, in learner phase;
25 hours before age 16;
10 of the 50 hours must be at night
9 p.m. - 5 a.m.no more than one passenger younger than 18
Kentucky6 months60 hours, 10 of which must be at nightmidnight-6 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 20 unless supervised by a driving instructor (secondary enforcement)
Louisiana6 months50 hours, 15 of which must be at night11 p.m. - 5 a.m.no more than one passenger younger than 21 between the hours of 6 p.m.-5 a.m.;
no passenger restriction from 5 a.m.-6 p.m.
Maine6 months70 hours, 10 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m.no passengers
Maryland9 months60 hours, 10 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m.no passengers younger than 30 (secondary enforcement)
Massachusettes6 months40 hours12:30 a.m.-5 a.m.
(between 12:30 a.m.-1 a.m. and 4 a.m.-5 a.m. the night driving and passenger restrictions are subject to secondary enforcement; enforcement is primary at all other times)
no passengers younger than 18 (between 12:30 a.m.–1 a.m. and 4 a.m.–5 a.m. the night driving and passenger restrictions are secondarily enforced; enforcement is primary at all other times)
Michigan6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night10 p.m.-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 21
Minnesota6 months40 hours, 15 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 20; second 6 months—no more than 3 passengers younger than 20
Mississippi12 monthsnone10 p.m.-6 a.m. Sun.-Thur., 1
1:30 p.m.-6 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
none
Missouri6 months40 hours, 10 of which must be at night1 a.m.-5 a.m.first 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 19; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers younger than 19
Montana6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night11 p.m.-5 a.m.first 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 18; second 6 months—no more than 3 passengers younger than 18
Nebraska6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night (none with driver education)midnight-6 a.m. (secondary enforcement)no more than 1 passenger younger than 19 (secondary enforcement)
Nevada6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night (none with defensive driving course)10 p.m.-5 a.m. (secondary enforcement)no passengers younger than 18 (secondary enforcement)
New Hampshirenone40 hours, 10 of which must be at night1 a.m.-4 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 25
New Jersey6 monthsnone11 p.m. - 5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger (exception is limited to drivers' dependents)
New Mexico6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 21
New York6 months50 hours, 15 of which must be at night9 p.m.-5 a.m. except for NYC (unsupervised driving prohibited at all times) and Long Island (limited daytime unsupervised driving)no more than 1 passenger younger than 21
North Carolina6 months60 hours, 10 of which must be at night (learner's permit);
12 hours, 6 of which must be at night, (restricted license)
9 p.m.-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 21; if a family member younger than 21 is already a passenger then no other passengers younger than 21 who are not family members
North DakotaIf younger than 16, 12 months; If 16 or older, 6 months or until age 18, whichever comes firstIf younger than 16, 50 hours;
If 16 or older, none
The holder of a restricted license may only drive a car belonging to a parent or guardian and may not drive between the later of sunset or 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.none
Ohio6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at nightFirst 12 months: midnight-6 a.m.;
Second 12 months: 1 a.m.-5 a.m. (secondary enforcement)
first 12 months—no more than 1 passenger
Oklahoma6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night10 p.m.-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger
Oregon6 months50 hours (100 hours without driver education)midnight-5 a.m.first 6 months–no passengers younger than 20; second 6 months–no more than 3 passengers younger than 20
Pennsylvania6 months65 hours, 10 of which must be at night and 5 of which must be in inclement weather11 p.m.-5 a.m.first 6 months— no more than 1 passenger younger than 18; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers
Rhode Island6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night1 a.m.-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 21
South Carolina6 months40 hours, 10 of which must be at night6 p.m.-6 a.m. EST;
8 p.m.-6 a.m. EDT
no more than 2 passengers younger than 21 unless transporting students to and from school
South Dakota9 months (6 months with driver education)50 hours, 10 of which must be at night and 10 of which must be during inclement weather10 p.m.-6 a.m.first 6 months—no passengers; thereafter—no more than 1 passenger younger than 18
Tennessee6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night11 p.m.-6 a.m.no more than 1 passenger
Texas6 months30 hours, 10 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m. secondary enforcementno more than 1 passenger younger than 21 (secondary enforcement)
Utah6 months40 hours, 10 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m.no passengers (secondary enforcement)
Vermont12 months40 hours, 10 of which must be at nightnonefirst 3 months—no passengers without exception; second 3 months—no passengers (secondary enforcement)
Virginia9 months45 hours, 15 of which must be at nightmidnight-4 a.m. (secondary enforcement)first 12 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 21; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers younger than 21 (secondary enforcement)
Washington6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night1 a.m.-5 a.m. secondary enforcementfirst 6 months—no passengers younger than 20; second 6 months—no more than 3 passengers younger than 20 (secondary enforcement)
West Virginia6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night (none with driver education)10 p.m. - 5 a.m.first 6 months—no passengers younger than 20; second 6 months–no more than 1 passenger younger than 20
Wisconsin6 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at nightmidnight-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger
Wyoming10 days50 hours, 10 of which must be at night11 p.m.-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 18
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

What about insurance? Read on to find out when to add teens to an insurance policy and some of the ways you can save money.

When do you need to get auto insurance?

Auto insurance for teenagers is expensive. However, in most cases, the insurance policy you hold will cover your teen drivers while they have a learner’s permit, as long as they are listed as named drivers on the policy. Work with your insurance company to determine the specific requirements for drivers with a learner’s permit who will be operating vehicles listed on your policy.

Once your teen is driving independently, you need to add them to your policy as more than a named driver. This may mean an increase in insurance rates, as teen drivers are considered extremely high risk.

Shopping around for coverage and comparing quotes from at least three companies is one of the best ways to save on your rates. You can also ask your insurance company about any available discounts for teen drivers. One example is the good student discount.

Enter your ZIP code below to compare auto insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

The Bottom Line: How old do you have to be to drive?

If your teen is asking, “When can I get my license?” the answer depends on the laws in your state. Depending on where you live, the age varies between 14 and 16 for obtaining a learner’s permit and between 16 and 18 for a full driver’s license.

You probably won’t need to add your teen to your insurance policy while they have a learner’s permit, though you should check with your insurance company to confirm. However, they need to be added to your coverage once they’re driving independently.

Now that you know how old you need to be to get a driver’s license, the next step is to get insurance. Teen drivers face some of the highest insurance rates in the country, so you’re probably looking for ways to save. Comparison shopping is one of the best ways to get affordable coverage. Get started by using your ZIP code in our rate comparison tool to get free quotes from top companies.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to compare auto insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption