To sit behind the steering wheel for the first time is truly exciting and rewarding. For Alabama teens and other inexperienced drivers, though, there are some legal hoops to get through before you are allowed to truly start driving. Alabama has a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program that consists of 3 phases. The first step—obtaining your learners permit—is what we will be detailing in this article.
How an AL Learners Permit Works
Simply put, the Graduated Driver Licensing program puts driver education into 3 levels. Every step you complete gets you closer to the end reward: a real driver’s license. A learners permit is the beginning. Also known as a driver’s permit, this kind of license comes with restrictions but allows you to learn basic vehicle operations.
Anyone 15 years or older with no initial driving experience can enroll into a driver’s education class to begin their GDL journey. Afterwards, the education pans out like so:
- 15-16 years of age – apply for learners permit. 15 year old candidates must be enrolled in Driver’s Ed and pass the Alabama DPS exam. If you haven’t completed a Driver’s Ed course, you will need to wait until you are 16 to apply for a permit.
- 16-17 years of age – receive provisional driver’s license (less restrictions than the learner’s permit)
- 17 years of age and older – unrestricted driver’s license.
In AL, there are some legal requirements that must be met before you can apply for a learner’s permit. The GDL program has some age restrictions and other rules. Some exceptions to the age restrictions may also apply, so please check with your local AL Department of Public Health (DPS) if you are unsure. Other requirements include:
- Passing a driver’s knowledge written exam
- Being the appropriate age (15 or 16 years old)
- A US birth certificate
- Social Security Card
- Proof of enrollment in school or of graduation – this includes Form DL1/93 (Enrollment/Exclusion Form), a GED, or letter from the school with official signature.
- Payment of the learners permit fees – $5 for test free, $36.25 for license (checks are not accepted).
About the DMV Written Exam
Now, about the exam. This is an integral piece of ascertaining your level of preparedness for the road. The test covers basic knowledge about AL traffic and road laws, such as signage, driving rules, and safety measures. There are 30 questions, and you need to answer 24 of them correctly (80%) to pass the test.
While you might be busy studying for other tests in school or other courses, doing a practice test that mimics the actual DMV written exam is definitely going to give you an advantage. You can also find useful information in the Alabama Driver License Manual.
Once you have taken the written exam, you are also required to pass a vision screening. Though an appointment for the exam and vision test isn’t mandatory, it is a good idea to schedule these tests in advance to give yourself peace of mind.
That’s it! Getting your learner’s permit in AL is rather simple once you turn 15 years old, are enrolled in Driver’s Ed, pass the basic driving written exam, and pay a minimal fee. Now that you have your permit, it is time to get supervised experience so you can move up the GDL ladder. Soon, you’ll have an unrestricted license and unlimited roads to travel.