Licensing & State Laws
Vermont's three-stage licensing process allow teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time. The learner’s permit and junior operator's stages are key steps.
At age 15, teens can apply for a learner’s permit if they have had no violations on record at the Vermont DMV in the previous two years. Teens must provide an application signed by a parent or guardian and proof of Vermont residency; proof of identity (see a list of acceptable documents here); and either a Social Security number or J2 Visa. Teens must pass a vision test and a written test.
With a learner’s permit, teens may only drive a motor vehicle if accompanied by one of the following licensed and unimpaired individuals sitting in front seat: a parent or guardian, a certified driver education instructor or an individual at least 25 years of age. Before applying for a junior operator’s license, teens must pass an approved driver education program with at least 30 hours of classroom instruction, 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and 6 hours of observation. Teens must also practice driving for at least 40 hours, at least 10 of which must be at night. Keep track of your teen's practice driving with Vermont's Driving Practice Log.
Junior Operator’s License
When your teen turns 16 and has had a learner’s permit for at least one year with a clean driving record for the preceding six months, the teen can apply for a junior operator’s license. The teen must provide an application signed by parent or guardian, a Driver Education Completion Certificate and proof of completion of the required 40 hours of practice driving.
Teens with junior operator’s licenses are allowed to drive alone, but must follow certain restrictions. For the first 3 months of licensure, teens may not drive with any passengers. During the next 3 months, teens may drive with family members. This passenger restriction does not apply if accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian, driver education instructor or an individual at least 25 years of age riding in the front seat. Vermont does not restrict teens from driving at night. AAA recommends newly licensed teens not be allowed to drive after 10 p.m.
After holding a junior operator’s license for 6 months, teens are eligible for a full unrestricted license. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.
The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles is in charge of licensing all drivers in Vermont. The VT DMV conducts the written exam and road test needed to get a learner’s permit, a junior operator’s license, and a full license. It also provides study materials to help your teen get ready for the exams.
A parent-teen driving agreement can help you enforce licensing rules that the state and your family set. An agreement helps you and your teen understand the rules of the road and sends a clear message that driving is an earned privilege that your family takes seriously.