Licensing & State Laws

Even though your teen is now licensed and driving alone, West Virginia’s multi-stage licensing process is still at work.

Instruction Permit

At age 15, teens can apply for an instruction permit in the state of West Virginia. To do so, both teen and parent/legal guardian must visit their local driver exam office with a current school eligibility form and a certified copy of the teen’s birth certificate or passport and Social Security card.

Teens must pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test to receive an instruction permit.

With an instruction permit, teens may only drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. Teens are required to practice driving for at least 50 hours, including 10 hours at night, with a parent or a legal guardian, or to pass a state-approved driver’s education course, before they’re allowed an intermediate license.

Intermediate License

When teens turn 16, have had an instruction permit for at least 6 months and have completed 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night, they can apply for this intermediate license. They also must pass a behind-the-wheel driving test and provide proof of practice driving time or certificate of completion for a state-approved driver education course. Applicants must arrive at the testing location in a lawful manner and teens must submit a current school eligibility form.

A teen with an intermediate license is allowed to drive alone, but must follow certain restrictions. The teen may not drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. (Some exceptions are granted.) During the first 6 months of having an intermediate license, West Virginia teens also may not drive with any non-family passenger under age 20. During the second 6 months, teens are allowed to drive with one non-family passenger under 20.Teen drivers and all passengers are required to wear safety belts.

Full License

At age 17, teens are eligible for a full, unrestricted license if they have held an intermediate license for one year and been free of traffic convictions for at least one year. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.

A parent-teen driving agreement can help you enforce the 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.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation, through its Division of Motor Vehicles, is in charge of licensing for all drivers in West Virginia. The WV DMV conducts the written exam and road test needed to get a driver’s license. It also provides study materials to help your teen get ready for the exams.

  • Your teen should expect to present a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance.
  • Explain to your teen that it is important to always cooperate and be respectful when speaking with law enforcement.
  • Make sure your teen understands the importance of talking to you about any encounters with law enforcement, because it can create a learning experience.

If your teen breaks a law, gets a ticket or is involved in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance and the following consequences.

  • Fines
  • Suspended driving privileges
  • Points
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Court costs
  • Insurance premium increases