Alaska uses a three-stage driver licensing process for teens. This system allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time.
LEARNER’S OR INSTRUCTION PERMIT
At age 14, teens can apply for a learner’s or instruction permit in the state of Alaska. To do so, teens under age 18 must have a parent or guardian complete a parental consent form and bring it to a driver exam office with one of the following identification documents: an original or certified copy of a birth certificate; a current U.S. passport; an Alaska state ID card; a certificate of citizenship, naturalization or birth abroad; or a foreign passport and immigration documents. Teens must pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test to receive a learner’s or instruction permit.
Teen’s with a learner’s license, 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 40 hours, including 10 hours in “progressively challenging circumstances”, such as nighttime and inclement weather, with a parent or a legal guardian, before they’re allowed a provisional license. Learner’s or instruction permits are valid for two years and can only be renewed once.
When teens turn 16, have had a learner’s or instruction permit for at least 6 months and have completed 40 hours of practice driving, they can apply for this provisional license. They also must pass a behind-the-wheel driving test, complete a second vision test and provide proof of practice driving time. Legal guardians must accompany their teens to the DMV to sign the application form.
Teens with a provisional license are allowed to drive alone, but must follow certain restrictions. They may not drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. (An exception is granted for travel to and from work on the most direct route.) They are also prohibited from driving with any non-family member passengers under age 21, unless an adult age 21 or older, with a valid license, is seated next to them in the vehicle. Teens and all passengers are required to wear seat belts.
Once a teen has held a provisional license for at least 6 months, or turns age 18, these restrictions no longer apply and the teen is eligible for a full unrestricted license. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses under age 18. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.
The Alaska Department of Administration, through its Division of Motor Vehicles, is in charge of licensing for all drivers in Alaska. The 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.
Consider using a parent-teen driving agreement to help 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.