Licensing & State Laws
Are you legally allowed to drive without supervision now? Learn more about Alabama’s multi-stage licensing process.
At age 15, you can apply for a learner’s permit in the state of Alabama. You and your parent or guardian need to visit your local driver exam office with a state-certified copy of your birth certificate, a Social Security card and acceptable proof of school enrollment or graduation. Once you pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test, you receive a learner’s permit.
A learner’s permit lets you drive only with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. You are required to practice driving for at least 30 hours, with a parent or a legal guardian, or complete a state Department of Education-approved Driver Education Course, before you’re allowed a restricted license.
- Keep track of your practice driving with the AAA Driving Log.
When you turn 16,and have had a learner’s permit for at least 6 months, you can go to your local DMV to take the behind-the-wheel driving test. You’ll also need to take a second vision test and provide proof that you completed 30 hours of practice driving time or completed a state Department of Education-approved Driver Education Course. Once you do that, you can receive your intermediate license. Make sure a parent comes with you to sign the application form.
With an intermediate license, you are allowed to drive without a parent, but you must follow certain rules to help keep you safe. Alabama does not allow teens with intermediate licenses to drive between 12 p.m. and 6 a.m.—some of the riskiest driving hours for all drivers and especially teens. Exceptions are granted for travel to and from work, hunting and fishing activities, school or religious activities and medical reasons. You also may not drive with more than one non-family passenger in the vehicle, not including a parent or legal guardian. These restrictions, however, do not apply if you are driving with an adult (21 years of age or older) licensed passenger seated next to you. Alabama law also prohibits the use of ANY handheld communication device while driving, such as phones, iPods, GPS systems, etc. You and all of your passengers must wear seat belts while you’re driving.
At age 17, you are eligible for a full unrestricted license if you have held a restricted license for six months and have no violations. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses, however, you should continue to follow your parents’ rules.
Now is a good time to set up a parent-teen driving agreement to help you and your parents establish expectations related to both their rules and those of the state.
For more information on the licensing process, visit the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
When your parents aren’t in the car beside you, authority figures are still watching over you. State and local government agencies keep the roads safe for everyone by enforcing traffic laws.
- Expect to present your driver’s license, the vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
- Always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement, whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
- Talk to your parent about what happened.
If you get a ticket or are in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance and many unpleasant consequences.
- Suspended driving privileges
- Driver’s license points
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Insurance rate increases
- StartSmart: Practice Driving – AAA’s tips for parents and teens about practice driving.
- StartSmart: Always Use Seat Belts – 63 percent of 16- to 20-year-olds who die in car crashes aren’t buckled up.
- StartSmart: Distractions and Driving – Read about the most common distractions, and get helpful advice for teens and parents.
- Parent-Teen Driving Agreement – Signing a formal agreement with your parent helps in multiple ways.
- Driver-ZED – Offered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Driver-ZED is a computer-based program to help you practice driving.