Licensing & State Laws

Arkansas’ multi-stage licensing process allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time. The learner’s permit and intermediate stages are key steps.

Learner’s Permit

At age 14, teens may apply for a learner’s permit in the state of Arkansas. To do so, both teen and parent must visit their local driver exam office and bring a state-certified copy of the teen’s birth certificate, proof of enrollment in school and proof of grade point average of at least 2.0. Teens must pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test to receive a learner’s permit.

With a learner’s permit, teens may only drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. The learner’s permit lets teens practice driving with an experienced adult driver. Teens must maintain the learner’s permit until their 16th birthday before they may advance on to the intermediate stage.

Intermediate License

When teens turn 16, have held a learner’s permit for at least 6 months and have been crash- and conviction-free for 6 months, they qualify for the intermediate license. When you go with your teen to your local driver exam office to take the driving test, bring the same documentation as required for the learner’s permit: birth certificate, proof of enrollment in school and proof of a minimum 2.0 GPA. If teens are under 18 but have graduated from high school, they will need to show proof of their graduation.

With an intermediate license, teens are allowed to drive without a parent, but must follow certain rules to help keep them safe. Arkansas does not allow teens with intermediate licenses to drive between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.—some of the riskiest driving hours for all drivers and especially teens – unless accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older. Arkansas teens also may not drive with more than one non-family passenger under age 21 unless accompanied by a licensed driver 21 or older. Teen drivers and all of their passengers are required to wear safety belts.

Full License

At age 18, teens are eligible for a full unrestricted license provided that in the last year they have not been at fault in a serious crash or been convicted of a serious traffic violation.

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.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, through its Office of Driver Services, and the Arkansas State Police are in charge of licensing for all drivers in the state.

The Arkansas State Police conducts the written exam and road test for the learner’s permit and intermediate license.The Arkansas State Police and Office of Driver Services provide study materials to help teens get ready for the exams.

The Office of Driver Services keeps track of license status and can suspend a license if the license holder gets too many tickets, doesn’t keep insurance on the car or commits other violations.

Visit the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration for more information.

Remind your teen that police can and will enforce all requirements on seat belt use, drinking and driving, and other laws. Breaking the law can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.

  • If stopped by the police, teens should present a valid license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  • Whether stopped as a driver or passenger, teens should always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement.
  • If in any kind of situation involving law enforcement, teens should talk to their parents about it, because this can create a learning experience.

If your teen gets a ticket or is involved in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance. Judges deal seriously and directly with teen traffic violations. They can assess fines and suspend driving privileges for traffic offenses – even for a first offense, depending on the type of violation.