Licensing & State Laws
Are you legally allowed to drive without supervision now? Learn more about Arizona’s multi-stage licensing process.
Graduated Instruction Permit
When you turn 15 and 6 months, you may apply for a graduated instruction permit. You and a parent or guardian need to visit your local driver exam office with two forms of identification. Once you pass the written driver’s knowledge test, pay a $7 fee and pass a vision test, you’ll be given your graduated instruction permit.
A graduated instruction permit lets you drive only with a licensed driver age 21 year or older seated in the front seat. The learner’s permit lets you practice driving with an experienced adult driver. Once you have practiced driving for at least 30 hours (including 10 hours at night) with a licensed driver or you complete a driver’s education course, you are allowed to get a graduated driver license.
Graduated Driver License
When you turn 16 and have had your graduated instruction permit for at least six months, you can go to your local MVD office or a approved driving school to take the behind the wheel driving test. You’ll also need to provide proof that you completed 30 hours of practice driving time. A parent or guardian must accompany you to sign the application form or you must present an application with your parent or guardian’s signature notarized on it. You will need two forms of ID, a parent or guardian’s signature and $25 application fee. Once you do that, you can receive your graduated driver’s license.
- Keep track of your practice driving with the AAA Driving Log.
When you have a graduated driver license, you’re allowed to drive without a parent, but you must follow certain rules to help keep you safe. Arizona does not allow teens with graduated licenses to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. — some of the riskiest driving hours for all drivers and especially teens. Exceptions are granted for travel to and from work, school activities and medical reasons. Arizona teens also may not drive with more than one non-family passenger under age 18. These restrictions, however, do not apply if you are driving with an adult, licensed passenger seated next to you. You and all of your passengers must wear safety belts while you’re driving.
Unrestricted Graduated Driver License
At age 16 ½, if you don’t have any outstanding extensions of the restricted driving period or suspension of driving privileges during the first six months of restricted driving, you may drive without restriction until you are eligible to apply for a Class D driver license beginning at age 18. Note that until you turn 18, you must have held your graduated license for at least six months before obtaining your unrestricted license. So if you received your graduated license after you turned 16, you’ll have to wait six months from the date you obtained it to apply for your unrestricted license.
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 Arizona Department of Transportation.
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.
The Arizona Department of Transportation, through its Motor Vehicle Department, is in charge of licensing for all drivers in the state. The AZDOT:
- Conducts the written exam, eye exam and road test for your graduated instruction permit and graduated driver’s license.
- Provides study materials to help you get ready for the exams.
- Keeps track of your license status and can suspend your license if you get too many tickets, don’t keep insurance on your car or commit other violations.
- 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.