Delaware’s multi-stage Graduated Driver Licensing program is designed to give young drivers additional practical driving experience under the safest possible conditions, motivating them to drive responsibly and graduate to the next level.
Level One Learner’s Permit
When your teen turns 16 and has completed a certified Delaware Driver Education Course, the teen may apply for a Level One Learner’s Permit. You and your teen need to visit a Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles office, bring a state-certified copy of the teen’s birth certificate and the teen’s Delaware Driver Education Certificate (the “blue” certificate). Once you give authorization, pay the license fee and your teen passes a vision test, the teen will be given a Level One Learner’s Permit.
A Level One Learner’s Permit lets your teen drive only with a licensed driver age 25 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. Your teen must hold this learner’s permit for at least 6 months and complete at least 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night, before advancing to the next stage.
At age 16 and 6 months, your teen is allowed to drive without an adult supervisor if the teen has held a Level One Learner’s Permit for 6 months. You must also certify your teen’s practice driving and submit the records to the Delaware Department of Education.
Your teen may then drive without a supervisor, but must follow certain rules to stay safe. Delaware does not allow teens with a Level One Learner’s Permit to drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.—some of the riskiest driving hours for all drivers and especially teens. Exceptions are granted for travel directly to and from work, school and church activities. Delaware teens also may not drive with more than one non-family passenger. Your teen and all passengers must wear seat belts.
At age 17, your teen is eligible for a full unrestricted license if the teen has held the Level One Learner’s Permit for at least one year and satisfied all requirements. If your teen has not completed driver education, your teen cannot begin the process to obtain a driver’s license until age 18.
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.
The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles is in charge of licensing for all drivers in Delaware. The Delaware 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.