Licensing & State Laws
To get your driver’s license in Delaware, you’ll move through licensing stages. As you progress, you’ll also need your parents’ permission at each step.
Level One Learner’s Permit
When you turn 16 and have completed a certified Delaware Driver Education Course, you may apply for a Level One Learner’s Permit. You and a parent or guardian need to visit a Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles office, bring a state-certified copy of your birth certificate and a Delaware Driver Education Certificate. Once your parent/guardian gives authorization, pays the $40 Class D license fee and you pass an eye screen, you’ll be given your Level One Learner’s Permit.
A Level One Learner’s Permit lets you drive only with a licensed driver age 25 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. The Level One Learner’s Permit lets you practice driving with an experienced adult driver. You must practice driving for at least 50 hours (including 10 hours at night) with a parent or legal guardian.
After you’ve held a Level One Learner’s Permit for 6 months, have your parents certify your practice driving and submit proof to the Department of Education. You can then begin driving without a parent, but you must follow certain rules to help keep you safe. Delaware does not allow teens with a Level One Learner’s Permit to drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. without supervision—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 under age 18. You and all of your passengers must wear seat belts while you’re driving.
- Keep track of your practice driving with the AAA Driving Log.
At age 17, you are eligible for a full unrestricted license if you have held the Level One Learner’s Permit for one year and have taken a certified Delaware Driver Education Course. Without driver education, you cannot obtain driver’s license until age 18.
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 the laws in your state.
For more information, contact the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles.
The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles, through its Driver Services Program, is in charge of licensing for all drivers in the state. The DMV:
- Conducts the testing for your Level One Learner’s Permit.
- 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.
Your parents will set rules as you learn to drive. But state and local police are involved, too, enforcing traffic laws and investigating crashes. By enforcing laws and requirements on seat belt use, distracted driving, drinking and driving, and teen license restrictions, police keep everyone on the road safer. Breaking laws can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.
- If pulled over by the police, present your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
- If stopped as a driver or passenger, always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement.
- If in any kind of situation involving law enforcement, talk to your parents about it immediately afterward.
If you get a ticket or are involved in a crash, you may need to appear in court, whether you believe you were at fault or not. This is serious stuff: Judges often assess fines and suspend driving privileges for traffic offenses – even a first offense.
Police and courts are there when things go wrong. You and your parents can help keep things right.
- Use a parent-teen driving agreement from AAA.
- Keep your parents in the know about who you ride with.
- Let your parents know when and where you’re headed.
- 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.