Licensing & State Laws
Louisiana’s multi-stage licensing process allow 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.
When teens turn 15 and have completed a driver education course consisting of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of behind the wheel driving instruction, they may apply for a learner’s permit. Teens and their guardians need to visit the local driver exam office and bring a primary identification document and two secondary documents. Typically these documents would be a state-certified copy of the birth certificate, Social Security card and/or a passport or school records. A list of acceptable documents can be found on the Louisiana Department of Public Safety website. Once teens pass the written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test, they’ll be given a learner’s permit.
A learner’s permit lets teens practice driving only with a licensed driver age 21 or older or a sibling at least 18 years of age supervising and sitting in the front seat. Teens must practice driving for at least 50 hours (including 15 hours at night) under the supervision of a licensed parent, guardian, or adult at least age 21 or older.
At age 16, teens who have held a learner’s permit for 180 days may apply for an intermediate license. Parents must accompany teens to the Office of Motor Vehicles to sign the application form or teens can provide a parent’s notarized signature on the form ahead of time. Teens must pass a road skills driving test and provide a signed statement by their parent or guardian attesting that they have completed the 50 hours minimum practice driving time. (Keep track of their practice driving.) Teens must also provide proof of insurance on the vehicle used for the road skills driving test.
A teen with an intermediate license may drive alone, but must follow certain rules to help keep safe. The teen may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent, guardian, licensed adult at least 21 years of age or sibling at least 18 years of age. An intermediate licensee may not drive between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. with more than one non-family passenger under age 21 unless accompanied by a licensed parent, guardian, or adult at least age 21 or older. Teen drivers and all of their passengers must wear seat belts.
At age 17, teens are eligible for a full unrestricted license. Applicants age 17 or older who have not entered the graduated licensing program may apply for full license or a learner’s permit upon completion of a full driver’s education course or a six-hour pre-licensing course.
The Louisiana Department of Public Safety, through the Office of Motor Vehicles, is in charge of licensing for all drivers in the state.
- Conducts the written exam and road test for your learner’s permit and intermediate 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.
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.
State and local police enforce traffic laws and investigate crashes. 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. Talk to your teen about these and other consequences, and explain what to do if stopped by police.
- If stopped by the police, teens should expect to present a valid license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
- If 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.