Licensing & State Laws
Mississippi’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.
At age 14, teens can apply for a 14-year-old learner’s permit, for use only in driver education vehicles with a driver education instructor. To apply for the 14-year-old learner’s permit, teens must be able to provide proof of being enrolled in a driver education program.
At age 15, teens can apply for a regular learner’s permit. Teens must visit their local driver exam office and bring a completed application with notarized signatures of both parents or guardians, a state-certified copy of the teen’s birth certificate, a Social Security card and proof of school enrollment. Once they pass the written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test, they’ll be given a learner’s permit.
A learner’s permit allows teens to practice driving only with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat.
When teens turn 16 and have had a learner’s permit for at least 12 months, they can go to the local DMV to take the driving test. They’ll also need to take a second vision test and will need to bring the same documents as for a learner’s permit. Teens must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or submit an application with the parent or guardian’s notarized signature on it. Once they pass the tests, they will be issued an intermediate license.
Teens with intermediate licenses may drive unsupervised, but must follow certain rules to help keep them safe. Mississippi does not allow teens with intermediate licenses to drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday-Thursday nights or 11:30 p.m. – 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, except for driving to and from work. Teens with intermediate licenses may drive during restricted hours only if supervised by a parent, guardian or other person age 21 or older who holds a valid driver’s license and who is occupying the seat beside the driver. The driver and all passengers must wear seat belts while the teen is driving.
At age 16 ½, teens are eligible for a full, unrestricted license if they have held an intermediate license for at least 6 months. They must show proof that they are in school by presenting a Certification of School Attendance form obtained during the last 30 days from the school they are attending. Mississippi does not place restrictions on teens with full licenses, but AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety 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.
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.
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.