Licensing & State Laws
Are you legally allowed to drive without supervision now? Learn more about North Dakota’s multi-stage licensing process.
When you turn 14, you may apply for a learner’s permit with written permission from your parent or legal guardian. Upon passing a written test and a vision test, you’ll be issued a learner’s permit.
With a learner’s permit, you may only drive under the supervision of a licensed driver age 18 or older who has a minimum of three years of driving experience. The supervising driver must occupy the front passenger seat at all times and the number of passengers must not exceed the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended capacity. You should complete driver education and behind-the-wheel training through the Department of Public Instruction or enroll in a state-approved driver’s education course (classroom or online).
When you turn 15 and have driven on an instruction permit for at least 12 months, you may apply for a restricted license.
With your restricted license, you’ll be allowed to drive alone; however, if you’re under the age of 16, you may only drive a vehicle belonging to your parents, legal guardian, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle.. Additionally, if under age 16, you must be accompanied by a licensed adult age 18 or older when driving between sunset or 9 p.m. (whichever is later) and 5 a.m. Exceptions apply when driving to and from work, school and religious activities. The number of passengers remains limited to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended capacity. Keep in mind that until you reach the age of 18, North Dakota law authorizes your parents or legal guardian to withdraw their permission for you to drive. Listen to their direction, respect their knowledge, and follow family rules.
At age 16, you’re eligible for a full, unrestricted operator’s license if you’ve met all requirements of the permit stage.
In all instances, drivers and passengers under age 18 must wear seat belts. Additionally, North Dakota law bans teens under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving, except for emergency purposes. Everyone, regardless of age, is prohibited from reading, composing, or sending text messages or accessing the Internet while driving.
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 North Dakota Department of Transportation.
- 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
The North Dakota Department of Transportation is in charge of licensing for all drivers in North Dakota. All written exams and behind-the-wheel tests required for your driver’s license can be performed at any of their facilities. Please check in advance for locations, hours, fees, plus acceptable forms of identification you’ll need to present when applying for each stage of licensing — and note that you must be accompanied by your parent or legal guardian when appearing for your road test. Study materials to help you get ready for the exams are also available.
- 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.