Licensing & State Laws

West Virginia’s multi-stage licensing process allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time. The learner’s license and intermediate stages are key steps.

Instruction Permit

At age 15, teens can apply for an instruction permit in the state of West Virginia. To do so, both teen and parent/legal guardian must visit their local driver exam office with a current school eligibility form and a certified copy of the teen’s birth certificate or passport and Social Security card.

Teens must pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test to receive an instruction permit.

With an instruction permit, teens may only drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. Teens are required to practice driving for at least 50 hours, including 10 hours at night, with a parent or a legal guardian, or to pass a state-approved driver’s education course, before they’re allowed an intermediate license.

Intermediate License

When teens turn 16, have had an instruction permit for at least 6 months and have completed 50 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night, they can apply for this intermediate license. They also must pass a behind-the-wheel driving test and provide proof of practice driving time or certificate of completion for a state-approved driver education course. Applicants must arrive at the testing location in a lawful manner and teens must submit a current school eligibility form.

A teen with an intermediate license is allowed to drive alone, but must follow certain restrictions. The teen may not drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. (some exceptions are granted). During the first 6 months of having an intermediate license, West Virginia teens also may not drive with any non-family passenger under age 20. During the second 6 months, teens are allowed to drive with one non-family passenger under 20.Teen drivers and all passengers are required to wear safety belts.

Full License

At age 17, teens are eligible for a full, unrestricted license if they have held an intermediate license for one year and been free of traffic convictions for at least one year. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.

A parent-teen driving agreement can help you 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 West Virginia Department of Transportation, through its Division of Motor Vehicles, is in charge of licensing for all drivers in West Virginia. The WV 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.

Visit the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

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.