The Delaware Learners Permit
Ready to learn how to drive? In Delaware, the process of getting your full, unrestricted Delaware drivers license is divided into a few steps. The first: getting your Delaware Level 1 learners permit. Here’s how it’s done.
DE Learners Permit – Drivers Ed Requirements
When you turn 16, you’ll be able to begin your driving education. Before you can apply for your learners permit, you’ll need to complete a state-approved drivers education course. Drivers ed courses are approved by the Delaware Department of Education, and are offered for free by your high school. (If you’re home-schooled, you can still take the course; contact your local school district for information.) The Delaware drivers ed program consists of both classroom and in-car training, broken down into 30 hours of classroom teaching, 7 hours of in-car observation, and 7 hours of basic behind-the-wheel practice.
Once you’ve completed the formal drivers ed course, you can apply for your Delaware learners permit.
Applying for the Delaware Learners Permit
To apply for your learners permit, you’ll need to visit your local Delaware DMV office. You’ll need to do the following:
- Submit your Delaware learners permit application signed by your parents or legal guardian
- Present your drivers education certificate of completion
- Submit documents proving your name, date of birth, Social Security number and Delaware residency. (Here’s a complete list of identification documents.)
You’ll also need to pay the $40 application fee, as well as take a vision test.
How The Delaware Learners Permit Works
You’ll hold your learners permit for a full year. During the first six months, the following restrictions will apply:
- You may only drive when supervised. The supervisor will be typically be your parent or legal guardian; they’ll need to have held a Class D drivers license for at least 5 years, and will need to ride in the front passenger seat at all times while you’re driving.
- Your driving supervisor will need to certify that you’ve completed 50 hours of driving, 10 of which must be done at night.
After the first six months, you’ll be able to drive unsupervised between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM. No passengers other than the adult supervisor and one other passenger may be in the vehicle during the first year. During the second six-month-period of unsupervised driving when a supervisor is not present, only one other passenger in addition to the driver may be in the vehicle. This passenger limit does not apply to immediate family members. During your time holding a learners permit, you and all of your passengers under 18 must wear a seat belt or be in the proper child safety seat. You may not use a cell phone while you are driving.
The Next Step: Your Delaware Class D Drivers License
After you’ve completed one full year of driving on your Delaware learners permit, that permit automatically converts to the full Class D drivers license. But here’s a heads-up: if you violate any of the Level One learners permit restrictions, the penalties are severe. You’ll receive a 2-month suspension for the first offense, and a 4-month suspension for any subsequent offenses, and that suspension time will be added to your 12 month learners permit period. So follow the rules, drive safely, and you’ll get that drivers license!