When applying for an Alabama driver permit with Department of Public Safety, it is important to know all the permit requirements. Make sure you have the met the DPS requirements and that you have the necessary documents ready.
The State of Alabama employs an age-based Graduated Driver Licensing program (GDL). This requires sequential steps for a teenager to get a full driver’s license, and aims to help them develop good driving habits as they become independent drivers. Teenagers who are 15 years old can get a restricted learner’s permit if they are enrolled in a driver’s education or training program and have successfully passed the written knowledge exam at the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The GDL is a three-phase program. At age 15 the first phase is a learner license, the second in a restricted license and the third is a regular driver’s license. A driver’s education course is not mandatory for a license, but it is highly recommended, especially if one is offered in the applicant’s high school. It will provide the practice and knowledge that will be a big help for passing both the written and driving tests. The course will satisfy the mandatory 30 hours of practice driving.
Individuals with a restricted learner’s license may not drive a motor vehicle unless they are accompanied by a person 21 or older and has an Alabama driver license or is a certified driving instructor. They must be sitting in the front seat next to the driver. A learner’s license is valid for four years. When the teenager turns 16, he or she can get a learner’s license without enrolling first in a driver education course.
To apply for a learner’s permit, the teenager must submit certain documents at the DPS office. These include:
- An original or certified U.S. birth certificate (no photocopies)
- A social security card or proof of one
- Proof of school enrollment or graduation/GED certificate
- Proof of enrollment in driver’s education course for those 15 years old
- Payment of fees (no checks) $5 testing fee and $23.50 license fee
In Alabama, the written exam has multiple choice questions with four possible answers about state-specific traffic laws, rules of safe driving and road signs. The questions are all taken from the Alabama Driver License Manual. There are 20 questions on the test and applicants must get 14 questions correct to pass the test. Applicants must also pass a vision test. This will determine that they can see well enough to operate a motor vehicle safely.
To move to the next stage, the restricted license, applicants must have held their learner’s permit for at least six months, and provide documents that prove they have completed at least 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice. They must submit a GDL form that is signed by a parent or legal guardian or by a certified driving instructor who verifies the driving hours or proof of having completed a state-approved driver’s education course. Applicants must be 16 years old and have completed the above requirements. The license fee for the Stage II restricted license is $23.50.
With a Stage II license, applicants may drive unsupervised under certain conditions:
- They may not drive between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. unless they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or by a licensed driver who is at least 21 and has been designated by the parent
- They may only have one passenger other than immediate family members
- They may not use a cell phone or other handheld device while driving
Applicants must also pass a road test. This can be done by making an appointment for the test at the DPS. Applicants must hold the restricted Stage II license for at least six months and have turned 17 before applying for a Stage III unrestricted license.