Gator Guide to the Graduated Licensing Program

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The Gator’s Eye brings you an easy guide to obtaining a Student’s Driver’s License.

S. Manku, Student Life Section Editor

High school brings many things: more freedom, more classes and driving! Most people look forward to getting their license but it’s not as easy as you might think. The graduated licensing program can be extremely confusing so here’s a step-by-step guide to resolve that confusion!

First off, you need to take Drivers’s Ed. You can register for Driver’s Ed once you are 14 ½ years old. You have two options for this which are through Green Level (or your school) or through a private instructor. Private instruction costs more, but if you are only available at a certain time, it’s probably the way to go. If you want to go through Green Level, you need to register through Jordan Driving School’s website. It costs $65 for the classroom portion and if you choose to take behind the wheel through Green Level, it is free. Currently all Green Level Driver’s Ed classes are full until December 16th of this year. 

Once you have completed Driver’s Ed, the next step is getting your permit. You can get your permit once you are 15 and in order to get one you need to obtain an eligibility certificate from student services. Currently, the DMV is not taking walk-ins so you will need to make an appointment at their website. Once you are at the DMV, you will need to pass a road sign, written and vision test. You need a score of 80%, or 20/25 questions right on the written test and you must get all the road signs correct, so make sure you are well prepared. You will also have to pay a fee of $21.50 to get your permit. You can only drive with a supervising adult with a permit and for the first six months, you can only drive from 5 a.m. to 9.p.m. 

Once you have your permit, you need to log 60 supervised hours of driving. 10 of which must be at night. You can only log up to 10 hours a week. You can fill out a paper driving log, or download the RoadReady app on your phone to log your hours. If you drive for seven minutes a day, you’ll be on track to getting your license! However, if you get any moving convictions, seatbelt or mobile phone violations you will be ineligible to get your license and you may face other consequences. Another important rule to note is that if you are driving on a learner’s permit, you can only have one other non-family member who is under 21 in the car with you. You may have as many family members who are under 21 in the car with you. But if you have family members, you cannot have a non family member with you. 

After you have logged your hours and held a permit for 12 months, you can apply to get your level 2 limited provisional license (note that the 12 months must be from the day you got your permit and not necessarily your 15th birthday). In pre-covid times, this would’ve meant that you’d have to take a road test but as of today, November 8, 2020, road tests have been suspended. According to the News & Observer, road tests will resume once N.C. has reached phase 3 of the reopening plan. You need to make an appointment and select “Teen Driver Level 2” using the DMV website. When you get to the DMV, you will need to show your driving log and proof of liability insurance to get your license. There is a one time fee for the level 2 license of $21.50. With a level 2 license, you can drive unsupervised from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or “while traveling to and from work, and to work with a volunteer rescue, fire or emergency medical service.” You can only have one non-family member who is under 21 in the car with you if you are unsupervised.

Once you have held your level 2 license for at least 6 months, you can apply for your Level 3 full provisional license. You will also need to log 12 hours of driving but these hours may be unsupervised. Of course, you may only get your full license if you don’t have any “convictions of motor vehicle moving violations or seat belt/mobile telephone infractions within the last six months.” With your level 3 license, you may drive unsupervised at any time but there is a yearly fee of $5.50. 

If you’re confused on any of the topics mentioned above, click on the embedded links to help you. Drive safely!