Novice Driver

California Novice Driver Laws

California has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

At age 15 1/2, individuals are eligible for a state issued learner’s permit. During this stage, individuals may only drive when supervised by a parent, guardian, or licensed driver at least 25 years old.

  • Individuals 15 1/2 to 17 1/2 years of age must be simultaneously enrolled in or have passed a driver education course to be eligible for a learner’s permit.
  • Drivers must hold the permit for at least 6 months and accumulate at least 50 hours (10 at night) of parental/guardian certified driving experience. Individuals must also complete 6 hours of professional driver training.

At age 16, drivers are eligible for an intermediate license.

  • During the first year of the intermediate license stage individuals may not drive from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., and individuals may not transport any passengers under 20 unless they are supervised by a driver at least 25 years old (secondarily enforced).

At age 17, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted license. Exception allows a class C restricted license to enlistees in the California National Guard.

Keep in mind, as per California’s Distracted Driving Laws, all drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, even in hands-free mode.

More info: Types of Driver’s Licenses in California

This article about California Novice Driver Laws was last updated in 2024. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!