Washington D.C. Teen Driving, License & Insurance

Information on Washington DC Teen Driving Rules, Insurance Requirements & Drivers License

Washington D.C.'s graduated licensing program known as "GRAD" (Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers) allows young drivers between the ages of 16 and 21 to gain driving experience with certain restrictions in place. As the new driver reaches various milestones they are allowed to graduate to a more permissive license level and eventually attain a full unrestricted license.

Step 1: The Learner's Permit

Teen drivers must be a minimum of 16 years of age to qualify for a learner permit. Applicants must provide proof of residency in Washington D.C. , a birth certificate and social security number. Teen applicants under the age of 18 must provide a Notarized Parental Consent Form and a copy of the parent or legal guardian's Washington D.C. driver license or identification card. Applicants for the learner permit must pass a vision screening and a knowledge test. After all the criteria have been met the new driver will receive a Washington D.C. Learner Permit.

Teen drivers that hold a learner permit must be accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age at all times while driving. The licensed driver must sit next to the permit holder in the front passenger seat at all times.

Learner permit holders are limited to the following driving hours:

  • September through June: Sunday through Thursday from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Friday and Saturday from 6:00 AM to 11:59 PM
  • July and August: From 6:00 AM to 11:59 PM every day

All passengers and the permit holder must wear safety belts at all times. Permit holders may not operate a commercial vehicle or a motor vehicle for purposes of compensation. The use of a cell phone, text messaging, or other electronic devices are prohibited and there is no allowance for hands-free devices.

The parent or legal guardian of a teen driver under the age of 18 will be notified of violations to these restrictions. During the learner permit phase the driver must accrue 40 hours of practice driving with an licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age. These hours must be logged on the 40 hours Certification of Eligibility for the Provisional License Form. Please see the links at the end of this page to download the form. After the permit holder has held their permit for 6 months without a traffic conviction and has completed their 40 hours of logged practice driving they may schedule a road skills test.

Step 2: The Provisional License

Applicants for the provisional license must be a minimum of 16 years and 6 months of age and have held a D.C. learner permit for a minimum of 6 months without a traffic conviction. Applicants must provide the certification of eligibility for provisional license that certifies a minimum 40 hours of practice driving with a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age. The supervising driver must provide a copy of their driver license during the application process. Applicants for a provisional license must pass the Road Skills Test to receive a provisional license. Drivers that hold a provisional license may drive alone, however passengers are limited to 1 licensed passenger that is a minimum of 21 years of age that occupies the front seat next to the provisional license holder. Immediate family members are also allowed as passengers. All passengers and the provisional license holder must wear safety belts at all times.

The permissible driving hours for the provisional license holder are listed below:

  • September through June: Sunday through Thursday from 6:00 AM to 10:59 PM. Friday and Saturday from 6:00 AM to 11:59 PM
  • July and August: From 6:00 AM to 11:59 PM every day

Provisional license holders may drive outside of these restricted hours if they are driving under the following conditions:

  • To or from a place of employment
  • To or from a school sanctioned activity
  • When accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age that occupies the front passenger seat next to the provisional license holder.
  • To or from a religious or athletic event or related training session in which they will participate that is sponsored by the District of Columbia , a civic organization or any organization that takes responsibility for the provisional license holder.

Parents or legal guardians of teen drivers under the age of 18 will be notified of violations to these restrictions. In the provisional license phase the driver must accrue 10 hours of supervised nighttime driving with a fully licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age. These 10 hours must be logged on the Certification of Eligibility for Full Driver's License with conditions form. Please use the links at the end of this page to download the form.

Step 3: Full License with Conditions

You must be a minimum of 17 years of age to qualify for a full license with conditions. Applicants must have held a provisional license for a minimum of 6 months. In addition, the applicant must not have been convicted of a traffic violation or offense in which points were assessed for a minimum of 12 months prior to application. Applicants must provide the Certification of Eligibility for Full Driver's License with conditions form that certifies a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime driving with a fully licensed supervising driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age.

The applicant must provide a copy of the supervising adult's driver license during the application process. Full license with conditions holders may drive alone, however if the teen driver is under the age of 18 they may only drive with 2 passengers under the age of 21 that are not immediate family members.

Teen drivers under the age of 18 may not operate any other vehicle than a passenger vehicle or motorized bicycle. Drivers under the age of 18 may not drive for purposes of compensation. The permissible driving hours for the full license holder with restrictions (that is, the driver is under the age of 18) are listed below:

  • September through June: Sunday through Thursday from 6:00 AM to 10:59 PM. Friday and Saturday from 6:00 AM to 11:59 PM.
  • July and August: From 6:00 AM to 11:59 PM Every Day

 Full license with restrictions holders my drive outside of these restricted hours if they are driving under the following conditions:

  • To or from a place of employment
  • To or from a school sanctioned activity
  • When accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age that occupies the front passenger seat next to the full license with restrictions holder.
  • To or from a religious or athletic event or related training session in which they will participate that is sponsored by the District of Columbia , a civic organization or any organization that takes responsibility for the full license with restrictions holder. Driver and all passengers must wear safety belts at all times. Parents or legal guardians of Teen drivers under the age of 18 will be notified of violations to these restrictions.

All restrictions are lifted when the driver reaches the age of 18.

Insurance Requirements in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. 's Compulsory/No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act requires that all drivers that have vehicles registered in the District of Columbia have minimum liability insurance and no-fault insurance. Coverage must be maintained as long as the vehicle is registered. The amounts listed below reflect the minimum coverage allowable by law.

  • $10,000  Damage to the Property of Others
  • $25,000  3rd Party Liability Per Person
  • $50,000  3rd Party Liability Per Accident
  • $25,000  Uninsured Motorist Per Person
  • $50,000  Uninsured Motorist Per Accident
  • $5,000  Uninsured Motorist Property Damage -- Subject to $200 Deductible

You must provide proof of insurance when you register your vehicle. If your insurance coverage lapses, your vehicle tags and registration must be surrendered to the DMV.

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