Alabama Teen Driving Laws, Insurance Requirements & Drivers License

Learn about the requirements for teens to obtain a driver’s license in Alabama and what insurance is required.

Alabama has a graduated license system to advance new drivers to being unrestricted licensed operators. However, there are a few rules, regulations, and hurdles that are important to know.

Stage I Learner's Permit

At age 15, Alabama teens are eligible to apply for the Stage I Learner's Permit. The application must be approved by the parent or guardian and include a birth certificate to verify age. The applicant must then pass a written exam covering Alabama traffic laws and a vision test. However, applicants who have successfully completed driver's education don't have to take the written exam.

The permit allows the holder to operate a motor vehicle only under the supervision of a licensed driver who's at least 21 years old. The supervising driver must be in the front seat at all times.

After holding the learner's permit for at least six months without any violations, the teen can apply for a Stage II Restricted Regular Driver's License.

Stage II Restricted Regular Driver's License

Prior to applying for the Stage II license, the teen must either complete 50 hours of certified, supervised driving or complete a behind-the-wheel driver's education course. The applicant must also be at least 16 years old and have held the State I permit for six months without any traffic or rule violations. With all prerequisites completed, the teen can take the driving exam to obtain a Stage II license.

The Stage II restricted license allows the holder to drive unsupervised from 6 a.m. until midnight. Driving outside of this time is allowed when supervised by a licensed driver who's at least 21 years old or when:

  • driving to and from school activities
  • driving to and from employment
  • fishing or hunting (must hold fishing or hunting license), or
  • there is an emergency.

Stage II holders are also limited to only one non-family passenger. Supervising adults do not count as passengers for this limit. But any and all passengers must wear seatbelts.

Stage I and II drivers are prohibited from using any form of mobile communication device while driving.

Violations

A violation of standard traffic laws or of the license restrictions will result in fines and delayed license progression—a driver must be violation-free for six months before advancing to the next license, so any restriction violation will delay the process an additional six months.

Restriction violation. A graduated license restriction violation is a traffic violation worth two demerit points and will result in a $150 to $350 fine. The offender must also complete a certified defensive driving course for a first-offense violation. A second restriction violation causes the driver's license to revert to a Stage I learner's permit and the driver must wait six months before reapplying for the Stage II license.

Moving violations. Moving violations will similarly delay the advancement of a graduated license. However, two moving violations (or a single major violation like reckless driving or racing) will result in four demerit points and a 60-day license suspension.

Stage III Unrestricted License

After the teen holds the Stage II license for at least six months without violations and turns 17 years old, the license restrictions will be removed.

School Points System

Alabama also has school performance requirements for obtaining a driver's license. For each school point a student gets (after age 12), the teen must wait an additional week before applying for a permit or license (up to one-year delay).

Violation

Points

In-school suspension

1 per day

Out-of-school suspension

2 per day

Alternative school placement

6

Expulsion

20

For example, a student with five days of out-of-school suspension will have to wait ten weeks after his or her 15th birthday to apply for a permit. A full year without added points will reduce the point total by half, and two years clean will wipe away all points.

Insurance

Alabama requires all vehicles driven to be properly insured. Alabama requires a minimum liability insurance policy of at least $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 property damage per accident.

Failure to carry proper insurance can result in suspension of the driver's license or vehicle registration.

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