California Teen Driving Laws, Insurance Requirements & Drivers License

Information on California Teen Driving Rules, Insurance Requirements & Drivers License

The California Provisional Permit for Teen Drivers

Teen drivers wishing to apply for a provisional permit must be between 15½ and under 18 years old. To receive a provisional permit the teen driver must pass a vision exam, and a sign and traffic laws test. Applicants between 15 ½ and 17 ½ years old must prove one of the following

  • they have completed driver education and are currently enrolled in a drivers training course.
  • they have completed driver education and drivers training, or
  • they are currently enrolled in an approved integrated driver education and driver training program.

Teen drivers over 17½ but under 18 years old can get a provisional permit without driver education and driver training but will not be able to take the driving test until they turn 18 years old. Teens between 17½ but under 18 must still pass the written test to receive a provisional permit.

Once a teen driver has received a provisional permit, they are allowed to drive only when a parent, guardian, spouse or adult 25 years of age or older holding a valid California driver license is present. The adult must sit in close enough proximity to the teen driver to take control of the vehicle if necessary. The provisional permit holder is not allowed to drive alone.

Teen Eligibility for the California Driving Test

Before the teen driver is eligible to take their driving test they must meet the following criteria:

  • they must be 16
  • they must have held their permit for six months
  • they must have completed driver education
  • they must have completed six hours of professional driver training
  • they must have completed 50 hours of driving practice with adult – certified
  • 10 hours of the 50 hours of driving practice above must have been at night

Once the teen driver has passed the driving test they will receive an interim license that is valid for 60 days. Prior to the 60 day expiration, you should receive your photo license by mail.

Accepting Liability for Minors and Minimum Liability Insurance

The State of California requires the parent or guardian of a teen driver to accept financial responsibility for the new driver. Vehicle owners and drivers must carry the following minimum limits:

  • $15,000 for injury or death of 1 person per accident
  • $30,000 for injury or death of 2 or more persons per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage for each accident

The teen driver must carry proof of financial responsibility such as liability insurance in the vehicle at all times. The teen must provide the policy and an identification card as proof of coverage.


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