Mississippi uses a graduated licenses system to advance unlicensed drivers from a learner's permit to an intermediate license, and, finally, a valid driver's license.
At the age of 15, Mississippi teens can apply for a learner's permit at the local driving examiner. The applicant must provide:
After all the documents have been submitted, the teen can take the vision exam and written test covering local traffic signs and traffic laws to receive a learner's permit.
The learner's permit allows the holder to drive a motor vehicle under the direct supervision of a licensed adult who is at least 21 years old and is sitting in the front seat.
At age 14, Mississippi teens can enroll in driver's education which consists of at least 30 hours of classroom time, six hours driving instruction, and instruction on how to behave during a traffic stop. Teens enrolled in driver's education can apply and test for a learner's permit before turning 15. However, until turning 15, the permit can be used to drive only under the direct supervision of a driver's education instructor.
After holding a learner's license for at least one year, a driver who's 16 years old or older can apply for an intermediate license. The applicant must pass the driving test and be free of any traffic violations for the last year.
Intermediate license holders can drive from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Driving is permitted outside of these hours only when traveling to or from employment or when supervised by a licensed adult who's at least 21 years old.
After holding an intermediate driver's license for six months without any moving violations, a teen can apply for an unrestricted driver's license. Learner's permit holders who are at least 17 years old and have never had a moving violation can take the driving test and skip the intermediate license stage.
Any violation of the graduated license restrictions can result in a fine of $5 to $250 and one to six months in jail. However, the judge is permitted to set aside a conviction and instead suspend the driver's license for up to 90 days. The judge may also require a defensive training course.
If at any point the teen drops out of school or has excessive absences, the Department of Education will notify the Department of Public Safety and the driver's license will be suspended. The license may be reinstated only after the principal consents to reinstatement and the student has nine months without any unlawful absences.
At all times, all drivers and passengers must wear seat belts and the driver is prohibited from texting or accessing social media while driving. Texting while driving carries a $100 fine.
Before any driver can lawfully operate a vehicle in Mississippi, the vehicle must be properly insured. Mandatory liability insurance must include at least $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 property damage per accident.
Failure to have valid insurance is a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine. The driver's license will also be suspended for one year or until valid proof of insurance is provided and all fines are paid.