Louisiana uses a graduated licenses system to advance unlicensed drivers from an instructional permit to a learner’s license, and, finally, a valid driver’s license.
To obtain any license in Louisiana, the driver must complete a driver’s education course. Ninety days prior to turning 15 years old, a teen can begin taking the 30 hours of required classroom driver’s education instruction. During the classroom portion, the student must pass the vision test as well as a test covering local traffic signs and traffic laws. Driver’s education participants must also apply for an instruction permit which will authorizes the operation of a vehicle while under the supervision of an instructor. At 15 years old, a driver’s education student can begin the eight hours of required behind-the-wheel training.
Successful completion of the driver’s education course allows the student to apply for a learner’s license. A learner’s license permits the holder to drive only under the supervision of a parent, licensed adult who’s at least 21 years old, licensed instructor, or a sibling who’s at least 18 years old.
However, these learning drivers generally cannot transport any passengers other than the authorized supervisors. Other student drivers are permitted to be in the vehicle if with a licensed instructor.
After holding a learner’s license for at least 180 days, 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. The parent or guardian needs to certify that the applicant has completed at least 50 hours of supervised drive time, of which fifteen hours was driven at night.
Intermediate license holders can drive only from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and cannot carry more than one non-family member passenger between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. These restrictions don’t apply if the licensee is supervised by a parent, licensed adult who’s at least 21 years old, licensed instructor, or a sibling who’s at least 18 years old.
Violation of these restrictions and other traffic violations can result in fines and may also preclude the driver from advancing to the next license level for 30 to 180 days. The parent or guardian of the student driver can also be held liable and convicted. A parent who permits an unlicensed ward to violate restrictions faces a fine of $100 to $500 and up to six months in jail.
After holding an intermediate driver’s license for 12 months and completing all requirements explained above without violations, a teen can apply for an unrestricted driver’s license.
Before any driver can lawfully operate a vehicle in Louisiana, the vehicle must be properly insured. Mandatory liability insurance must include at least $15,000 bodily injury per person, $30,000 bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 property damage per accident.
Failure to have valid insurance is a traffic violation. The officer is permitted to immediately impound the vehicle and seize the license plate. The vehicle can be released once the driver or vehicle owner shows valid proof of insurance. The license plate can be reinstated after a $150 fine ($250 for second offense) is paid.
A person convicted of failing to provide valid proof of insurance will also pay a fine of $500 to $1,000. A violation that involved an injury accident will additionally result in a 180-day registration revocation and a one-year driver’s license suspension.