West Virginia’s graduated license system requires teen drivers to advance through two minor licenses (level 1 and level 2) before obtaining an unrestricted license.
At age 15, West Virginia teens can apply for an instruction permit by submitting the application to the local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. The application must include:
Finally, the applicant must pass the vision exam and a test covering West Virginia's traffic signs and traffic laws to receive an instruction permit.
An instruction permit authorizes the holder to drive from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. under the direct supervision of a certified instructor or a licensed adult age 21 or older. In addition to the supervisor, no more than two nonfamily member passengers can ride along in the vehicle. All passengers must wear seatbelts.
A violation of any of these restrictions is a misdemeanor and carries fine of $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, and $75 for a third or subsequent offense.
After holding an instruction permit for at least 180 days, a 16-year-old can apply for a level 2 intermediate driver’s license. The application must still be signed by a parent and include a Driver Eligibility Certificate. The applicant must also have completed a certified driver’s education course or a certified driving log. The certified driving log must be signed by a parent or other responsible 21-year-old adult verifying the teen has completed 50 hours of supervised driving, including ten nighttime hours. The teen must then pass a driving test to obtain the level 2 intermediate license.
The intermediate license authorizes the holder to drive unsupervised but only:
For the first six months, the holder cannot transport any passengers who are younger than 20 years old. After six months, the holder can only transport one passenger who’s younger than 20 years old. Family members are exempt from this limitation, but all passengers must wear seatbelts.
A restriction violation is a misdemeanor and results in a fine of $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, and $75 for a third or subsequent offense. Any violation of these restrictions or moving violation can delay license advancement and will require the teen driver to complete a driver improvement program. A second violation will result in the teen’s intermediate license being revoked until he or she turns 18 years old.
Teens who have held an intermediate license for one year without any violations can apply for a level 3 class E license. The application still requires the Driver Eligibility Certificate and parental consent. The driver must also complete the driver improvement program.
Upon issuance, the driver’s license is no longer subject to the curfew and passenger restrictions of the intermediate license. Drivers who are at least 18 years old are eligible for a full class E license without having to go through the minor requirements.
All teens are prohibited from using a cellphone while driving. A violation carries a fine of $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, and $75 for a third or subsequent offense.
Before any driver can lawfully operate a vehicle in West Virginia, the vehicle must be properly insured. West Virginia 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.
Criminal. A law enforcement officer can issue a citation for driving without insurance. Convicted motorists face a misdemeanor conviction, a $200 to $500 fine and/or 15 days to one year in jail.
Civil. Failure to carry insurance will also result in the DMV suspending the driver’s license. The suspension is 30 days unless the driver can pay the $200 fine and show valid insurance prior to the suspension date. A second offense in five years will result in a 90-day suspension. In either case, the DMV will revoke the vehicle’s registration until the driver shows proof of insurance.