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What is West Virginia’s Graduated Driver’s License Program?

December 18, 2023

In an effort to aid young rivers in developing safe driving skills and being able to pass the driver’s license requirements for the state, West Virginia’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has implemented a program called the Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL). The program aims to make WV a safe place to drive. The Charleston West Virginia car accident lawyers emphasize the importance of adhering to safe driving habits to prevent accidents and promote road safety for both yourself and others.

Levels of the Program

The Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) has three levels that must be completed. Listed below are the eligibility requirements and details about each of the three levels.

Level 1

Level 1 in the GDL program is the Instructional Permit, also known as the West Virginia Learner’s Permit. For eligibility, you must be 15 years old and enrolled in school. You can apply for the learner’s permit after passing a written knowledge exam and a vision test. By passing the knowledge test, the young person demonstrates a basic understanding of traffic laws.

Included in this test are road signs, traffic signals, and signs. An understanding of basic traffic laws informs the state that the new driver has a working knowledge of safety while they learn to operate the vehicle. This type of permit requires parental consent or the consent of the student’s legal guardian. They must also submit proof that they are enrolled or have completed school that is issued by their county’s school board.

To drive under level 1, certain regulations must be followed. These are listed below:

  • The driver with the learner’s permit must have a 21-year-old licensed driver accompanying them in the front seat.
  • No more than two passengers who are not immediate family, in addition to the 21-year-old who is the supervising passenger, can ride with the permitted driver at one time.
  • With a Level 1 permit, drivers must only operate vehicles between 5 am and 10 pm.
  • West Virginia has a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol use for drivers and occupants who are under the legal drinking age of 21.
  • As is the case with all drivers, cell phone use or texting while driving is not allowed.
  • Seatbelt use for the driver and passengers is mandatory.

Level 2

Level 2 Intermediate Permits are available at age 16. West Virginians are permitted to take the road skills test. To do so, they must submit a signed permission form from their parent or legal guardian that states they have completed 50 hours of driving practice, with a minimum of 10 of those hours taking place at night.

The driver must have had a learner’s permit without any violations for at least six months. And as is the case with Level 1, the driver must prove their status as a student.

Student drivers with a Level 2 Intermediate Permit may drive with an adult 21 or over between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am. Between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm, an adult is not required to supervise if they are on their way to a job, a school activity, an emergency requiring the driver to operate the vehicle so as to prevent injury or death to someone else, or a religious activity.

Level 2 drivers must avoid moving violations or violations of the GDL program. Otherwise, their license can be revoked until they are 18, or depending on the violation, longer. Listed below are the regulations Level 2 drivers must adhere to:

  • Drivers cannot operate a vehicle occupied by anyone other than family members for the first six months.
  • During the second six months, the driver is allowed one non-family member passenger in their vehicle.
  • They must adhere to the zero-tolerance policy concerning drinking and driving.
  • Cell phone use while driving is prohibited.
  • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.

Level 3

Level 3 License with Complete Driving Privileges

At 17 years of age, West Virginians may obtain their full driver’s license. The driver has to show they are enrolled in school or have completed their education. During this part of the GDL program, the driver has to have completed Level 2 with no traffic violations.

Restricted hours are lifted for the Level 3 driver, meaning they can drive at any time of day or night. Though some restrictions remain, these are included in the list below:

  • Until age 21, there is still a zero tolerance for alcohol enforced.
  • Cell phone usage while driving is strictly prohibited.
  • Seatbelt use is required for all occupants.

For More Information

If you require more information, visit West Virginia’s DMV for an online brochure detailing the GDL program. The site provides a list of regional offices, information about testing, and a study guide. The details necessary for drivers to participate in the GDL program can be found there.