Teen/Graduated Driver License

What is the Graduated Driver License Program?

Tennessee’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program is a multi-tiered program designed to ease young drivers into full driving privileges as they become more mature and develop their driving skills. By requiring more supervised practice, the State of Tennessee hopes to save lives and prevent tragic injuries.  It places certain restrictions on teens under the age of 18 who have learner permits and driver licenses. The program requires parent/legal guardian involvement, and emphasizes the importance of a good driving record.

The Graduated Driver License law provides for three phases of licensing for teens under 18 years of age:

  • Learner Permit
  • Intermediate Restricted License
  • Intermediate Unrestricted License

The procedures for obtaining a driver license for those under the age of 18 are covered in Section A-3 of the Comprehensive Driver Manual. Review Section A-3 of the Comprehensive Driver Manual for additional information on the Graduated Driver License Program.

How do I get a Learner Permit or Intermediate License?

For the issuance of a Tennessee Learner Permit:

  • Must be at least 15 years of age
  • Pass a standard vision screening.
  • Pass the Class D knowledge exam. Access practices tests online in e-Services.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you will also need to have:
    • A parent or legal guardian (with proof of guardianship) present to sign a minor/teenage affidavit and financial responsibility form.
    • Show proof of school attendance from a current Tennessee school or a letter from the school in your previous state that confirms your attendance during enrollment in that school. This letter must be signed and dated by the principal or guidance counselor no more than 30 days prior to your Tennessee application.
  • Provide all required documentation.

For the issuance of a Tennessee Intermediate Driver License:

  • Must be at least 16 years of age
  • Must have held a valid learner permit for a minimum of 180 days.
  • Must have 50 hours of behind the wheel driving experience (including 10 hours of night driving).
  • 50-Hour Certification form must be signed by your parent, guardian or driving instructor confirming this experience.
  • Pass a road skills test.
  • Provide all required documentation.
  • A vision screening will be required only if you are exchanging a learner permit or license from another state.

Are you taking a road skills test?

Any applicant, holding a learner permit, visiting a Driver Services Center to take a skills/road test, must be accompanied by an individual, 21-years-or-older, with a valid driver license.

A learner permit only authorizes a person to operate a motor vehicle whenever the permit holder is accompanied by a person who is at least 21-years-of-age and has a valid driver license. T.C.A. § 55-50-311.

If a permit holder visits the center and is not accompanied by licensed driver, the permit holder will not be allowed to proceed with the test.


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