A provisional instruction permit is used to practice with a parent, guardian, licensed driver twenty-five (25) years of age or older, or a licensed or certified driving instructor. The person must have a valid driver license in his/her possession and must sit close enough to take control of the vehicle at any time. A provisional instruction permit does not let you drive alone — not even to a DMV office to take the driving test.
How to obtain a provisional instruction permit you must be at least 15½ but under 18 years of age:
- Fill out the DMV application form (DL 44).
- Obtain your parents’ or guardians’ signatures on the application form.
- Present an acceptable Birth Date/Legal Presence document.
- Provide your social security number.
- Pay the required application fee.
- Pass an eye exam.
- Have your picture taken.
- Give a thumb print.
- Pass a law test. If you incorrectly answer 9 or more questions (46 total questions) on the law test, you must wait 1 week before taking it again.
NOTE: The provisional instruction permit is not valid until you start your behind-the-wheel driver training with an instructor or reach age 17½.
What are the restrictions for a provisional permit?
Effective January 1, 2006, you must be accompanied and supervised by a licensed parent, guardian, other licensed driver twenty-five (25) years of age or older, or a licensed or certified driving instructor when you:
Transport passengers under twenty (20) years of age at any time for the first 12 months.
Drive between 11 PM and 5 AM for the first 12 months.
Are there any exceptions or restrictions?
When reasonable transportation is not available and it is necessary for you to drive, the law grants the following exceptions for minors to drive at night between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM or to transport an immediate family member unaccompanied and unsupervised.
California law requires that you must carry a note explaining why you must drive and when the necessity will end. Here are the most common exemptions:
Schooling or school-authorized activities
The note must be signed by your school principal, dean, or his or her designee, and include a reason for the school or school-authorized activity and probable date when the activity will end.
The note must be signed by your physician and contain a diagnosis and probable date when recovery will end your need to drive.
The note must be signed by your employer and verify employment and probable date your employment will end.
No documentation is needed for this exemption. However, you must have already declared yourself emancipated by completing a DMV form and by providing Proof of Financial Responsibility (SR 1P) in lieu of your guarantors’ signatures when you applied for your instruction permit.
Immediate need of family member
The note must be signed by your parent or legal guardian, and include the reason and probable date the necessity will end.
Note: If you are a parent and/or guardian you have the right to impose any other restriction that you choose. For example, you could choose to not allow your child to drive between the hours of 9pm and 5am.
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