Driver’s Ed for Your Teenager: What You Need to Know

By August 19, 2020September 2nd, 2020Motor Vehicle Accident

Louisiana teens can start the process of becoming licensed drivers as early as age fourteen, but don’t worry — there are no licensed eighth-graders driving around Baton Rouge! 

To get licensed in Louisiana, teenagers must stay in school or an alternative education program and complete a comprehensive driver training program. 

Louisiana has a Graduated Driver Licensing Program that is designed to give teens more leeway to drive as they gain maturity, skill and experience – and to hopefully avoid getting in a wreck.

Let’s take a look at the process from start to finish.

Is your teen ready to drive?

Driving comes with a certain amount of risk, especially for teens, who can be impulsive and easily distracted. 

They are also more likely to use drugs or alcohol and less likely to use seatbelts than adults. Those factors contribute to higher fatality and injury rates for teenagers. 

In 2017, 193 people in Louisiana were killed in accidents involving young drivers. 

Though state law says students can begin classroom instruction at fourteen, get a learner’s permit at fifteen and get a transitional license at sixteen, many kids need more time to develop the solid judgement required to operate a heavy machine at high speeds. 

Ultimately, parents get the final say — teens must have their parents’ permission to start driver training. Even after they’ve become permitted or licensed, parents can ask the state to suspend or cancel their child’s driving privileges. 

Experts say there are several questions that can help you gauge whether your teen is ready to hit the road, including:

  • Do they demonstrate solid judgement in other areas of their life? 
  • Are they capable of resisting peer pressure and keeping commitments? 
  • Do they show initiative in school, work and extracurricular activities?

Classroom Instruction

Louisiana requires minors to take 30 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of behind-the-wheel training with an approved instructor. 

There are about 15 approved driving schools in Baton Rouge, and their contact info can be found through the Office of Motor Vehicles. 

During the classroom portion, students learn the rules of the road, safe driving practices, state laws and how to handle difficult situations like accidents and traffic stops.

Before your teen can take the class though, they’ll need to get a Temporary Instructional Permit from the OVM. They will need to provide the following:

  • Proof of legal residence
  • Original birth certificate and other primary document,
  • Social security card
  • Certificate of enrollment in school
  • Payment of $32.25

The teen must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who must provide two forms of official identification. Students must have their TIP with them whenever they are operating a vehicle.

The Learner’s Permit

A fifteen-year-old who has an instructional permit can trade their TIP in for a learner’s permit as soon as they’ve successfully completed driver education. 

There is no additional cost, but the student and their parents must surrender the TIP to an OMV and provide the same identifying documents required for the TIP. Additionally, the student must pass vision and knowledge tests.

With a learner’s permit, a student may drive when they are accompanied by a licensed parent, guardian, instructor or other adult who is at least 21 years old, or with a licensed sibling who is at least 18 years old.

Students must maintain their learners permit for 180 days, and accumulate 50 hours of supervised driving time, including 15 hours of night-time driving.

The Intermediate License

Once a student has turned sixteen, held a permit for 180 days, passed the vision test and met the supervised driving requirement, they can head back to OVM or a third-party tester for one of biggest milestones on the road to licensure: the driving test! 

Students must schedule the test ahead of time and arrive with their parent or guardian and documentation of training. The student driver must do the test in a currently registered passenger vehicle. If you don’t own a vehicle, don’t worry — there are some third-party testers that will rent a vehicle to the student at an additional cost.

Teens who have earned their intermediate license are finally allowed to drive on their own — with certain conditions. 

  1. First, there is a curfew. They may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are accompanied by a licensed adult age 21 or older, or a licensed sibling, age 18 or older. 
  2. Additionally, there are restrictions on having passengers. Between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m., an intermediate driver may have family members in their car, but they may not have more than one non-family member who is under 21 in the car unless they are accompanied by a licensed adult.

The Regular Class E License

The final step in the driver’s ed process happens when your teen turns seventeen, and becomes eligible for a full, unrestricted Class E license. 

With a regular license in hand, your newly licensed driver can hit the road at any time, with any legal number of passengers aboard!

Contact Pierce & Shows if your teen runs into a problem driving

Louisiana’s graduated program is designed to cultivate safe, responsible young drivers, and by and large, it’s been a big success. However, accidents do happen. If your teen runs into legal trouble while driving, the experienced team at Pierce & Shows is ready to help.

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