No, it isn’t 10 years old, as a local 42-year-old man found out recently near St. Petersburg. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Robert L. Burke let his girlfriend’s son drive his car to a store. The 10-year-old boy crashed the car into a store on N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, breaking through a front window. It was discovered later that Mr. Burke was also in possession of cocaine at the time. Obviously, this was a case of poor and impaired judgment, but what is the legal driving age in Florida?
What Do Teens Need to Know about Driving in Florida?
At the age of 15, you can apply for a learning permit in Florida. In addition, to obtain that permit, you must have completed Florida’s Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course, as indicated on the website of DMV.ORG. In fact, Florida takes the risks associated with teen driving very seriously by implementing a “graduated driver licensing (GDL) law.” This is a program composed of certain requirements that must be met before a driver’s license may be obtained. Between 16 and 17 years of age, an intermediate license, or provisional license, may be obtained. Full driving privileges do not become available until 18 years of age has been reached.
Obtaining a Florida Learner’s Permit
To obtain a learner’s permit at 15 years of age in Florida, you must visit your local DMV office with the following paperwork:
- Proof of identity (i.e., U.S. birth certificate);
- Proof of Social Security Number;
- Proof of a residential address in Florida;
- Proof of completion for a TLSAE course (or, if you are transferring from out-of-state, your learner’s permit from that state, if you have one); and
- The completed form, “Parental Consent for a Driver Application of a Minor,” Form HSMV 71142.
After you submit the above paperwork, next you will need to pass the following tests: 1) vision exam; 2) hearing test; and 3) DMV written test. A Florida handbook is available for guidance and to use as a reference here. There is also a free online practice test here.
After You Get Your Learner’s Permit, What’s Next?
With a newly acquired Florida learner’s permit in your possession, you can drive only during the daytime for the first three months. After those first three months, you can drive until 10:00 p.m. However, you must always have a licensed driver, 21 years or older, sitting with you in the front passenger seat. Before you can proceed to the next step, obtaining the Florida provisional (intermediate) license, you must show that you have “practiced” driving for 50 hours and 10 of those 50 hours must be driving at night.
Florida Provisional License
To obtain a provisional (intermediate) license in Florida, you must: 1) be 16 years of age; 2) have had your learner’s permit for at least one year and not had any “incidents,” along with completing the above-mentioned 50 hours (10 hours at night) of driving practice/experience.
There are a couple of other restrictions that may apply that you should be aware of:
- If you are 16 years old, you may drive “unsupervised” but only between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
- If you are 17 years old, you can drive unsupervised a few more hours, from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Of course, you may drive any time of day if:
- You are driving to and from work, or
- You are supervised by a licensed driver 21 years or older.
When you turn 18, your provisional (intermediate) driver’s license will turn into a full-privilege driver’s license. Follow the rules, obey the laws, and stay out of trouble. If trouble does find you in the Saint Petersburg area, however, and you find that you are in need of legal representation, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney. We are here to help you. Drive safe.