Teen Driving Laws in Florida: What Every Teen and Parent Needs to Know

Like many states, Florida has adopted a graduated licensing program and only issues driver’s licenses to teenagers who meet certain conditions. While many jurisdictions now use graduated licensing programs, details and requirements can vary from state to state. 

And, given that some of the conditions teen drivers need to meet in Florida can take up to a year to fulfill, it is important to learn what they are early if you and your teen want them to be able to start driving on their own when they turn 16.

To help you know and understand some of the most important particulars, here are the Florida teen driving laws every teen and parent should know.

Instructional Permit Stage

The first step toward being able to drive is the instructional permit. In Florida, in order to be able to obtain an instructional permit, a teenager needs to:

  • Successfully complete the state’s traffic laws and substance abuse course
  • Be 15 years of age
  • Pass a written and vision test

As you might have guessed, in Florida, an instructional permit comes with a host of restrictions. For example, drivers who hold an instructional permit can only operate a motor vehicle with a licensed adult over the age of 21 in the passenger seat.

Additionally, for the first three months of the permit, the permit holder can only drive during daytime hours.

Restricted License Stage

Whereas the instructional permit stage of driving has been around for decades, the restricted license stage of the graduated licensing programs found in Florida and elsewhere are relatively new. Up until the mid-nineties, many states issued full licenses to drivers upon their sixteenth birthday if they had met certain requirements. That is no longer the case.

Now in Florida, if a permit holder has successfully held their permit for a year or more without any traffic violations, completed at least 50 hours of driving time—ten of those being at night—and passed the appropriate written and driving tests, he or she can apply for a restricted, or intermediate license.

In Florida, an intermediate license has the following restrictions:

  • 16-year-old drivers can only drive on their own between the hours of 6 am and 11 pm
  • 17-year-old drivers have extended hours that last from 5 am to 1 am

The only exception to these restricted hours is if the driver is going to or from work. However, there is one additional requirement worth noting. Holders of a provisional license must be enrolled in and be sufficiently attending school. If drivers fail to meet this requirement, they could have their intermediate license revoked.

Full, Unrestricted License Stage

When a teenager reaches the age of 18, they are eligible to apply for a full, unrestricted driver’s license. While teens do have to fulfill all requirements from the instructional permit stage, they do not have to have previously had an intermediate license in order to be able to apply for a full license.

It should be noted, however, that just because an 18-year-old driver can obtain a full driver’s license does not mean they shouldn’t be aware of other Florida driving laws. While driver’s ed courses will cover Florida’s traffic laws in great detail, it is advised that parents review them with their teen drivers often.

It is especially important for teen drivers to be aware of Florida’s cell phone and texting-while-driving laws and those relating to speeding and reckless driving, among others.

Florida Teen Car Accidents

Finally, educate your teen drivers about the dangers of driving without a seat belt and the damage that can be done in a car accident. And if your teen is injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified Florida car accident lawyer who can represent them and help get the money they need to help pay for medical bills and more.