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What do I need to get a Florida driver’s license?

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Whether you want to slog through the swamps of the Everglades in a 4×4 or tow your boat to the marina, having a driver’s permit is required in the state of Florida. But getting your driver’s license for the first time in the Sunshine State requires some additional consideration and perhaps a dash of guidance.

Whether you’re a teen seeking to get your learner’s permit or a full-grown adult getting a license for the first time, Florida’s requirements and restrictions must be carefully considered and adhered to when out on the road. To help make this process as painless as possible, here’s a step-by-step guide explaining what getting your driver’s license in Florida entails.

Step 1: Complete your DATA course

Drug alcohol traffic awareness (DATA) courses are mandatory for all new drivers in the state of Florida, regardless of age. Courses are about as self-explanatory as it gets, too, with the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol being reiterated for a plethora of controlled substances and adult beverages. To prove that you have what it takes to abstain from drugs and alcohol while driving, you must first complete this 4-hour course and pass a 40-question test. Adults can complete the course online, whereas learner’s-permit-seeking teens must attend class in person.

Step 2: Take the permit test

The Florida permit test is a written examination that all new drivers must take. While teens can take this test online, adults have to visit their local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to wrap this one up. We recommend using the Florida Driver’s Handbook and online guides to prepare for this test.

Some local high schools include this test as a part of their driver’s education program, so teens might be able to complete the exam while on campus. The test has 50 questions, including discussion over driving regulations and road signs. You must answer at least 40 of the 50 questions accurately to pass the test.

Step 3: Get your learner’s permit (for teens)

If you are a teen, you can apply for a learner’s permit at the local DMV. While there, you must pass a simple hearing and vision test along with the application. If you use glasses and/or contact lenses, you must notify the DMV, and wear them during the examination for accuracy’s sake. For those who do not pass the hearing test, a hearing aid may be required while driving.

Failure to pass the vision test typically results in a state-issued note for an optometrist evaluation. Inability to amend your visual impairment with contacts or glasses will result in the rejection of your eligibility to operate a motorized vehicle.

Step 4: Complete the Florida driving test

Commonly referred to as the “Class E Driving Skills Test,” this hands-on driving test requires a trained instructor to ride along with you and takes notes of your capabilities while behind the wheel.

Unlike other parts of the country, where a state vehicle is provided, Florida requires that a privately owned, properly insured vehicle with a valid license plate be utilized. The vehicle must also pass a safety inspection while on site, or be recently inspected with adequate documentation proving this point. If registration needs to be renewed, the Florida registration renewal process must be implemented as well.

Step 5: Get Your Driver’s License

After all exams are passed, you simply have to pay the $48 test fee as well as provide your ID and social security card, then that coveted driver’s license is yours!

However, if you are under 18, you will need to provide parental consent forms, and a temporary license will be supplied. A permanent copy will arrive via mail in a few days.

Teens must remember the rules of the road

After successfully passing all of the mandatory tests, the Florida DMV will issue a learner’s driving permit.

However, first-time permit holders must adhere to a few rules:

  • In order to obtain your Class E driver’s license, you should continue driving with a learner’s permit for a year, or until you turn 18. Whichever comes first.
  • For the first 90 days, you can only operate your vehicle during daylight hours.
  • After 90 days (without incident), you are allowed to drive until 10 p.m.
  • You must log a minimum of 50 hours of driving practice with a parent or caretaker prior to applying for a normal driver’s permit.
  • At least 10 hours of night driving must be logged.

Conclusion

Now that you (finally) have your driver’s license, it’s time to drive defensively, obey all traffic rules and start modifying that truck or SUV of yours. Just note that safely and successfully operating a 4×4 both on and off-road requires great care and a fair deal of practice. So, please drive safe and enjoy!

 

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