What to know about getting a driver’s license


Graphic by Taya Bunch.

Taya Bunch

For teenagers, getting a license is a rite of passage, however the actual process of obtaining one can be difficult. It is also different from recent years due to the new protocols COVID-19 has put in place. Here is a helpful guide to figuring out what it takes to get a license. 

Before someone is allowed to drive at all they have to have a permit, and to do that they have to pass a permit test. First, to get scheduled for a permit test, a person has to sign up through the Kentucky State Police and select the day they wish to take the permit test. The test will be taken at Bowman Field for all Jefferson County residents. Any student under the age of 18 taking the test must bring with them a no pass/no drive form from duPont Manual counselors with them as well as their original birth certificate, social security card and proof of address. Before taking the permit test, it is important to study with the Kentucky Driver’s Manual and take online practice tests to prepare for the test. 

Once a person has obtained a driver’s permit they are allowed to practice driving for their road test, which is able to be taken, at the earliest, six months after having a permit. With a permit, a driver must complete a practice driver’s log, with a minimum of 50 hours driving during the day and 10 hours of driving at night for all 16 or 17 year olds. Additionally, they must drive with a licensed driver 21 or older in the passenger seat. 

After six months and 60 hours of driving logged, a person is allowed to take the road test to obtain their license. For people under the age of 18, if they pass they will be granted an intermediate license for 6 months. People 18 and older are allowed to get their full license once they have passed the road driving test. Drivers with the intermediate license are not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. unless they have good cause such as school or work. They are also not permitted to have more than one passenger under the age of 20 who is not related to them. If a driver with the intermediate license is convicted of a moving traffic violation, they must restart the six month intermediate period. 

Before being allowed to have a full license, a driver must complete the KY Drivers Ed Graduated Licensing Program online or in-person. After all those steps are completed, a person is granted an unrestricted license. That license is able to be revoked, however, when a driver under the age of 18 gets six points or a driver over the age of 18 gets 12 points. Points are given when a driver is convicted of various offenses speeding or disregarding road signs. 

While driving is an exciting adventure for new license holders, it is also important to stay safe and responsible while on the road.