How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive in Each State?

Each state has different laws for how old you must be to drive. In most states, you can get your permit by 15 and a half years old, your driver’s license at age 16, and remove any license restrictions by age 18.

Tanveen Vohra
Written byTanveen Vohra
Tanveen Vohra
Tanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
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Updated May 7, 2024 | Reading time: 4 minutes

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Driving can be an exciting milestone for new drivers — one that people can reach at different times depending on where they live. U.S. states set their own laws for how old you must be to get a learner’s permit, but the minimum age is 14 to 16 years old. To get a license, minimum age requirements vary from 14 and a half to 17 years old.

As a parent or teen driver, you should know your state’s age limits for different licensing levels. Here’s the legal driving age for each state, restrictions to know, and tips for insuring a teen driver.

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Driving age by state

In the U.S., each state sets and enforces different regulations regarding how old you must be to get a learner’s permit and a full driver’s license. A teenager can typically obtain a driver’s license at 16 years of age and drive unrestricted at age 18, but some states have less stringent driving restrictions for teens.

If your teen has a learner’s permit or provisional license, you should be aware of potential driving restrictions like a nighttime curfew and passenger limits. These restraints will no longer apply once your teen has obtained their license.

The table below lists when you can get your license in all 50 states, plus restrictions to know about.

StateLearner’s Permit Minimum AgeDriver’s License Minimum AgeRestrictions
Alabama15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–6 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 17 and license held for six months
Alaska14 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 1–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 21
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
Arizona15 years and six months, must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 18 licensed for six months
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
Arkansas14 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–4 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 21
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 18
California15 years and six months, must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 20 (limited exceptions for immediate family)
  • Both restrictions lifted 12 months after license
Colorado15 years, and must hold permit for 12 months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers during first six months of permit; after six months, one passenger
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 18 or license held for 12 months, whichever comes first
Connecticut16 years, and must hold permit for six months (with four months of driver’s education)16 years, four months
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers other than parents or driving instructor in the first six months of licensure; no passengers other than parents, driving instructors, or immediate family members in second six months of licensure
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 18 or license held for 12 months, whichever comes first
Delaware16 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years, six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–6 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger
  • Both restrictions lifted after six months of initial license or issuance of class D license
Florida15 years, and must hold permit for 12 months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–6 a.m. for 16-year-olds; 1–5 a.m. for 17-year-olds, lifted at age 18
Georgia15 years, and must hold permit for 12 months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers in the first six months of licensure; three passengers and one passenger younger than age 21 after license held for six months
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 18
Hawaii15 years and six months, must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 18 (except household members)
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 17 and license held for six months
Idaho14 years and six months, must hold permit for six months15 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–5 a.m., and lifted at age 16
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 17 for licensees 16 and younger; lifted at age 17, or six months of licensure, whichever comes first
Illinois 15 years, and must hold permit for nine months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m.–6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, lifted at age 18
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 20 within the first 12 months of the permit; lifted at age 18 or license held for 12 months, whichever comes first
Indiana15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years and three months
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–5 a.m. for the first six months; then Sunday to Friday, 11 p.m.–5 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday 1–5 a.m. until age 18 and license held for six months or age 21, whichever comes first
  • Passenger limits: No passengers, lifted after license held for six months or age 21, whichever comes first
Iowa14 years, and must hold permit for 12 months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 12:30–5 a.m., lifted after age 17 and license held for 12 months or at age 18, whichever comes first
  • Passenger limits: Parental discretion
Kansas14 years, and must hold permit for 12 months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 9 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 18
  • Both restrictions lifted after age 17 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
Kentucky16 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–6 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 20 (unless supervised by driving instructor)
  • Both restrictions lifted after age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
Louisiana15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 21 between 6 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 17
Maine15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 18
  • Both restrictions lifted after licensed for nine months
Maryland15 years and nine months, must hold permit for nine months16 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m., lifted at age 18
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 18, lifted after age 18 or license held for five months, whichever comes first
Massachusetts16 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: 12:30–5 a.m., lifted at age 18
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 18, lifted after age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
Michigan14 years and nine months, must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 21
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 17 and license held for six months or at age 18, whichever comes first
Minnesota15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m., lifted after age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
  • Passenger limits: First six months, one passenger younger than age 20; After six months, three passengers younger than 20; lifted after age 18 or license held for 12 months, whichever comes first
Mississippi15 years, and must hold permit for 12 months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Sunday to Thursday, 10 p.m.–6 a.m.; Friday to Saturday, 11:30 p.m.–6 a.m.; lifted after age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
Missouri15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 1–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: First six months, one passenger younger than age 19; after 6 months, three passengers younger than 19
  • Both restrictions lifted after holding license for 12 months
Montana14 years and six months, must hold permit for six months15 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: First six months, one passenger younger than age 18; after six months — three passengers younger than 18
  • Both restrictions lifted after age 18 or license held for 12 months, whichever comes first
Nebraska15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–6 a.m., lifted at age 18 or license held for 12 months, whichever comes first
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 19, lifted at age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
Nevada15 years and six months, must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–5 a.m., lifted at age 18
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 18, lifted at age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
New Hampshire15 years and six months, no mandatory holding period for permit16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 1–4 a.m., lifted at age 18
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 25, lifted after age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
New Jersey16 years, and must hold permit for six months17 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger, with the exception of driver’s dependents
  • Both restrictions lifted after age 21 or license held for 12 months, whichever comes first
New Mexico15 years, and must hold permit for six months15 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than 21
  • Both restrictions lifted after age 18 or license held for 12 months, whichever comes first
New York16 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: 9 p.m.–5 a.m., except for NYC and Long Island
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 21
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 17 (with driver’s education) and age 18 (without driver’s education)
North Carolina15 years, and must hold permit for nine months (effective Jan. 1, 2024)16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 9 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 21
  • Both restrictions lifted after age 18 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
North Dakota14 years, and must hold permit for 12 months (only six months if age 16 and older)16 years (15 for a parent-requested restricted license)
  • Nighttime restrictions: 9 p.m.–5 a.m. or after sunset, whichever is later, lifted at age 16
Ohio15 years and six months, must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–6 a.m. for the first 12 months; 1–5 a.m. for the second 12 months; lifted after license held for 24 months
  • Passenger limits: One passenger for the first 12 months, lifted after license held for 12 months
Oklahoma15 years and six months, must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger
  • Both restrictions lifted after licensed for six months (with driver’s education), 12 months (without driver’s education), or age 18
Oregon15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 20 for the first six months; three passengers younger than 20 for the second six months
  • Both restrictions lifted after licensed for 12 months or age 18, whichever comes first
Pennsylvania16 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 18 for the first six months, then three passengers
  • Both restrictions lifted after licensed for 12 months and age 17 (with driver’s education) or age 18, whichever comes first
Rhode Island16 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: 1–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 21
  • Both restrictions lifted after licensed for 12 months or age 18, whichever comes first
South Carolina15 years, and must hold permit for six months15 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: 6 p.m.–6 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: Two passengers younger than age 21, unless transporting students to and from school
  • Both restrictions lifted after licensed for 12 months and at age 17
South Dakota14 years, and must hold permit for six months14 years and nine months, or 14 years and six months with driver’s education
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–6 a.m. until age 16
  • Passenger limits: No passengers for the first six months, then one passenger younger than age 18. Lifted after holding license for six months or age 16, whichever comes first
Tennessee15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–6 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger
  • Both restrictions lifted after holding license for 12 months or age 18, whichever comes first
Texas15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 21
  • Both restrictions lifted at age 18
Utah15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m., lifted at age 17
  • Passenger limits: No passengers, lifted after holding license for six months or age 18, whichever comes first
Vermont15 years, and must hold permit for 12 months16 years
  • Passenger limits: No passengers for the first three months without family exceptions, then no non-family passengers for next two months; lifted after holding license for six months or age 18, whichever comes first
Virginia15 years and six months, must hold permit for nine months16 years and three months
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–4 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 21 for the first 12 months, then three passengers younger than 21, lifted at age 18
Washington15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 1–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 20 for the first six months, then three passengers younger than 20
  • Both restrictions lifted after holding license for 12 months or age 18, whichever comes first
Washington, D.C.16 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years and six months
  • Nighttime restrictions: September to June, Sunday to Thursday: 11 p.m.–6 a.m., Saturday to Sunday: 12:01–6 a.m.; July to August: 12:01–6 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers
  • Both restrictions lifted after age 21 or license held for six months, whichever comes first
West Virginia15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 10 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: No passengers younger than age 20 for the first six months, then one passenger younger than 20
  • Both restrictions lifted after holding license for 12 months and age 17 or at age 18, whichever comes first
Wisconsin15 years, and must hold permit for six months16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: Midnight–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger
  • Both restrictions lifted after holding license for nine months or at age 18, whichever comes first
Wyoming15 years, and must hold permit for 10 days16 years
  • Nighttime restrictions: 11 p.m.–5 a.m.
  • Passenger limits: One passenger younger than age 18
  • Both restrictions lifted after holding license for six months or at age 17, whichever comes first
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Learner’s permit vs. driver’s license

Learner’s permits and driver’s licenses allow drivers to drive on public roads. However, a learner’s permit usually has restrictions, while a driver’s license doesn’t, except for traffic rules.

A learner’s permit — also referred to as an instruction permit — allows new drivers to get comfortable with the road and practice traffic safety under the guidance of a legal guardian.

A permit usually has driving restraints, including a driving curfew and passenger limits that the state specifies. You may need to take and pass a driver’s test that includes a written exam and vision exam to get your learner’s permit. Most states require drivers to be at least 15 and a half years old to get a permit.

After getting your learner’s permit, you may have to take state-sponsored driver’s education courses and drive a certain amount of time under supervision before you can take a driving test to get your driver’s license. Even with a learner’s permit, you generally can’t drive a car on public roads without another fully licensed driver with you.

Once you have a driver’s license, you can drive a car on public roads by yourself, with some restrictions that vary among states. You can upgrade to an unrestricted driver’s license by holding your intermediate license for a specific time, reaching a specific age, or both. Your state determines how old you must be to get your license, from 14 and a half to 17 years old, with many states holding driving restrictions until age 18.

Keep Reading: How to Participate in the teenSMART Driver Program

Keep Reading: How to Participate in the teenSMART Driver Program

What is a graduated driver’s licensing program?

A graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) program is a series of restrictions for young and newly licensed drivers.

While some new drivers may find these restrictions unnecessary, research shows that a graduated licensing system significantly reduces teen crashes and reduces their insurance losses.[1] Therefore, this requirement is necessary for states to promote safety on the road among new young drivers.

All drivers go through three stages of the GDL system. In the first stage, the driver obtains a learner’s permit. They can then trade that in for an intermediate license (also known as a provisional license) and, finally, a full driver’s license.

You typically have to be a minimum of 14 years old to apply for a learner’s permit, 16 for a provisional license, and at least 17 or have held your driver’s license for several months before it is unrestricted. 

Good to Know

Graduated drivers license programs first emerged in the 1990s. By 2011, nighttime driving restrictions for teens had cut fatal nighttime crashes among 16- and 17-year-old drivers by 10%, researchers concluded.[2] 

State driving restrictions

Many states established driving limitations to curb traffic fatalities and collisions, particularly for young drivers with less road experience. Drivers with permits have more restrictions than those with a full license, though limitations vary by state.

One driving restriction is a nighttime curfew, meaning new drivers can’t drive during certain night hours. Passenger restrictions are also in place, and many states will limit teens from carrying more than one passenger younger than a specific age in their car, usually younger than 18 or 21 years old.

Adding a teen driver to a car insurance policy

You’ll likely see a spike in rates when you add a teen to your insurance policy. Insurance providers generally consider younger drivers riskier to insure because they have less experience operating a vehicle.[3] Still, adding a teen driver to a parent’s policy is almost always cheaper than getting them their own car insurance.

The average car insurance premium for teenagers is approximately $574 per month, two times more than insuring drivers older than 25.

Fortunately, you can take steps to lower your rates if you add a teenager to your car insurance policy:

  • Look for student-centric discounts, like for good grades, taking defensive driving courses, or college students who are away at school.

  • Encourage safe driving habits so your teen avoids accidents when possible — this can also decrease premiums if they remain claims-free.

  • Insure your teen’s car with your current policy to potentially get a multi-car discount.

  • Raise your deductible, which can lower your premiums. However, this will increase the amount you pay out of pocket when filing a claim.[4]

Check Out: Car Insurance Discount Guide

Check Out: Car Insurance Discount Guide

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Driving age FAQs

Insuring a new driver can be pricey, so don’t forget to check out how you can save on teenage car insurance. Here are the answers to common questions about driving ages.

  • In what states can you drive at 14 years old?

    In the U.S., you can drive at age 14 with a learner's permit in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

  • Can you drive at age 15?

    Many states allow you to drive at age 15, but not all states do.

    The states that have a minimum driving age of 15 or younger are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

  • How old do you have to be to drive in California?

    The minimum driving age in California is 15 years and six months with a learner’s permit.

  • How old do you have to be to drive in Florida?

    With a learner’s permit, the minimum age to drive in Florida is 15 years.

  • How old do you have to be to drive in Texas?

    The minimum driving age in Texas is 15 years old with a learner’s permit.

  • How old do you have to be to drive in New York?

    With a learner’s permit, the minimum driving age in New York is 16 years.

Sources

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Teenagers."
  2. Journal of Safety Research. "A national evaluation of the nighttime and passenger restriction components of graduated driver licensing."
  3. III. "Auto insurance for teen drivers."
  4. III. "Nine ways to lower your auto insurance costs."
Tanveen Vohra
Tanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications

Tanveen Vohra is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in writing about property and casualty insurance, focusing on market and pricing trends in home and auto insurance. Through her work, she helps consumers better understand the components of their insurance policies so they can make smarter purchase decisions. She received a bachelor's degree from SUNY Buffalo. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

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