What is the Driving Age in West Virginia?

You must be at least 15 years old to begin the Graduated Drivers License program in West Virginia to receive an unrestricted license when you are 17 years old.
Written by Ethan Moser
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Like many other states, West Virginia teenagers who are at least 15 years old can now enroll in the Graduated Drivers License program (GDL). This program allows them to work towards receiving a completely unrestricted driver's license by the time they are 17. 
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time. But whether you're a teenager—or the parent of one—it's important to know that the age restrictions on when you can start driving with a Learner’s Permit vary from state to state. 
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What is the driving age in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, you must be at least 15 years old before you can apply for a West Virginia driver's license via the Graduated Drivers License program. To apply for a standard unrestricted license outside of the GDL program, West Virginia drivers will have to wait until they are 18

What is the Graduated Drivers License program in West Virginia?

The Graduated Drivers License program (GDL) was introduced in 1997 in an attempt to counteract high rates of car accidents involving teenage drivers. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), however, motor vehicle crashes remain the second leading cause of death amongst young people nationwide.
Active all throughout the United States, the GDL program gives young drivers the opportunity to gain real-life driving experience on a restricted basis before accessing an unrestricted license. The majority of GDL programs are comprised of three stages: 
  • Instruction permit stage: supervised driving
  • Provisional license stage: limited unsupervised driving
  • Full license stage: unrestricted standard driver’s license

How to get your instruction permit in West Virginia

If you’re under 18 and want to start driving in West Virginia, you’ll have to abide by the guidelines set forth under the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch of the GDL program to apply for your learner's permit. That being said, before you rush out to your nearest West Virginia DMV office, you’ll first need to make sure you have all of the necessary documentation on hand for your GDL application. 
Here’s what you’ll need to get a learner’s permit in West Virginia:  
  • Be at least 15 years old
  • Complete a Driver's License & ID Application form with a parent's signature 
  • Provide a valid form of ID
  • Provide a Driver’s Eligibility certificate from the county school board if you’re under 17 1/2 
  • Pay the required application fee
  • Pass the vision test and written knowledge exam
You can use the
West Virginia Driver’s License Guide
to find more information about how to prepare for your written exam as well as to find details about the forms of ID that the DMV considers valid. 
Once you’ve passed your written test and vision exam, you’ll be granted a West Virginia state Learner’s Permit!
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Provisional instruction permit restrictions

Keep in mind that your Learner’s Permit isn’t actually valid until it’s been approved by an authorized driving instructor. Once that happens, you may drive with a Learner’s Permit if you’re accompanied by a parent, guardian, or another West Virginia licensed driver over the age of 25. 
Learner’s Permit drivers may not drive between the hours of 10 PM and 5 AM, nor can they drive with more than two passengers in the vehicle in addition to the supervising driver. Drivers holding a learner’s permit cannot, under any circumstances, drive alone!

How to get your provisional driver’s license in West Virginia

Once you’ve had your Learner’s Permit for six months in West Virginia, and put in at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience, you’re ready to move on to the GDL program’s second stage: the provisional driver’s license. 
Here are the requirements to obtain a provisional driver’s license:
  • Be at least 16 years or older
  • Have held a West Virginia learner’s permit for at least 6 months
  • Submit form DMV-10-GDL stating that you’ve completed 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience, either with an authorized driving instructor or with a parent or guardian
  • Pay the required application fee—$7.50 for a standard license, $10 for a REAL ID
  • Schedule your driving test online before visiting the DMV office
  • Pass the driving test
Should you fail your driver’s test on the first try, you’re welcome to try again, but you must wait at least two weeks before returning for a second test. Should you fail your driving test on three separate occasions, you will have to reapply for your provisional driver’s license. 
Key Takeaway Before setting out to submit your forms and take your driving test, make sure you’re prepared with your learner’s permit, and proof of school enrollment if you’re under 17 1/2 years old. 

Provisional driver’s license restrictions

Now that you’ve got your West Virginia provisional license in hand, you might think that you can drive wherever, whenever, with whoever you want in the backseat—but you’d be wrong. There are still certain restrictions that apply to drivers using a provisional license in West Virginia. 
While you can now drive on your own, for the first six months of driving on your provisional license, you cannot drive with any passengers under the age of 20 in the car unless you’re accompanied by a fully licensed driver over the age of 25. During the second six months of driving on your provisional license, you can only drive with one passenger under the age of 20—that means no road trips with your classmates, even if you all have provisional licenses. 

How to save on car insurance in West Virginia

Once you’ve got your driver’s license in West Virginia you’re free to explore the Mountain State to your heart’s content! But before you set out on your first adventure, it's important to make sure that you and your car are protected with affordable and reliable car insurance coverage for young drivers. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever before to save time and money while shopping for car insurance coverage when you download the
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In West Virginia, you can get a provisional driver’s license at 16 years old so long as you have held a learner’s permit for at least six months, completed 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel experience, and passed a driving test at the DMV.
So long as you hold a valid West Virginia provisional license you can drive on your own between the hours of 5 AM and 10 PM unless you have a valid work, school, or emergency-related excuse.
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