New Driver Requirements: Coming of Age

If you have a teenager in the house who is on the verge of turning 15 or 16 years old and itching to get either their restricted or full-fledged driver’s license, you probably have a lot of questions about new driver requirements. Not all of your questions as a parent can be answered by the Florida Division of Motor Vehicles as you wonder about the increases in your car insurance, how to cope with the stress of worrying about young drivers, when to let them start driving alone, and how to motivate them to get jobs to help out with all the additional expenses; however, the DMV can answer your inquiries about age limits, restrictions on different licenses, how to go about studying for and taking the driver’s test, and more.

You probably remember taking a driver’s education course, precariously weaving around those orange cones—delighted to finally get behind the wheel. A family member may have taken you to practice on weekends too, helping you to practice parallel parking and more. Today, while driving a car is pretty much the same and most of the traffic rules have not changed too much, there may be some differences for your teenagers when they apply. For instance, a 15-year-old applying for a restricted license must do more than just taking a written test and heading out to practice with an adult in the passenger seat.

The DATA (for drugs, alcohol, traffic, awareness) or DATE (drugs, alcohol, traffic education) course is four hours long and is required for would-be drivers who have never had a license in the US or another country. Either course is completed online and costs $29.95. Students learn about how drugs and alcohol affect drivers, along with other distractions. Once that is completed, the student has another hurdle to jump in studying for and passing the written exam. Afterward, they receive their restricted driver’s license from the DMV (whether online or in the office), and can begin driving with another licensed driver over the age of 21. It’s a well-known fact that many students fail the written test on the first try. And although there is a charge, you can take it as many times as needed. It consists of 45 questions about traffic rules, and 5 regarding traffic/road signs. An 80% is required to pass.

If you are 16 or over and getting your license for the first time, you will need to complete the DATA course, as well as passing both the written test and road test. Although the DMV states that there are 14 million licensed individuals in Florida currently, with 800,000 new licensees each year, both the written and driver’s test can be challenging—for students of any age.

While driver’s courses and the written test will prepare new drivers for understanding the rules of the road, they must be extremely cautious with a strong focus on defensive driving. It shouldn’t take long to understand why, as so many drivers today are obviously distracted on the road—causing thousands of accidents—and fatalities—each year.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, please call Heintz & Becker for a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle all types of Florida personal injury cases, and our law firm has established an impressive record of verdicts and settlements. If you have been seriously injured, call us now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.