In West Virginia, those between the ages of 15 and 17 obtain their license through the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) system. This allows a teenager to learn to drive in gradual steps as they develop expertise in increasingly complicated driving situations. There are various steps involved in the GDL process.

Read on to learn about the steps involved in the GDL process, and how you can help prepare your teen for the big responsibility of driving.

When an individual turns 15 years of age in West Virginia, they are eligible to apply for their Instructional Permit (Level 1 GDL). The application process for this permit must be completed in person at their local West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

Teenagers wishing to get their instructional permit must have a valid School Driver Eligibility Certificate from their county school board. Additionally, they must have consent from a parent or legal guardian in order for the permit to be issued.

Drivers holding instructional permits are only licensed to drive if they have someone in the front seat who is a licensed driver, aged 21 years or older. There are to be no more than two additional non-family passengers in the vehicle. Additionally, instructional permit holders may only drive between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

To obtain an Intermediate Driver’s License (Level 2 GDL), your teen must be 16 years of age or older. They also must have held an instructional permit for at least six months without violations,

as well as completed 50 hours of driver training, with 10 hours of night driving. 16-year-olds seeking their intermediate driver’s license must also pass the road skills test. If they fail the first time, they are eligible to try two more times on separate occasions.

Much like the Level 1 GDL, there are many rules put in place for the safety of teen drivers operating under a Level 2 GDL:

  • 1st six months: No non-family passengers under the age of 20
  • 2nd six months: One non-family passenger under the age of 20
  • May only drive between 5:00am and 10:00pm
  • Can drive outside these hours only with a licensed driver 21 years or older, or if going to and from a school-sanctioned activity, religious activity, work, or an emergency.

If a Level 2 GDL driver violates the terms of having a GDL license or receives two moving violations, their license to drive will be revoked until they reach the age of 18 (and possibly longer).

In order for your teen to receive their Full License (Level 3 GDL), they must be at least 17 years of age or older and have had an intermediate license for at least one year. A full license has no restrictions on hours of vehicle operation or passenger age requirements.