Alabama has a Graduated Driver License Program, or GDL, that will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no license to full license.
Completing the Alabama GDL can take up to a year. At 15 pass a vision and knowledge test for your learner’s permit. Complete 30 hours of supervised driving or a driver training course for your restricted license. Drive with it for 6 months, or until you turn 17, to earn your unrestricted license.
The steps below have the details you’ll need to know to get your full, unrestricted Alabama driver’s license.
You can start the process to get your Alabama Department of Public Safety approved learner’s license at 15. To get ready for driving, you can download the Alabama DMV Handbook and start reading through it.
At your local Alabama Department of Safety office, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring your original birth certificate, your Social Security card, and proof that you’re enrolled in or graduated from school, and pay a fee of $36.25 by debit card, cash, or money order.
Next, you’ll need to pass a written exam. Consider taking a few practices tests to get ready. The fee for this is $5. It consists of 20 questions. You need to answer 14 correctly to pass.
If you fail on your first attempt don’t worry. You are allowed to take the test twice more within 90 days of your application. You will have to pay the $5 fee for each subsequent exam. If you fail all 3 tests within this 90-day window you will have to start your application process over again.
When you pass, you will be given an official paper which is your Alabama DPS approved learner’s permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.
You must have your AL learner’s permit for at least six months before you can apply for a restricted license. During that time, you’ll need to have 30 hours driving practice which are outside of any driver education hours. There are also limits to your permit and they are that your supervising driver must be a parent, guardian, grandparent or driving instructor.
This is the point also where you’ll want to consider getting professional driving instruction. In Alabama, that means looking into your high school’s Traffic Safety Education Program.
You have the options to complete 50 hours of supervised driving with a parent or guardian or graduating or, graduate from an Alabama Department of Public Safety approved traffic safety education program.
When you’re ready to enroll in driver education, find a driving school to get started.
Once you’ve completed the required amount of instruction, or safety program, you can apply for your Alabama restricted driver’s license.
Receiving your AL DPS approved restricted license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. Those are reaching the age of 16.
Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with an Alabama Department of Public Safety (DPS) evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.
Before you take it, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.
Vision Test: You will need to take a vision test so if you need to wear glasses, make sure you do.
The application fee for your license is $41.25.
Your license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. This license will come with the following restrictions:
You will not be able to have more than one passenger in the vehicle with you, and that person must be a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.
As you continue to learn how to operate a motor vehicle in different conditions, there are certain hours when you won’t be able to drive. Those are Midnight to 6:00 am.
At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Therefore, once you reach 17 and have had your restricted license for six months, you can get your full license.
This means that previous restrictions are lifted. You will not receive a different license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.
Whether you’ve just finished your Alabama graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.
The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.
Here are some other details which are good to know as you start out on your AL graduated licensing journey:
Can I apply to the Alabama GDL program if my permit or license was revoked in another state?
If you got a license in another state but it was revoked for any reason, you are not permitted to apply for an Alabama driver’s license. You also can’t have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
What if I have physical or mental health diagnosis that could affect my driving?
If a doctor diagnosed you with a mental or physical ailment that may potentially make driving unsafe for you or others on the road, you won’t get a license in Alabama. Lastly, if you are under the age of 19, you can’t get a license unless you are enrolled in or graduated from high school.
Can I drive in Alabama with an out of state learner’s permit?
Alabama allows out of state drivers to driver with their leaner’s permits. However drivers are still subject to the same restrictions issued by their home state.
For comprehensive information on everything related to the Alabama graduated licensing program, visit the Alabama Department of Public Safety. You can also call 1-334-676-6002 between 8am to 5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, or 9am to 5 pm on Wednesdays.
Prepare for your license journey by reviewing the Alabama DMV Handbook, and taking a few practice tests.