Frequently Asked Questions - Kentucky Teen Driver
- What do I need before I can get my permit?
- What restrictions if any are there for new drivers?
- What documents must I fill out at the DMV to get my permit/driver’s license?
- What are the requirements to apply for my driving permit?
- What tests must I pass?
- Once I get my permit, what do I need to do before I can drive with my parents?
- What driver’s education is required?
- What restrictions come with my driver’s permit?
- What documents do I need to go to the DMV?
- When can I get my driver’s license?
Before applying for an instruction permit, you should study for the written exam. The Kentucky State Police website has an online version of the Kentucky Drivers Manual available which covers some of the following topics:
• The licensing process
• Graduated licensing laws for new drivers
• How to obtain a Kentucky driver’s license
• Rules of the road
• Seeing well
• Communicating to other drivers
• Adjusting speed
• Keeping a space cushion
• Sharing the road with tractor trailer trucks
• Slow moving vehicles
• Sharing space
• Traffic signals
• Drinking and driving
• Protecting your driver’s license
In addition, the manual outlines tips on handling inclement weather conditions and what to do in an emergency.
All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using any type of wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle unless calling for medical help, or contacting law enforcement in an emergency situation. All drivers are prohibited from writing, reading or sending a text message while driving and first time offenders will be fined $25 and $50 for each subsequent offense.
The law in Kentucky requires anyone applying for an instruction permit or driver’s license to fill out an application with the following information:
• Applicant’s full legal name
• Applicant’s date of birth
• Applicant’s Social Security number
If you are under 18, your parent or legal guardian must sign the Driver License/Identification Card application form. If you are applying to have your permit or license transferred from another state, you must submit a School Compliance Verification form issued by the private, public or home-school that you attend.
• You must be at least 16 years old.
• You must be able to pass both written exams.
• You must be able to pass a vision-screening exam.
• You must present your Social Security card and birth certificate at the Kentucky Division of Driver Licensing (DDL).
• Your parent or legal guardian must sign the Driver License/Identification Card application form if under 18.
• You must submit a School Compliance Verification form from your school districted if under 18.
All applications must be filled out in the Office of the Circuit Clerk in the county where you reside. Instruction permits are valid for three years.
The Kentucky DDL requires teen drivers to pass the following tests:
You must correctly answer 24 out of 30 multiple-choice questions and ten road sign questions, in which you can only miss two. If you fail the written exam, you can retake it the next business day. However, if you fail the test six times, you will have to wait six months before trying again.
• The minimum vision requirement to obtain a Kentucky driver’s license is 20/60 acuity in at least one eye, with or without using corrective lenses. To obtain a restricted license, the minimum acuity is 20/80 in at least one eye. The visual field requirement is 35 degrees to the right and left of fixation and 25 degrees above and below fixation. Applicants who fail the test will be referred to a see a vision specialist. Drivers who need bioptic telescopic lenses may participate in a certified driver-training program if they meet the following requirements:
o A distance visual acuity of 20/200 or better with corrective lenses
o A visual field of at least 120 degrees horizontally and 80 degrees vertically
o A distance visual acuity of 20/60 or better using a bioptic telescopic device
o No ocular prognosis indicating a significant deterioration of visual acuity or field below the minimum standards
• Temporary instruction permits will be issued when a certified driver training program employee accompanies the applicant. Applicants who complete a certified training program and pass the visual reexamination will be eligible to take a comprehensive operator’s license exam.
Road Skills Test
• If you are under 21, you can apply to take the road skills test 180 days after getting your instruction permit. If you fail the road test, you will have to wait seven days before another test can be administered. If you fail the test six times, you will have to wait six month before trying again. After that you will only be given two more attempts to pass the test.
The instruction permit holder must have a licensed driver who is 21 years or older with them at all times. During the supervision period, they must log 60 hours of practice driving, with 10 hours completed at night. A parent or legal guardian must certify that the required practice driving has been completed before the person can take a road skill test.
All new drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 must complete a highway safety education course within a year of obtaining their driver’s license. The course can be taken by any of the following methods:
• High school driver’s education class
• Transportation Cabinet approved private course
• Four-hour course given by the Transportation Cabinet in county where the driver resides
Most auto insurance companies offer a discount to drivers who have successfully completed a driver’s education course.
The State of Kentucky has the following restrictions for instruction permit holders:
Anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle between the hours of 12 am and 6 am unless one of the following applies:
• They are driving to or from a work-related activity.
• They are driving to or from a school-related activity.
• They are driving due to an emergency.
Permit holders must drive with a licensed driver who is 21 years or age or older and occupies the passenger seat at all time. Only one non-sibling passenger under age 20 is allowed in the vehicle.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is equivalent to a Department of Motor Vehicles and they require the following documents for proof of identity, residence and Social Security number. The documents must be an original or certified copy:
Proof of Identity
• Birth certificate issued by federal or state agency
• United States passport
• Valid foreign passport with United States immigration document
• Resident Alien Card
Proof of Residence
• Bank statement
• Utility bill
• Pay stub
• Mortgage documents
• Lease or rental agreement
Proof of Social Security Number
• Social Security card (laminated or metal cards not accepted)
• Social Security number
If the Social Security card does not contain the applicant’s legal name, the information must be updated in the Federal Social Security Administration database. Applicants between 16 and 17 will also need to submit proof that they have completed an approved driver’s education course.
When applying for driver’s license in Kentucky, you must meet the following requirements.
• You must pass a driving skills test after the 180-day permit period.
• You must complete a four-hour safety education class before getting a full license.
• You must hold an instruction for a minimum of 30 days before applying for a driver’s license if age 21 or older.
• Provide proof from a parent or legal guardian that you have completed 60 hours of supervised driving, with 10 hours done at night.
Under Age 21
• You must hold an instruction permit for 180 days before applying for a driver’s license.
Under Age 18
• You must take a road test to prove your driving skills before applying for a license. You are limited to carrying one passenger under the age of 20 who is not related to you. If you accumulate more than six points, your driving privileges may be suspended. You are prohibited from having any serious moving violations during the permit phase. If you receive a moving violation during this time, the 180-day waiting period will start over.