Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in South Carolina
Students can apply for the South Carolina Beginner's Permit at the age of 15. If you meet the minimum driving age requirements, you'll need to study the Driver License Manual before taking your written test. You can pick one up at the same place you apply for your permit: your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When you are ready to be tested, go back to the DMV with the following information:
- Certified birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Proof of residence (official mail with your name and address, or your parent with a current driver's license)
- Proof of insurance
- Parent or legal guardian to sign the application
- Appropriate fees: $2.50 for the permit and $2 for each knowledge test
With the Beginner's Permit, you have certain restrictions:
- You can drive from 6 a.m. to midnight if you're accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least age 21.
- You must have a parent on the seat beside you if you drive from between midnight and 6 a.m.
- You must keep your Beginner's Permit for 180 days before you can apply for a regular driver's license.
- If you are under 18, you must practice driving at least 40 hours with your parent before you can get your regular driver's license; 10 of those hours must be at night.
South Carolina offers a Conditional License for 15 years old and a Restricted License for 16 years old. If you are 15 and have had your Beginner's Permit for 180 days you can apply for the Conditional license. If you are 16 and have held the Beginner's Permit for six months, you can apply for a Restricted License.
For either of these licenses, you'll need to bring the regular identification requirements listed above as well as the same fees and a completed PDLA form, available online using the free Adobe Reader or at your school. This form certifies your school attendance, driver's education, and driving practice with your parent or guardian.
Having the Conditional or Restricted license gives you a bit more freedom than the permit. The restrictions on this one are:
- You can drive alone from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or 8 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time).
- You can drive with any licensed driver over 21 years old from 6 p.m. until midnight. (8 p.m. to midnight during DST).
- You must still have a parent or guardian beside you when driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
- You cannot drive with more than two passengers under 21 years old unless you have a licensed driver over 21 years old with you. One exception is transporting family members or other students to or from school.
A good driving record, no points against your record, and no "at-fault" accidents will allow you full driving privileges after you've had your license for one full year.
A bad driving record, with six or more points on your license held less than a year, will get your license suspended for a minimum of six months.
Be sure to check out our Driver Education section for information about education and practice requirements.
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