- Location: Tennessee
Drivers Permits in Tennessee
Obtaining your learner's permit is an exciting time because it means you're one step closer to applying for your driver's license! Ah, the open road will be yours.
There are three kinds of learner's and instructional permits in Tennessee. Which one you need depends on your age.
If you're under the age of 18, you must comply with Tennessee's Graduated Driver License (GDL) program. You can find specific information about the GDL program in Chapter Three of the Tennessee Driver Handbook.
For your convenience, we've collected information for a brief outline.
In order to obtain your first Tennessee learner permit, which is also called a Class PD license, you must be at least 15 years old and pass both a vision and a written knowledge test.
The application process is fairly simple, as long as you've studied and can pass your written knowledge test. Just head to your local driver license station with the required documents and the $10.50 fee.
With a Class PD license, you can only drive between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least age 21.
If you lose your Class PD license, or allow it to expire, you are subject to starting the application process all over―and paying the fee again, too.
Your Tennessee learner permit is valid for one year, and once you've had it for 180 infraction-free days, you can apply for your intermediate restricted license.
Intermediate Restricted License
Once you've turned 16 and have had your Class PD driver license for 180 infraction-free days, you can apply for your intermediate restricted license.
You'll need to pass another vision test, but for your intermediate restricted test you must pass a road exam in lieu of a written knowledge exam. You must also present a Certification of 50 Hours Behind the Wheel Experience form, completed and signed by a parent or legal guardian.
With a Tennessee intermediate restricted license, you can between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. alone (or with one other passenger), and between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. if you're accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
The fee for an intermediate restricted license is $24.50 if you're 16 years old and $21 if you're 17 years old. It's valid until you're 21 and once you've had it for a year you can apply for your intermediate unrestricted license.
If you lose your intermediate restricted license, or allow it to expire, you are subject to starting the application process all over and paying the fee again, too.
Intermediate Unrestricted License
Once you're at least 17 years old and have had your intermediate restricted license for at least one year, you're ready to apply for your intermediateunrestrictedlicense.
The good news is that this license carries no restrictions different from a regular Tennessee Class D driver license―it just bears the word "restricted" on it.
The fee is $2 and it's valid until you're 21 years old.
If you lose your intermediate unrestricted license, or allow it to expire, you are subject to starting the application process all over and paying the fee again, too.
Drivers over the age of 18 can apply for their Class PD license (learner permit) and bypass the GDL process.
This means you can take your road test and, if you pass it along with another vision test, apply for your Tennessee Class D driver license at any point after earning your learner permit.
Tennessee conveniently allows you to schedule road tests online.
It's best to get tons of driving practice in before you move on to any other phase in the GDL process, or try for your Class D driver license.
Too, check out our Teen Drivers section for safety tips regardless of your age and license status.Other Topics in This SectionArticles