Behind the Wheel in Tennessee
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Tennessee Behind-the-Wheel Training
If you're a teenager applying for a new driver's license in Tennessee, you'll need to complete supervised behind-the-wheel driving practice to satisfy the graduated driver's license (GDL) requirements of the Tennessee Department of Safety (DOS).
Your behind-the-wheel requirements will help to develop your safe driving skills, build your driving experience, and better prepare you to pass your driving test. If you spend a lot of time practicing your driving with a licensed supervisor, you'll be better prepared to get on the road and behind the wheel with your unrestricted driver's license.
On this page you'll find information about the Tennessee DMV supervised driving requirements and the next steps towards your first driver's license.
Tennessee Behind-the-Wheel Requirements
If you are younger than 18 years old, you'll need to complete at least 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel driving practice.
You can begin your behind-the-wheel practice when you are at least 15 years old by applying for your learner's permit.
For more information about obtaining your learner's permit, please visit our Driver’s Permits in Tennessee page.
While professional driver's education/driver's training is not a requirement to obtain your first driver's license in Tennessee, completing a course can provide you with valuable driving knowledge and expand upon your driving experience.
Driver's Ed programs are generally offered by public schools and professional driver's training schools. Regardless of where you take a course, you'll likely receive both classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel practice with a professional trainer.
TN Behind-the-Wheel Practice
While you hold your Tennessee DMV learner's permit, you'll be able to drive:
- Only while supervised by a licensed adult who is at least 21 years old.
- Between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Before advancing from your learner's permit to the next stage of Tennessee GDL program, you'll need to complete at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with at least 10 hours completed at night.
After you complete your supervised driving practice, your parent/legal guardian will need to sign a Certification of 50 Hours Behind the Wheel Driving Experience (Form SF-1256).
You should spend as much time as you need developing your driving skills and practicing the driving techniques you'll face during your Tennessee DMV road test and as a young, unsupervised driver. It's important to practice your behind-the-wheel training in a variety of road and traffic conditions.
Next Steps - Getting Your Intermediate License
You'll be eligible to apply for your intermediate driver's license after you have:
- Turned 16 years old.
- Held your learner's permit for at least 180 days.
- Completed your behind-the-wheel practice requirements and submitted a signed Certification of 50 Hours Behind the Wheel Driving Experience (Form SF-1256).
After you satisfy the requirements above, you can schedule your road test on the Tennessee Department of Safety website.
For more information about the documents, forms, and fees you'll need to submit to the Tennessee DPS for your driver's license, please visit our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Tennessee page.