Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Washington
In the state of Washington, you will be issued an intermediate driver's license by the Department of Licensing until you are 18 years old.
There are a few things you need to do before you can be issued an intermediate license:
- Be at least 15 years old.
- Have parental consent if you're below 18 years of age.
- Take a traffic safety course if you're younger than 15 1/2 years old.
- Have a learner's permit for at least six months.
- Pass a written driver test if you're not enrolled in a traffic safety course.
- Provide proof of identity.
Getting your driver's license is a big step toward gaining your independence, but first you have to learn the skills necessary to drive safely on the roadways. The Department of Licensing will require that you are at least 15 years old and enrolled in a traffic safety class. If you're older than 15 1/2, you can forgo the traffic safety class by taking the written test to prove you understand the rules of the road and how to safely handle a vehicle.
Before being issued a valid driver's license, you must first drive for at least six months under a driver instruction permit. In order to get your permit, you need to provide proof of identity. If you're not yet 18, then a
consent form must be signed by your parents and submitted with your application.
You might be asking why you have to have an intermediate driver's license instead of a license with all the privileges drivers 18 and older have. The answer is simple. Statistically, driving is the most dangerous thing you will do on a daily basis, and it takes time behind the wheel to learn all the skills you need to make the best decisions on the road.
It has been proven that the younger you are, the higher the chances of you getting into an accident. Therefore, many states are implementing the intermediate driver's license. It has been shown to save the lives of drivers under the age of 18.
Intermediate License Restrictions
The difference between an intermediate license and a full driver's license is that you're forbidden from driving in certain situations―namely, those that are the most dangerous and contribute to the most teen driver accidents. The Washington Department of Licensing wants you to avoid these risks until you've had a fair amount of driving practice:
- No passengers under the age of 20 for the first six months you hold an intermediate license.
- No more than three passengers under the age of 20 until you are 18.
- No driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. without a licensed driver (25 or older) in the car with you.
Once you've had your intermediate license for one year without any incidents on your driving record, you will be given full driving privileges.
If you are at least 16 years old, but younger than 18, you can apply for an Enhanced Intermediate Driver License.
Think of these enhanced versions as what you get when you combine an intermediate license and an Enhanced Driver License (EDL). In other words, you get the same EDL benefits (acceptable passport alternative for re-entering the United States at land and sea borders) with the same intermediate license restrictions.
To apply for an Enhanced Intermediate Driver License, you must meet all the same requirements for regular intermediate licenses, as well as follow the same steps to apply for an EDL:
- Make an appointment at your nearest EDL/ID office location. Call (866) 520-4365.
- Take proof of proof of citizenship, identity, and residence, your Social Security number, and the appropriate fee.
- Complete the application (available at the EDL/ID office location).
- Pass any applicable exams, which may include a vision screening and knowledge and driving tests.
- Undergo an interview with a licensing services representative.
- Sign the biometric identification and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) declarations.
- Smile for the camera!
Even if you go a full year without any violations on your driving record and you're given full driving privileges, you are still subject to the same penalties for bad driving as on an intermediate license.
One violation will get you a warning letter from the Department of Licensing. Two traffic violations and you'll receive a letter suspending your license for six months or until you're 18, whichever comes first. If you go so far as to get a third driving violation, you will lose your license until you're 18. To add insult to injury, your parents will get a copy of the suspension order, too.
Other Topics in This Section
Your Opinion Matters To Us!Send Feedback