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Drivers Ed in Washington DC

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Driver's Ed in Washington, D.C.

If you are a teenager applying for your first driver's license, Driver's Ed is not a requirement, but you will need to satisfy the requirements of the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers (GRAD) program.

While Driver's Ed is not required, taking a course can help all drivers improve their safe driving skills and learn about topics including:

  • Traffic laws and the rules of the road.
  • Defensive driving techniques.
  • Handling a vehicle in hazardous situations.

On this page, you'll find information about some of the first steps you'll need to take to obtain your driver's license.

New Driver Requirements in Washington, D.C.

You can start the process to obtain your first driver's license when you are at least 16 years old.

You'll be able to apply for a learner's permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

With your learner's permit, you'll be able to drive with your parent or a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.

Getting Your WA, D.C. Learner's Permit

First-time drivers under 21 years old will fall under the requirements for the GRAD program.

To apply for a learner's permit, you are required to go in person to a DMV service location and provide:

You will need to pass the knowledge and vision test. To study for the written knowledge test, read the D.C. DMV's Driver's Examination Guide.

Under the GRAD program, there are several restrictions that you must keep in mind after you receive your learner's permit:

  • You must always be accompanied and instructed by a driver who is at least 21 years old, possesses a valid driver's license, and is seated in the front passenger seat.
  • Driving hours are restricted.
  • You and your passengers must always wear seat belts.
  • You may not get paid to operate a motor vehicle, nor may you operate a commercial vehicle.

While you won't need to complete a Driver's Ed course, you will need to complete at least 40 hours of supervised driving and submit a Certification of Eligibility for Provisional License (Form DMV-GRAD-HR40).

The GRAD program has strict enforcement mechanisms. It is up to you to follow the rules and maintain your driving privileges. Just as when you have a full license, there are penalties for violating traffic laws and GRAD program requirements.

Any traffic violation for which points could be assessed will increase the length of time you must wait before you can apply for your provisional license.

Driver's Ed and WA, D.C. Teen Driver Resources

All drivers can benefit from a Driver's Ed course, whether you take it online or with a licensed driving instructor.

It may provide you with safe driving tips you can apply to your behind-the-wheel practice. It may even help you ace your DMV road test.

Additionally, the Washington, D.C. DMV provides a list of online driving safety resources for both new and experienced drivers.

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