Graduated Driver License For First Time Applicants Under Age 18

The graduated driver license program is designed to reduce the high accident and fatality rate of minor drivers. Minors will receive additional supervised driving experience and reduced exposure to high-risk driving situations. The parent or sponsor will actively participate in training the minor and determining when the minor is capable of increased driving authority.

Level One Learner's Permit

Applicant's eligibility requirements:

  1. Must be at least 16 years old, and less than 18 years of age.
  2. Must present a Delaware Driver Education Certificate (Blue Certificate) as proof that you passed a certified Delaware Driver Education Course. If you passed a course in another state, your out-of-state certificate must be approved by the Department of Education; this approval must be presented to the Division of Motor Vehicles. For approval send the certificate to Dr. M. Dean Betts, Education Associate Driver Education, Department of Education, Collette Education Resource Center, 35 Commerce Way, Suite 1, Dover, Delaware 19904, or fax to 302.739.1780 (Telephone 302.857.3320).
  3. All minor's driver license applications must be signed by a sponsor. The sponsor is held jointly liable with the minor for any damages resulting from the minor's negligence. The sponsor has the final authority to determine if the minor is capable of handling the responsibility of operating a motor vehicle and the authority to designate who may supervise the minor driver. The sponsor may withdraw his/her endorsement at any time until the minor reaches age 18, thereby cancelling the minor's driving privileges. The following sponsors are listed in order of preference:
  1. Either father or mother of the minor if both parents are living together within this State and the minor resides with both parents. (Note: Parents are verified by using the minor's original or certified copy of their birth certificate which must include mother and/or father's name)
  1. - OR -
  1. Father of the minor, if the father is living within this State, and the minor resides with the father only. Mother of the minor, if the mother is living within this State and the minor resides with the mother only. Father or mother, if the father or mother lives within this State, and the minor resides with neither parent, and the minor has no legal guardian within this State. (Note: Parents are verified by using the minor's original or certified copy of their birth certificate which must include mother and/or father's name. Step-parents can not act as a sponsor unless the minor is adopted or appointed the minor's guardian.)
  1. - OR -
  1. Legal guardian or court-appointed custodian of the minor, duly appointed as such under the laws of this State.
  1. - OR -
  1. By any suitable person acceptable to the Secretary of Transportation or the Chief of Driver Services, 302.744.2561.
  2. The sponsor must sign the minor's drivers license application in the presence of a Division licensing employee. However, the parent, guardian, or court-appointed custodian acting as a sponsor can have his/her signature notarized on the application and have it forwarded to the Division.
  1. The sponsor who signs the driver license application has final authority over the minors driving privileges and may withdraw their endorsement at any time until the minor reaches age 18.
  1. Must provide documentation proving the applicant's name and date of birth, social security number if eligible, and two proofs of Delaware residency (unless the sponsor is a licensed Delaware driver and lives at the same address as the applicant). If proper documentation is provided, you will be issued a federally compliant driver license.  A list of approved documents are contained in the Required Documentation Table in this chapter.
  2. The applicant must pay $40.00 Class D license fee and pass an eye screen at the time of application.  All new licenses will be 8 year licenses.
  3. Minors who require specialized evaluation, training or equipment to operate a motor vehicle because of a physical or mental disability will be identified by the driver education teacher and tested by the Division.

Level One Learner's Permit Restrictions:

  1. Permit must be in the possession of the permit holder when driving a motor vehicle.
  2. The permit holder and all passengers, under the age of 18, must wear a safety belt or be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat while the vehicle is in motion and the permit holder is driving.
  3. The permit holder shall not operate a motor vehicle while using a cellular telephone, text messaging device, or similar electronic device.
  4. No passengers other than an adult supervisor and 1 other passenger can be in the vehicle during the entire first 12 months of valid driving authority. However, the passenger restrictions of this paragraph do not apply to immediate members of the driver's family as long as the adult supervisor is in the car.
  5. When the permit holder is under mandatory supervision, the supervisor must be a properly licensed parent, guardian or licensed driver (approved by the sponsor) who is at least 25 years of age and has held a Class D license for at least 5 years. The supervising driver must be seated beside the permit holder in the front seat of the vehicle when it is in motion. No person other than the supervising driver can be in the front seat.
  6. For the first six months after issuance of a Level One Learner's Permit:
    1. The permit holder must be supervised at all times.
    2. The sponsor shall certify that the permit holder has driven for 50 hours; 10 of which includes night-time driving. The certification is to be turned into the Department of Education after the first six months of valid driving authority.
  7. After the first six months of valid Level One Learner's Permit driving authority,:
    1. The permit holder may drive unsupervised between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
    2. The permit holder may drive between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. only when under supervision. Exception: The permit holder may travel without supervision during those hours when going directly to and from church activities, work activities, and the permit holder's school activities on school property.
    3. No passengers other than the adult supervisor and 1 other passenger can be in the vehicle with the exception of immediate members of the driver's family provided the adult supervisor is in the car. During the second 6 month period of unsupervised driving, when a supervisor is not present, only 1 other passenger in addition to the driver can be in the vehicle.
  8. Persons who violate the Level One Learner's Permit restrictions are considered as driving without a license which will result in a 2-month suspension for the first offense and a 4-month suspension for subsequent offences.

Eligibility for a Class D Operator's License

A permit holder who is at least 17 years old, but less than 18 years old, may obtain a Class D operator's license when the driver has held a Level One Learner's Permit for at least 12 months, the sponsor has not withdrawn his/her endorsement, and the applicant's driving privileges are not suspended, revoked, canceled, denied, or surrendered.

NOTE: The Level One Learner's Permit will automatically convert to a Class D license once the permit holder has completed a full 12 months of valid driving authority. The time used to compute the 12 months of required driving experience shall not include any period of time when the permit holder's driving privilege has been suspended, revoked, canceled, denied, or surrendered. A period of additional driving experience equivalent to that of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, denial, or surrender will be added to the end of the original 12 month period. This will ensure that the permit holder has fully complied with the required full 12 months of valid driving authority.

Sample of Forms:

GDL Instructions
GDL Checklist