With one of the US’s worst teen crash statistics the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet instituted Graduated Licensing in the state in 2006 with a goal to ensure that the safety of drivers was increased within the state, especially for new and young drivers.
Kentucky’s Graduated Licensing Program
Permit Phase, Age 16
One of the states with the oldest start to driving, Kentucky only allows teenagers to start the process on or after their 16th birthday. The parent or guardian is required to sign the application and the Permit Phase must be held for a minimum of 180 days. Standard vision and written knowledge tests are required as well. During this phase Permit drivers may only drive with an adult licensed driver 21 years or older and may not driver between the hours of midnight and 6am. The only exception is if the driver can demonstrate good cause, generally accepted in the cases of emergency.
Restrictions on the license also include only 1 unrelated passenger in the vehicle during this phase, which in most states is limited to the next phase in graduated licensing. The driver must not driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
To move onto the next stage 60 hours of practice driving must be attained and witnessed by the parent or guardian including 10 hours of night driving. This behind-the-wheel practice requirement is one of the most extensive of any state GDL requirement. Any moving violations while under the Permit phase also restart the 180 day minimum holding requirement in order to move to the Provisional phase from the date of the infraction.
Intermediate Phase, 180 days after Permit Phase
After holding your Permit Phase for 6 months and completing a road skills test, 60 hours of driving, witnessed by a parent or guardian and avoiding any traffic violations you can apply for the Intermediate phase license in Kentucky.
Similar restrictions remain for this license in Kentucky including only 1 unrelated passenger less than 20 years of age is allowed and driving between midnight and 6:00 am is prohibited except to work, school or for a good cause as decided by the officer or court. Alcohol and drugs are still prohibited for all drivers under the age of 21. The “Zero Tolerance law” in effect in Kentucky puts the BAC limit at 0.2% for underage drivers.
In order to move onto the Full license in Kentucky all teenage drivers under 18 years old must attend a driver’s education course. An accredited private driver training course, a High School Driver’s Ed course or the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Graduated Licensing Course is required before applying for a full license.
Full License, Age 18 or 180 days after Intermediate Phase
If you are 18 years old and have met the conditions of a full license including the Driver’s Ed course, mandatory behind-the-wheel hours, and passing the road skills test you can apply for a full license.
In Kentucky it could take you as little as 1 year from your start of driving to getting a full license in the state, acquiring your full license at 17 years of age if planned perfectly. A full license at 17 has no restrictions like some other states impose until a certain age is reached. A parent or guardian is required to sign full license applications for anyone under 18 years old.
18 year olds that did not complete a Driver’s Ed course while holding their Intermediate Phase permit are still required to complete a 4 hour KTC course that ensures road safety is learned by new drivers.
Driver Education Courses
Although Driver’s Education courses are required as part of the GDL process in Kentucky there are multiple options to prospective drivers. Also the requirement for Driver’s Ed in Kentucky only has a classroom or online component with the 60 hours behind-the-wheel practice required can be done independently with adult supervision.
Therefore the 4 hour of classroom driver’s education that is mandatory to receive a full license is available from multiple sources including High Schools and colleges, private driver training schools both in class and online and from the KTC with class or online options.
Out of State Transfer
If you are moving from another US state and are over 18 years old, simply apply for a Kentucky license at your nearest county clerk’s office to replace your old state license. If you are from another country and over 18 years old, you will need to pass written and vision tests, but will not be required to take a driving test or complete a Driver’s Ed course.
For driver’s from out of state under 18 years old but over 16 years old, and your license is still valid in your previous state, you will simply need to visit a county clerk, surrender your license and receive a new Kentucky license. No driver’s under 16 can attain a license in Kentucky. You will then need to finish your GDL through the Kentucky program.