New Mexico has a 3-stage Graduated Licensing program that ensures young drivers get incremental experience to different driving situations over a couple years. By doing this GDL systems have proven to lower the extremely high accident and fatality rate of young drivers by restricting their initial driving privileges.
Instructional Permit, 15 years old
At 15 years old young drivers in New Mexico are able to sign up of an approved Driver’s Education Course or Program in the state in order to apply for this instructional permit. After receiving your Driver Education Referral Card you can go to a Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) field office to apply for this first license stage. In order to apply, you will also need two proofs of New Mexico residency, one proof of identity and a proof of identification number.
You must apply in person with a parent or guardian present. You will then be required to pass a vision and a road knowledge test before receiving your Instructional permit. Under this permit there are a number of restrictions for new drivers to prevent young drivers from experiencing too many overwhelming driving situations.
The permit must be held for at least 6 months and during the entire time the permit holder must drive only with another licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has held their own license for a minimum of three years. The driver must also log at least 50 hours of supervised driving time including 10 hours that must be done at night. The driver must maintain a clean driving record for at least 90 days in order to go to the next stage, this includes avoiding drinking and driving with a BAC limit of just 0.2%.
Provisional License, 15 ½ years old
Again you must attend a MVD field office with a parent or guardian and sign an application for your provisional license that states you have passed all requirements of the first stage. These requirements include presenting a TSB Certificate of Completion showing a passing score of the Driver’s Education Program that is state approved, including a minimum 3 hour DWI component. A driving log must also be provided showing the log of 50 hours of driving experience, it can be hand written or typed. Lastly, you must pass a road skills test at the MVD or have a Record of Completion with a passing grade from an approved Driver School that such a test was taken and passed.
There are still a number of restrictions on this license. You must hold it for at least 12 months or one year from its issuance date. You may not carry more than 1 passenger under the age of 21 that is not an immediate family member when driving without another licensed driver over the age of 21. The driver is also restricted from driving at night between 12 midnight and 5am without the accompaniment of a licensed driver over 21 years of age. The exceptions to this include for school, employment, family or medical need or for religious functions, but the driver must have a signed statement outlining the purpose and signed by the appropriate body.
Full License, 16 ½ years old
After the Provisional license has been held for 1 year, the driver may apply for a full license with a parent or guardian to sign the application, if under 18 years old. As long as you have accomplished the requirements in stage 1 and 2 and have not had a traffic violation in the last 90 days and have not been found guilty of a drug or alcohol offense during the provisional period you qualify for a full license in New Mexico as early as 16 and a half years old.
Adult Drivers & Out of State
If you are 18-24 years old and applying for a driver’s license you must complete the “None for the Road” self-study Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) class in order to obtain your full license in addition to the vision, knowledge and road skills test required for a full license.
Over 25 years old, as long as you have not been convicted of a DWI offense you will not be required to complete the self-study course mentioned above. If you have a DWI conviction it will be required even over 25 years of age.
Out of state drivers simply need to turn in their valid driver’s license from their previous state to receive a New Mexico driver’s license. If your license is expired from another US state, or you are a holder of an out of country license you will be required to take a knowledge and road skills test before receiving a New Mexico license. If your license has been revoked, suspended or denied in any other state, that issue must be resolved before applying for a license in New Mexico.