The D.E.P. Academy Driver Education Course


Laws, Licensing, And Registration Page 1

The California Driver License

  • Getting your drivers license is a privilege, not a right. 
  • A drivers license shows that you have been given permission by the State of California to drive on public roadways. 
  • You must apply for your license at the Department of Motor Vehicles.  
  • You need to know that there are different types of drivers licenses, as well as different classes of licenses for various types of vehicles. These depend on their size, weight, what can be towed, what can be carried, and whether it is a motorcycle or a two wheeled vehicle.
  • In this course you will learn a great deal about driving. This will help you with both your permit test and your drive test.  It's important that you prepare yourself before taking either test. 
  • No matter how much you practice, you cannot go from being a beginning driver to a fully experienced, safe driver, overnight.
  • California is one of the many states with the "graduated drivers license" system. This system is based on the idea that a teenager with a new drivers license needs time, and guidance, to gain driving experience and increased skill levels. 

Graduating Drivers License Means You Gain More Driving Privileges In Stages.

  • The first stage of the graduating drivers license system is obtaining your California Provisional Permit. 
  • To get your permit you must be 15.5 years old, complete the drivers education course, and enroll in behind-the-wheel training. You must have your Social Security Number and your parent's signature on your application (form DL44). You must bring a CERTIFIED COPY OF YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE to DMV and take the written test.
  • The current fee is $25 
  • The permit test consists of 46 multiple choice questions. You can miss as many as 8 and pass.

The California Vehicle Code (CVC)

  • The California Vehicle Code contains the laws and regulations governing the licensing process, the expiration and renewal of a drivers license, and the suspension and revocation of a drivers license.
  • Special certifications or endorsements are required to, operate a tow truck, operate a farm labor vehicle, transport hazardous materials, (d) drive fire fighting vehicles, drive ambulances, transport passengers, drive school or youth buses, drive a commercial vehicle, pull large trailers, or ride a  motorcycle.
  • The California Vehicle Code specifies what types of trailers and vehicles can be towed, what types of vehicles are necessary for towing different trailers and vehicles, and what licenses, certifications, or endorsements are necessary to be able to tow these trailers and vehicles.
  • The California Vehicle Code specifies the types of hazardous materials that can be transported, under what conditions, and the licensing or certification of persons necessary for operating the vehicle.
  • The California Vehicle Code addresses the definition of words and phrases relating to motor vehicles, licensing and registration administration issues, the registration of vehicles, and certificates of title.

Drivers Licenses And Permits

  • There is more than just one type of driver license. Different types and classes of licenses, and instruction permits, are required and issued for various types of vehicles.
  • These depend on the weight of the vehicle, what can be towed, what can be carried in the vehicle or trailer, and whether the vehicle is a motorcycle or other 2-wheeled vehicle.
  • They also depend on whether you are learning to drive, your age, and whether you have completed a driver education course.
  • Some licenses and permits have special restrictions as to when, with whom, under what conditions, and what type of vehicle you can drive.
  • DMV provides ID cards which are not driver licenses. These ID cards are useful for identification, but are not legal for driving a vehicle.

Application For A Drivers License

To obtain a driver license you must: 

  • Be in the United States legally.
  • Provide proof of age, residence, and a social security number.
  • Completed a driver education and driver training course (if under 17.5 years of age).
  • Give a thumb print.
  • Pass a vision test, a written test showing that you understand the traffic laws of California, and a behind-the-wheel test of your driving skills.

You can call to make appointments at the DMV to apply for your license and take your test, instead of waiting in line. Call 1-888-777-0133.  You can also go to DMV's web site: for appointment services.

  • When you complete the application process, you must be prepared to have your photograph taken. It cannot be taken at a later time.  Your license will be mailed to you by DMV.
  • If you use a false name or knowingly make false statements on your license application, your license will be denied, and if it was already issued, it will be revoked.

DMV Fees

  • Fees must be paid to obtain an original license, renew a license, reinstate a license (if it has been revoked or suspended), obtain a duplicate license, upgrade your license to another class, or add an endorsement.
  • You must also pay fees to resubmit an application for a license if you fail three written tests or three driving tests.


  • You must take written and vision tests before you can get your learners permit. Teenagers must also complete drivers education.
  • Adults must schedule and pass a behind-the-wheel test at DMV.
  • Teenagers must have their learners permit for 6 months, complete 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, had 50 hours of practice (at least 10 at night). Then they can schedule and take the behind-the-wheel test for their drivers license.
  • Written and vision tests are required when you apply for an original, renewal, or upgrade to a different class of license.
  • Appointments can be made to take the permit test by either phoning the DMV (1-888-777-0133) or scheduling it on-line at DMV's web site: must call to make an appointment for your drive test.

Temporary License

  • If you successfully complete all the procedures, requirements, and examinations for a license you will be issued a temporary (paper) license.
  • This will permit you to operate a motor vehicle for a period of 60 days, or until your actual license has been issued or refused.

Instruction Permit

  • If you are under 18 you will receive what is also called a Provisional Permit. You are in a special group to receive the provisional permit.  
  • As a minor you may use your permit (after you have completed at least 1 hour of behind-the-wheel instruction) to practice driving with your parents.  (You may also drive with a guardian, or spouse who is age 25 or older and has a valid drivers license). 
  • The person you drive with must sit close enough to take control of the car at any given time. 
  • With a  Provisional Instruction Permit you may not drive alone - not even to the DMV office to take your drive test for your drivers license.
  • There are differences between an instruction permit and a regular driver license for both minors and adults. These include restrictions on when, where, with whom, and under what conditions you may drive. In addition, there are differences in how an instruction permit is obtained for minors and adults.

Provisional Drivers License

  • A drivers licensed issued to a person younger than 18 years of age is called a provisional license.
  • To obtain a provisional instruction permit you can be no younger than 15 1/2 years old.  If you are not at least 17.5 years old you must have completed driver education classes and enrolled in a driver training program.
  • Persons with a provisional license (under 18) may not be employed to drive a motor vehicle.
  • You must be 21 years of age or older to apply for a license to drive commercial vehicles if used in the interstate commerce or to transport hazardous materials.
  • In addition to other licensing requirements, provisional license applicants must complete 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel driving practice, 10 of which must be a night.

Possession Of Your Driver's License 

  • If you are a resident of California, you must have a California Drivers License with you when you drive in this state. 
  • If you get pulled over you must show it to any peace officer who may ask to see it. 
  • You must also show it to the other driver if you're involved in an accident.
  • It is the most widely used form of identification in California.

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