Like many states, New Mexico requires that all new drivers go through a Graduated Driver’s License Program (GDL), a multi-stage process that has been show to help reduce accidents due to inexperienced drivers. The GDL can help you gain important driving skills while still remaining under the supervision of your parent, guardian or driving instructor.
In New Mexico, the GDL process includes three stages:
- Instructional Permit
- Provisional License
- Full License
This guide will walk you through each stage of the GDL process and show you how to prepare for the New Mexico permit test. From there, you will learn how to become a fully licensed driver.
When you are 15 years old and enrolled in an authorized driver’s education program, you can apply for the Instructional Permit (or learner’s permit) in the state of New Mexico. To do so, you must pass a written knowledge test (or permit test) that will check your awareness of traffic signs, traffic signals, and the laws and rules of the road.
Study Hard and Ensure Success
Doing well on the permit test doesn’t come down to luck. The more you study, the better the chances are that you will pass on the first try. Take advantage of our free copy of the New Mexico Driver’s Handbook, reading through the entire thing and spending extra time on any chapters you find confusing.
Practice Exams Are a Valuable Resource
Our New Mexico practice permit test contains many of the same subjects as the actual test, and by taking it, you can gauge your preparedness. When you pass the practice test a few different times, you should feel comfortable applying for your permit.
Visit the Offices of the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and Take Your Tests
When you’re ready for your exam, visit the MVD office and bring along:
- Your Social Security card.
- Proof of identity (your birth certificate, your U.S. passport).
- Two proofs of New Mexico residency.
- Your parent or guardian.
- A referral card from an approved driver’s education course.
- $10 in permit fees.
At this point, you will be given the written permit test. Try to relax and remember all the information you studied so carefully. Your hard work will pay off when you pass.
Next, you will be given a vision exam to make sure you can see well enough to drive safely. When it’s determined that you can, you will be given your Instruction Permit.
Start Your Practice Driving
While holding your Instruction Permit, you are required to complete your driver’s education course, which must include three hours of education on driving under the influence. You must also do at least 50 hours of practice driving, supervised by an adult age 21 or above who has held his or her license for at least three years, with 10 of those hours taking place at night.
When you are 15 and a half years old, you have held your Instruction Permit for at least six months without any traffic or alcohol violations, you have passed driver’s education, and you have completed all of your required practice requirements, you’re ready to apply for your Provisional License.
At this point, you most likely already took a behind-the-wheel driving test as a part of your driver’s education training. If so, you will simply need to pay your fees and pass a second vision test to get your Provisional License. However, if your course did not offer this test, then you will need to take the driving test with an MVD examiner to get your license.
When you’re ready, visit the MVD offices and bring along:
- Your parent or legal guardian (he or she must sign your forms).
- Proof that you completed your driver’s education course.
- Proof that you completed your supervised practice driving.
- The same identification and residency documents you used before.
- A registered and insured vehicle to use for the test, if taking it is a requirement for you.
- $18 in fees.
When you get your Provisional License, be aware that it comes with a couple of restrictions. Unless accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or above, you cannot:
- Drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
- Carry more than one passenger under the age of 21.
When you’ve held your Provisional License for a full year without any accidents, traffic violations, or drug or alcohol convictions, you may return to the MVD offices to apply for your full license. Your parent or guardian must go along with you to sign your application and confirm that you successfully completed the first two stages of the GDL process.
Congratulations! You are now a fully licensed driver.
If you receive any traffic violation while holding your Instruction Permit, you will be required to hold your permit for an additional 30 days before being allowed to apply for your Provisional License. The same goes for any traffic violation you receive while holding your Provisional License.