pennsylvania-road-signLike most other states, Pennsylvania uses a Graduated Driver’s License Program (GDL) to help young drivers learn important skills while still remaining in a low-risk environment. GDL programs have been shown to reduce traffic collisions caused by inexperienced young drivers.

In Pennsylvania, the GDL process consists of three stages:

  • Learner’s Permit
  • Junior License
  • Full License

This guide will demonstrate how to prepare for the Pennsylvania permit test, finish the other stages of the GDL process and ultimately go on to receive your Full License.

Learner’s Permit

When you are 16 years old, you can apply for your Learner’s Permit in the state of Pennsylvania. To do so, you will need to pass a written permit test, which will check to make sure you have learned the rules of the road. It will also test your ability to recognize various traffic signs and signals.

Study Your Heart Out

Passing the test on the first try will require plenty of study. We provide a free copy of the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual for you to use, or you can request a physical copy by visiting the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PADOT) offices.

Take Advantage of Practice Exams

Practice exams are a wonderful resource for learning, and if you skip them, you may end up taking the permit test without being fully prepared. Our Pennsylvania practice permit test features many of the same topics as the regular test, and passing it will up your odds of doing well on the real thing.

Visit the PADOT Offices and Do Your Testing

On test day, be sure to bring along:

  • Form DL-180, which must be signed by a medical professional to show that you are physically able to drive.
  • Form DL-180 TD, which must be signed by your parent or guardian.
  • Your parent or guardian. If one of them can’t come along, you must have form DL-180 TD notarized.
  • Two proofs of residency (a utility bill, school enrollment card, or credit-card bill).
  • Your birth certificate and Social Security card.
  • $34.50 in fees.

Now, you will be given your permit test. Do your best to stay centered and think about all the information you studied. As long as you keep your wits about you, you are sure to do well. When you pass, your vision will also be checked to make sure you can see well enough to drive.

Begin Your Driving Practice

While carrying your permit, you must do 65 hours of supervised practice driving. Of those hours, 10 must take place at night. Another five must take place during difficult weather such as rain or snow. You don’t have to take driver’s education to move on to the next step in the GDL process, but if you don’t, you will have to carry your restricted Junior License until age 18 instead of earning full driving privileges before that time. For this reason, most young drivers choose to take driver’s education.

Junior License

When you are at least 16 and a half years old, you have held your permit for at least six months and completed the practice requirements, you can make an appointment for the behind-the-wheel driving test. Call your local PADOT office to make an appointment.

When the day of your test arrives, be sure to bring:

  • Your permit.
  • A completed Form DL-180C, which needs to be signed by your parent or guardian to show that you completed your practice driving.
  • A licensed parent or guardian.
  • A registered and insured vehicle to use for the driving test.

The road test will check how well you can maintain control of your vehicle and obey traffic laws. When you pass, you will be given a camera card, which you will take to a Photo License Center. Here, you will be given your Junior License. Be aware that while it may look similar to a regular license, it still comes with some restrictions. Unless accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian, you cannot:

  • Drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. except for work, school and volunteer events.
  • Drive with more than one unrelated passenger under the age of 18 during the first six months.
  • Drive with more than three unrelated passengers under the age of 18 during the second six months.

Driver’s License

When you are 17 and a half years old, you have taken driver’s education and you have held your Junior License for a full year without any traffic accidents or convictions, the restrictions will be removed from your license. If you skipped driver’s education, this will happen when you are 18 years old.

Congratulations! You are a now a fully licensed driver.

Additional Information

PADOT does not accept cash or credit cards. All fees must be paid with a personal check or money order.