The goal of the Graduated Driver Licensing program is to curb the overall number of crashes involving teenage drivers, especially the high number of deadly crashes with teen involvement. Kentucky currently has one of the highest teen crash rates in the nation. Teenage drivers account for only six percent of the state’s driving population, yet they are involved in about 18 percent of fatal crashes in Kentucky and more than 20 percent of all highway crashes in the state. The Graduated Driver Licensing program is only required for drivers obtaining their original permit at the age of 16 or 17 and uses an intermediary period of six months between the learner's permit and full, unrestricted license. During the intermediary phase, teenagers will have an intermediate license and are able to drive on their own, but with two restrictions on their driving privileges - one restricting driving from 12:00am (midnight) to 6:00am,(except in the case of an emergency) and a second restricting the driver to only one unrelated passenger under the age of 20.

Print your Eligibility Letter

  Print eligibility letter

  Check eligibility date  

Steps to Obtaining a License

Step 1 - Permit Phase

Drivers must be 16 years of age to take the written knowledge and vision tests. Learn more about what to expect by downloading and reviewing the KY Driver Manual.

Requirements

Drivers will need their Social Security card, an original or certified birth certificate, and proof of residence. Acceptable documents for proof of Kentucky residence are a utility bill or agreement, mortgage documents, postmarked letter with driver's name and current address, deed or property tax bill, or a rental housing agreement. A P.O. Box is not acceptable; it must be the physical address.

For persons under 18, a parent or guardian must sign the application, taking financial responsibility for the applicant. A legal guardian must have a certified copy of guardianship papers.

If under the age of 18, the driver must present a School Compliance Verification Form issued by their school. (reference: No Pass/No Drive Law)

If the driver has yet to complete the required driver education training course, reference the Driver Education Training section below.

If You Pass the Permit Test
A distinctive ‘under 21’ permit will be issued. Applicants under the age of 21 must hold the driving permit for a minimum of 180 days and comply with the following requirements: 
  • Permit holders may drive only when accompanied (in the front passenger seat) by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older.
  • The driver must complete a Practice Driving Log a minimum of 60 hours of practice driving, 10 hours of which must be completed at night.
  • The driver is not permitted to drive between the hours of 12:00 A.M. (midnight) and 6:00 A.M., unless the driver can demonstrate a good cause for driving, such as emergencies, school-, or work-related activities.
  • If the driver is convicted of a moving traffic violation as indicated in KRS 186, 189, and 189A, they will have to restart the 180 day waiting period.  

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited. All drivers under the age of 21 are subject to “Zero Alcohol Tolerance” (Defined as .02 Blood Alcohol Concentration).

All drivers are subject to Kentucky’s point system. A driver under the age of 18 who accumulates more than 6 points, or a driver age 18 and over who accumulates 12 points may have their driving privilege suspended. No serious moving violations for those under the age of 18. Buckle Up, it’s the Law! Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt at all times.

If You Do Not Pass the Permit Test

The driver may try again the next available testing day. Applicants can take the written test a total of six (6) times. If the driver fails the written test six (6) times, they must wait six (6) months before trying again.

Step 2 - Intermediate License Phase

After holding the permit for 180 days, the driver may apply for an Intermediate License and take the driving skills test. Testing times and locations are available from the Circuit Clerk’s Office in the driver's county of residence. An appointment may be necessary. The motor vehicle the driver uses for testing must be properly registered and proof of liability insurance is required. The driver’s Parent/Guardian must certify the driver has completed 60 hours of practice driving, 10 of which must occur at night. For Practice Driving Log and Verification Form go to https://eligibility.gdl.kytc.ky.gov.

If the driver has yet to complete the required driver education training course, reference the Driver Education Training section below.

If You Pass the Skills Test

After successfully completing the road test administered by a Kentucky State Police examiner, the examiner will place an "Intermediate License" sticker on the driver's permit. After holding the intermediate license for 180 days or once the driver turns 18 years old, the driver will then be eligible for a full license, provided that the required driver education course has been completed (see Driver Education Training). The driver must still comply with the following requirements: 

  • The driver is not permitted to drive between the hours of 12:00 A.M. (midnight) and 6:00 A.M., unless the driver can demonstrate a good cause for driving, such as emergencies, school-, or work-related activities.
  • If the driver is convicted of a moving traffic violation as indicated in KRS 186, ​189, and 189A, they will have to restart the 180 day waiting period. 

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited. All drivers under the age of 21 are subject to "Zero Alcohol Tolerance" (Defined as .02 Blood Alcohol Concentration). A driver under the age of 18 who accumulates more than 6 points may have their driving privilege suspended. No serious moving violations for those under the age of 18. Buckle Up, it’s the Law! Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt at all times.

If You Do Not Pass the Skills Test

Drivers must wait one week before taking the test again. If the driver fails the road test six (6) times, they must wait six (6) months before another test will be given. They will then have only two (2) attempts to pass the test.

Step 3 - Full Unrestricted License Phase

Intermediate license holders under 18 years of age who have completed the driver education course requirement and held the intermediate license for at least 180 days may apply for a full unrestricted license. Permit or Intermediate license holders 18 years of age or older who have completed the driver education course requirement and held the permit for 180 days may apply for a full unrestricted license. The driver will need to print and take a Graduated Licensing Eligibility letter when applying for an intermediate or a full unrestricted license. Go to https://eligibility.gdl.kytc.ky.gov​.

An “Under 21” distinctive license will be issued. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited. All drivers under the age of 21 are subject to “Zero Alcohol Tolerance” (Defined as .02 Blood Alcohol Concentration). All drivers are subject to Kentucky’s point system. A driver under the age of 18 who accumulates more than 6 points, or a driver age 18 and over who accumulates 12 points may have their driving privilege suspended. Buckle Up, it’s the Law! Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt at all times.

Information for Teen Drivers and Parents/Guardians

It is up to the Parents/Guardians to decide when their teen is ready to drive. Drivers under the age of 18 cannot apply for a permit or license without the signature of a parent or guardian accepting responsibility. By signing the application form, the parent/guardian is jointly liable with the applicant for any damages. Parent/Guardian must complete the form at the Circuit Clerks office, so that an official can witness the signature and verify guardianship. (Must provide birth certificate or guardianship papers signed by the judge.)

A Parent/Guardian has the right to withdraw their responsibility at any time. The Parent/Guardian Withdrawal of Responsibility form must be completed and submitted to the Circuit Clerks office. Once this is received and entered the minor’s permit or license will be cancelled until another application form accepting responsibility is signed.

Kentucky drivers under the age of 18 must go through three phases of licensing: Learner’s Permit, Intermediate License, and then a Full Unrestricted License.

Before a teen driver can advance to the Intermediate License phase, the Parent/Guardian must document and sign the Practice Driving Log and verification form certifying the driver has completed 60 hours of practice driving, 10 of which must occur at night.

Parents/Guardians play a very important role in their teen's licensing process. Parents become role models, teachers, monitors and supervisors when their teen is learning to drive.
Below are some tools to help you and your teen through the licensing process:

Parent Guide - Teaching Your Teen
Parent-Teen Agreement
Practice Driving Log
A Family Guide to Teen Driver Safety
KY Driver Manual

Parents can help reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes, especially fatal crashes, by getting involved in your teen’s driver education.

Driver Education Training

Drivers whose permits were issued under the age of 18 are required to complete a driver education program before moving to the full unrestricted licensing phase. When the new driver passes the written test, the license examiner will forward the driver’s information to the Division of Driver Licensing to enroll the driver into an education course in their county. The course offered by the Transportation Cabinet is a free, 4-hour course on driver safety. A letter will be sent to the driver with information on the education course once they have been scheduled for a class. Drivers should contact the Division of Driver Licensing at (502) 564-1257 with any questions. 

Acceptable methods of completing the course are as follows: 

  • Graduated License Course (Free 4-hour course provided by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in the drivers home county) High School Drivers Education Course or a similar course offered by a Kentucky Community College, Vocational School or Job Corps.
  • Online Graduated Licensing Course at https://www.myimprov.com/drivers-education/kentucky/​.​
  • Private Driver Training course at a Division of Driver License approved driver training school. (see below)
 Preferred Driving School
8172 Mall Rd. Suite 234
Florence, KY 41042
 Sure-Drive, Inc.
3033 Dixie Hwy. Bldg. A, Suite 207
Edgewood, KY 41017
 ABC Driving School
3002 Taylorsville Rd.
Louisville, KY 40205
 Green Light Driving School
(ensure the driver signs up for the 4-hour classroom instruction)
13501 Aiken Rd.
Louisville, KY 40245
 Kentucky Driving School
(ensure the driver signs up for the 4-hour classroom instruction)
3715 Bardstown Rd. Suite 410
Louisville, KY 40218
 

Completion Submission Process

 

If the driver completed a class offered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet or through the online provider Improv, it is not necessary for the driver to submit their completion to the Division of Driver Licensing. All other completions can be mailed to the address below. Please ensure that the driver's license/permit number, name, and date of birth are on the completion form or transcript. It is the responsibility of the driver to supply the Division of Driver Licensing with the completion information.

 

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Other Resources

Parent-Guardian Withdraw Responsibility Form​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​