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North Carolina Drivers Education

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To drive a vehicle in North Carolina, you must have to have a valid driver’s license. Those who are 14 1/2 may enroll in a driver training course at school, which allows them to apply for their limited learner permit at age 15. The state also offers driver improvement clinics for those with violations. Drivers also can choose to attend defensive driving courses, as well.

Testing and Preparing to Drive

If you want to get your license in North Carolina, you’ll have to pass the test. If you are 18 or older, you may take the tests directly and receive your license. If you are ages 15 to 17, you’ll need to go through the graduated license program. Either way, you’ll have to take tests such as:
  • Vision tests, which require at least 20/40 vision
  • Knowledge tests, which require knowledge of the state’s laws and driving acuity
  • Road tests, which monitor you driving, stopping at the appropriate signs, sitting, turning, parallel parking, yielding, and completing other driving actions
Those who pass the test can obtain their license. Those who do not need to wait five days before they can retake the test.

Graduated Driver License

North Carolina requires that teens 15 to 17 complete a Graduated Driver License Program. The program has four steps: limited learner permit, limited provisional license, a full provisional license, and, finally, a basic license. Drivers may receive their limited learner permit if they are 15, have completed a driver training course, and are still in school and making progress toward graduation or a GED. The driver training course must include:
  • 30 hours of classroom training and an eye exam
  • At least six hours of behind-the-wheel training
When they complete the training course, they receive a Driver’s Education Certificate, which they present when applying for the limited learner permit. After they’ve had their limited learner permit for a year and meet certain requirements, they can receive a limited provisional license. After they have had a limited provisional license for six months, they can receive a full provisional license if they meet the requirements. At age 18, they receive a basic license. If at any time, the teen is no longer making progress toward a high school diploma or GED, they lose the privilege of driving.

Remedial Driver Programs

NCDMV offers Driver Improvement Clinics. The clinics are for those who have accumulated four points on an eight-point scale or seven points on a 12-point scale. Points are given for driving infractions. Drivers may have three points removed from their record for attending the program and hearing. Drivers can attend the clinics once every five years. The fee for attending the clinic is $70, and the fee for the hearing is $40.

Defensive Driving Courses

Defensive driving courses are voluntary and are offered through several private vendors. They don’t remove points from your license, but some insurance companies will offer a discount to drivers that have completed the course.

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Last Verified:
Aug 26, 2022