15 ½ Years Old (Maybe More!) and Ready to Drive

Perhaps you have been yearning to drive since you were a kid, perhaps your parents want you to drive younger siblings to school, perhaps it’s something in between.

Now that vaccines are rolling out for almost everyone and your 15 ½ birthday is months behind you, it might be finally time to think about getting that coveted piece of paper that guarantees you a modicum of freedom!

Summer is the most popular time to practice driving because all of the focus can be spent on the 50 hours of supervised driving practice that you will need!

Many teens had to sit back in the summer of 2020 because the DMV paused their road tests and people were uncertain about taking behind the wheel courses due to social distancing guidelines.

The library is the place to start when you need information about how to obtain your driver’s license!

Driving Tests

San Jose Public Library has partnered with Driving-Tests.org, which is a part of Elegant e-Learning to provide a platform to help the beginning driver learn the process for earning a driver’s license. 73% of the people who study the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Manual and take Driving-Tests.org’s practice tests are more likely to pass the exam than just studying the DMV Manual.

The library’s page is mapped as follows:

  • The Handbook (Step 1)
  • Practice Tests

The car practice tests are divided by levels:  Easy, Hard, Hardest, and Exam Simulator.  According to Driving-Tests.org, these tests are applicable to “Class C Instruction Permit test, driver’s license test, or senior citizens’ refresher test.”

You can also find a DMV practice test section under the middle tab, "DMV Practice Test," in the handbook section, which gives you information about the test, facts, an app, and a list of questions.

If you go to the handbook section, "Read online or download," you will find valuable information about the application process.  There are text and audio versions.

California Driving License 2021 Requirements

The link, “Read online or download,” will lead you to the page with the 2021 handbook.  This time, go to the right tab "Driver's License Guide":

  • For new drivers:
    • Types of licenses
    • How to apply
    • Knowledge test
    • Road test
  • For drivers:
    • Replace or renew your license
    • New California residents

A helpful graphic shows the process of obtaining a California driver’s license:

  • Instruction Permit (drive with adult supervision)
  • Provisional Permit (drive unsupervised, but with restrictions)
  • Driver’s License (drive without a restriction.)

Remember, a driver’s license gives you permission to drive, it is not a right!  Here are some other things to keep in mind when you apply.

Things to Remember for the Learner’s Permit

  • Fill out the Driver’s License application (DL-44) online and have your parents sign it if you are under 18 years old.
  • If you are applying for the REAL ID Driver’s License, you must provide two proof of residency documents.
  • Bring your documentation proofs.
  • Be prepared to take a vision exam (bring your glasses, if you need them,) provide a thumbprint, and take a picture!  The Instruction Permit picture is black and white, by the way.
  • Pay the non-refundable fee by cash, check, credit card, debit card, digital wallet, or money order.  The fee has increased to $38 for Class C.
  • Be prepared to take the Knowledge Test.
  • If you are under 17 ½, you must show proof of completing a driver’s education course.

Please send me any questions in the comments section below!