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How old do you have to be to drive?

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Quick Answer

State driving laws require teens to be anywhere from 14 to 16 to obtain a learner's permit and between 16 and 18 to obtain a full driver's license, according the Governors Highway Safety Association. Over time, state laws lift restrictions on driving until new drivers are fully licensed.

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Full Answer

Most states require new drivers to first obtain a learner's permit and gain experience driving with a fully licensed passenger. For instance, in California, people aged 15 years and 6 months can obtain a learner's permit and must drive with a fully licensed passenger, explains GHSA. At age 16, drivers can operate a vehicle by themselves but cannot transport non-licensed passengers or drive at night. At age 17, Californians can obtain a full driver's license.

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