With summer upon us more teenage drivers can be seen on the roads, many of which may not be properly licensed.
Sheriff David White shared some words of caution in an interview earlier this year regarding the subject. He acknowledged that there are some minors under the age of 16 who have what is called a hardship license, but this license doesn’t give them free reign to drive whenever they want.
According to state regulations, a hardship license, or an age waiver, is issued for minors between the ages of 14-16 for the specific purposes of getting to and from school and school related activities, to and from work, or for medical reasons.
An application for a hardship license will only be given to the minor’s parent or legal guardian. The minor must be licensed and must have six months experience beginning at the time the instruction permit was issued. The application can be obtained from the local driver control office.
Along with the completed application this department must receive a letter from the parent/guardian explaining the hardship and specifying when and where the minor needs to drive without an adult.
If the hardship license is requested for school, or school related activities, they must also submit a letter from the school, on school letterhead, verifying that bus service is not provided, or that the child is involved in extracurricular activities that transportation is not provided.
If the hardship license is requested for medical reasons, they must submit a letter from a physician explaining the illness, or verifying the need for regularly scheduled appointments.
If the hardship license is for work, they must submit a letter from the employer verifying employment.
They must also submit a letter from an adult outside the family who knows of the hardship and will state that the minor is mature enough to accept the responsibility of driving without an adult.
All drivers between the ages of 14-18 who have not been issued an Arkansas Drivers License will be issued a drivers license under the Arkansas Graduated Licensing Law. The law mandates a progressive driver’s licensing program for young drivers. Drivers are required to adhere to the restrictions at each level before they are allowed to move on to the next level.
The three levels are: learners (must be 14 years old), intermediate (must be at least 16 years old) and regular license (must be at least 18 years old).
The learner’s license will expire upon the minor’s 16th birthday. Applicants must pass the written and road tests given by the Arkansas State Police, the vision exam and they can not have any serious accidents or traffic convictions in the most recent six months.
All passengers must have seat belts attached at all times.
They shall not use a cell phone, or other interactive wireless communication device while driving except for an emergency purpose.
The driver must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years old or older.
When a licensed minor turns 16 they can apply for an intermediate license, which is issued to persons 16-18 years old, and expires on their 18th birthday. Minors who possess a learner’s permit may only move up to an intermediate license if they do not have any serious accidents, or serious traffic convictions within the most recent six months.
Any person under the age of 18 must hold a restriction of an adult in the car for a minimum of six months.
Applicants for an intermediate license are required to sign an acknowledgement they understand the restrictions for the license.
They are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle with more than one unrelated minor passenger unless accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.
They are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. unless the licensee is accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, driving to or from a school activity, church-related activity, or job; or driving because of an emergency.
A regular license is issured to a person who has turned 18 years old. Applicants must have a record without any serious accidents, or serious traffic violations within the most recent 12 months.
Drivers between the ages of 18-21 may only use hands free wireless telephones while driving.
The age restrictions do not apply to a person 16 years old or older if that person is married, possesses a high school diploma, or who has completed a GED, or is enlisted in the United States Military.
Sheriff White stated that there have been numerous reports of minors driving erratically, or unsafe. He stressed that these complaints will be taken seriously. If an unlicensed minor is ticketed it will restrict when they can legally obtain a learner’s permit.
For more information regarding the licensing process contact Little Rock Driver Control at (501) 682-1632.