How Many Hours of Driving Do You Need to Get Your License in California?

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Obtaining a driver’s license is an important milestone in one’s life, granting the freedom and independence to navigate the roads responsibly. However, the specific requirements for obtaining a driver’s license can vary from state to state. In the sunny state of California, there are certain guidelines and criteria that aspiring drivers must meet before being granted a license. One of the key requirements is completing a specific number of driving hours. In this article, we will explore the driving hour requirements in California and shed light on the process of obtaining a driver’s license.

Understanding California’s Graduated Driver’s License Program:

California operates under a Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program, which is designed to gradually introduce new drivers to the complexities of the road while ensuring they gain sufficient experience and skill. The GDL program is aimed at reducing accidents involving inexperienced drivers and enhancing overall road safety.

Driving Hour Requirements:

As part of the GDL program, California has established driving hour requirements that vary depending on the applicant’s age. Let’s break down the specifics:

  1. Under 18 Years of Age:

For Individuals Drivers ed 18 over, California law requires completing a minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving practice, with at least 10 hours conducted during nighttime. These practice hours should be logged and recorded in a driving log, which must be submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when applying for a driver’s license. Additionally, the 50 hours of practice must be supervised by a parent, guardian, or an adult who is at least 25 years old, possesses a valid California driver’s license, and has at least five years of driving experience.

dmv approved drivers ed online2. 18 Years of Age and Older:

Applicants who are 18 years of age or older are not subject to the same strict driving hour requirements as those under 18. However, they are still required to complete six hours of professional driver training with a licensed driving instructor. This training covers essential aspects of safe driving practices and familiarizes new drivers with the rules of the road. While these six hours of professional training are mandatory, there are no specific requirements for additional supervised driving hours.

It’s important to note that regardless of age, all California driver’s license applicants are required to complete a written knowledge test and a behind-the-wheel driving test, which assess their understanding of traffic laws and their practical driving skills, respectively.


Gaining a Driver’s license in California is a process that involves various requirements, including completing a specific number of driving hours. For individuals under 18, a minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving practice, including 10 hours during nighttime, is mandatory. On the other hand, individuals 18 years of age or older are required to complete six hours of professional driver training. These requirements are in place to ensure that new drivers gain adequate experience and skills before obtaining their license, contributing to safer roads for everyone.

Aspiring drivers in California should familiarize themselves with the specific requirements outlined by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ensure they meet all criteria before applying for their driver’s license.