Washington Driver Licensing Law

Obtaining a Washington Instruction Permit

Before being able to take the driver license test, teens in Washington are required to obtain an Instruction Permit. The eligible age for obtaining the permit is 15, if enrolled in a driver's education course, or 15 ½ if not. When applying for the permit, the following are required:

  • Proof of identity
  • Payment for a fee
  • A completed Parental Authorization Affidavit where parents provide proof of their identity and relationship to the applicant
  • A signed application from the instructor of a driver's education course, if enrolled
  • A Social Security number or proof of Washington residence

All applicants will be subject to a vision screening. Only applicants that are not enrolled in a driver's education course must pass a knowledge test.

During this period drivers must be supervised for at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice with someone who has been licensed for at least five years. Ten of the practice hours must be at night.

The permit is valid for one year but only needs to be held for six months before applying for a driver license.

Obtaining an Intermediate Driver License

Sixteen- to 18-year-olds who have held their Instruction Permit for at least six months, have not been convicted of a traffic violation within six months of applying, have not been convicted of a drug or alcohol related offense while holding an instruction permit, and have passed a traffic safety education course are eligible to apply for an Intermediate Driver's License. To qualify for this license, applicants must:

  • Submit a signed certificate confirming the passage of an approved traffic safety education course
  • Submit a signed Parental Authorization Affidavit, confirming driving practice and granting permission to be licensed
  • Payment for the application fee
  • Present proof of identity and Social Security number

Applicants will be required to pass knowledge and driving tests as well as a vision exam.

The Intermediate Driver License carries the following restrictions:

  • During the first six months: licensees cannot drive with passengers under 20 years old who are not members of the driver's immediate family
  • During the second six months: licensees cannot transport more than three passengers, outside of their immediate family, who are under 20 years old
  • Driving is prohibited between 1AM and 5AM unless accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 25 years old.

The only exception is driving for agricultural purposes.

Cell phone and wireless device usage, even with a hands-free device, is prohibited.

The passenger and time of day restrictions will remain in place for one year, so long as the licensee's driving record remains clean. Upon their 18th birthday, the Intermediate License will automatically become a regular license.


Penalties for driving violations and accidents:

  • First violation: The passenger and nighttime restrictions will be extended until driver's 18th birthday and a warning letter will be sent to the driver and the driver's parent or guardian if the driver does any of the following:
    • Gets a ticket for violating the restrictions
    • Gets a ticket for violating a rule of the road
    • Is involved in an accident where the driver gets a ticket or is determined to have caused the accident, no one involved in the accident receives a ticket, the cause of the accident can't be determined, or only the driver's car was involved in the accident
  • Second violation: Driver's license will be suspended for 6 months (or until age 18, whichever comes first)
  • Third violation: Driver's license will be suspended until the age of 18

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.