Can you drive alone with a permit?

Can you drive alone with a permit? Permit rules like age or who you can drive with vary from state to state, but no state allows you to drive by yourself with a permit. Our guide has the details.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • It is illegal to drive alone with a just a learner’s permit in all 50 states
  • You need to be accompanied by a licensed driver when driving with a permit
  • Most states also restrict the number of other passengers allowed in the car when driving with a permit

Can you drive with a permit? Can you drive alone with a permit? Permit rules like age or who you can drive with vary from state to state, but no state allows you to drive by yourself with a permit. You’ll need a licensed, experienced driver to accompany you no matter your age. This applies even if you have an adult learner’s permit.

Read on to learn more about the rules for driving with a permit in the United States. If you’re in need of affordable auto insurance, feel free to enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool above.

When can you drive alone with a permit? 

There is no U.S. state where you can drive alone with a permit. Even if you’re over 18, you can’t drive alone if you haven’t passed your driving test. 

Most states require a licensed driver over the age of 21 to accompany you in the passenger seat while driving with a permit. They may also restrict the number and age of the other passengers in the car while you’re driving.

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What happens if you get caught driving alone with a permit? 

Driving alone without a permit or license is illegal, so you can assume what the answer will be for driving with a permit alone. Law enforcement considers you an unlicensed driver if caught driving alone before getting your driver’s license. The officer who pulls you over can write you a citation or impose other consequences depending on your local laws.

Some jurisdictions may count this citation as a driving infraction that could postpone when you can get your license. 

If you get into an accident while driving with a permit, you may also have to pay out of pocket for damages. Your insurance policy likely won’t cover an unlicensed driver. 

To avoid fines and problems with your driver’s license, follow all the rules for driving with a permit in your state. 

Are there other requirements for driving with a permit?

All states require drivers with learner’s permits to have a licensed adult driver in the passenger seat. The goal of your permit is for experienced drivers to instruct you and help you practice ahead of your driver’s test. Consider reading our article on learner’s permit insurance for more information on coverage.

In most states, the accompanying driver must be 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Some states have other requirements for accompanying, like years of driving experience.

Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming allow 18-year-old licensed drivers to accompany drivers with permits. In Maine, the accompanying driver must be at least 20.

The following states require drivers with a learner’s permit to have an accompanying driver who is at least 25 years old in the passenger seat:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Missouri
  • Wisconsin

These states require the accompanying driver to be a parent, legal guardian, or certified driving instructor: 

  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont

Several states also require the accompanying driver to have between one and five years of driving experience to instruct you as a new driver properly.

Most states also restrict the number of passengers new drivers can have to mitigate injuries from accidents. Usually, states prohibit learning drivers from having non-family members as passengers or restrict the age and number of non-family passengers you can have.

When you get your learner’s permit, check your state’s rules for who needs to accompany you while driving. Following these rules will manage your insurance coverage and avoid fines or penalties for driving without a license. 

The Bottom Line on Driving Alone with a Permit

It’s always illegal to drive alone with a permit, even if you have an adult permit. If you drive without a qualified driver before getting your license, you’re considered an unlicensed driver and could face citations or fines.

Get familiar with your state’s rules on driving with a permit so you can avoid fines, maintain your insurance coverage, and keep yourself and other drivers safe.

To find affordable auto insurance near you, just enter your ZIP code into our free online quote tool below.

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