Chapter 4
Provisional Driver's License

Revised February 8, 2011

Provisional Driver's License (Sections 66-5-8 & 66-5-9 NMSA 1978)

Since January 1, 2000, all New Mexico teens, under 18 years of age, have been required to apply for a driver permit and license, under the “Graduated Licensing System” ("GDL"). The graduated driver license process gradually allows teens to drive by limiting their driving time. Graduated licensing laws restrict driving privileges based on age and experience.

1. GDL requirements for a provisional driver's license include:

  1. Applicant must be at least 15½ years of age.
  2. Applicant must provide proof of “successful” completion of an approved driver education course, which includes the 3-hour DWI component.
  3. Verify that the applicant has completed the practice driving component. (50 hours of behind the wheel training, at least 10 of which must be at night).
  4. Verify that the applicant has held an instructional permit for at least six months within the past year.
  5. Verify that the driver has not been convicted of a traffic violation in the ninety days prior to applying for the provisional driver license. The traffic violations include: • Failure to obey traffic control device • Failure to obey traffic control signal • Speeding • Homicide by vehicle • Injury to pregnant women • DWI or Drugs • Implied Consent Violation • Reckless Driving • Careless Driving • Racing on highways • Failure to yield
  6. Applicants must pass a road skills exam or have taken a road skills exam with a contracted “Driver Education School”.

    l If the road skills exam is given by a contracted “Driver Education School,” the test scores are entered on the certificate of completion and also recorded on the driver application.

    If the road skills exam is given by an MVD agent, and the Applicant passes the skills exam (and meets all other requirements above), the application for a provisional license shall be processed at the same time.

2. To obtain a full, unrestricted license, a teen must:

  1. Complete provisional license phase. (Note: provisional license is issued for four years; driver must hold provisional license for at least one full year before obtaining regular, unrestricted license.)
  2. Have not been convicted of a traffic violation 90 days preceding application for a full license.
  3. Have not had any traffic violations pending at the time of application for a driver license.
  4. Have not been found guilty or have an offense pending involving the use of alcohol or drugs during the provisional period.