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Oxnard & Ventura Personal Injury Attorneys

Can California Teens Drive at Night?

Teen driving at night

A driver’s license represents freedom for tens of millions of young Americans. It is a means of establishing independence, exploring the world, and going anywhere without a chaperone. Yet many parents and California teens wonder if they’ll get a ticket for driving at night.

The Law

In California, drivers who receive their license before the age of 18 receive a provisional license. This comes with certain limitations. Under the law, provisional license holders may not drive between 11 PM and 5 AM. Additionally, provisional drivers may not transport anyone under the age of 20 unless a licensed driver over the age of 25 is in the vehicle.

However, drivers need not be 18 before this limitation expires. Rather, the restrictions of a provisional license only apply for the first 12 months.


The California DMV provides a few exceptions that allow provisional drivers to operate after hours, provided they provide proof of authorization, (usually a written note from a parent, teacher, doctor, or employer). These exceptions include,

· Medical necessity, if other transportation is inadequate.

· Traveling to school or for a school activity.

· Employment, when operating a vehicle is required for the job.

· Driving immediate family

These restrictions do not apply to emancipated minors, provided they can provide law enforcement with proof of their legal status.

Regardless of the situation, any provisional license holder driving after dark will need to produce some kind of document proving they are authorized to be on the road between 11 PM and 5 AM.


California law does not describe whether an emergency counts as an exception. It seems reasonable that a police officer would grant an exception, but that may not always be the case.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a late-night accident, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced Oxnard auto injury attorney from The Schurmer Firm to evaluate your claim, please send us an email or call (805) 470-1628.