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Getting Your Utah Driver’s License in 2021 – Step-by-Step Guide

Getting Your Utah Driver’s License in 2021 – Step-by-Step Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 20, 2021

Receiving a driver’s license is a milestone for many teenagers and adults. In the state of Utah, every resident who drives a motor vehicle on highways must have a valid driver’s license or permit. You can begin the process of applying as early as 15.

In this guide, we’ll go through the entire process of getting your Utah driver’s license!

How to Get a Utah Driver’s License

There are 5 steps to getting your license:

  1. Learner’s permit (depending on your age)
  2. Driver’s Education
  3. Complete Online Traffic Safety and Trends Exam
  4. Take the Utah Road Exam
  5. Schedule DPS Appointment & Get Your License

Step 1 – Utah Learner’s Permit

Who is Required to Get a Learner’s Permit?

If you fall under one of the following two categories, the first step is to apply for a learner’s permit.

  1. 18 and under as a first-time driver
  2. 19+  first time driver and would like to skip drivers education

To get your permit, you must be at least 15 years old.

What If You’re Over 21?

If you are over 21, you have the option of holding a learner’s permit for 90 days OR completing driver’s education. Obtaining a permit is necessary for both options

#1 – Fill Your Permit Application Online

The first thing you need to do is to fill out this application.

#2 – Schedule DPS Appointment

Before heading to the Utah DPS, schedule an appointment to save time and avoid long lines. 

#3 – Bring Proper Documentation

At the DPS, you will need to have the following documents with you:

  • Proof of Identity
  • Proof of Utah Residency
  • Proof of Social Security Verification

#4 – Pass Knowledge and Eye Exams

Both the knowledge and eye exams will be administered when you submit your application at the Utah DPS. To obtain a permit, you pass the vision exam with a score of 20/40 or higher.

The written knowledge exam consists of 50 questions and based upon the information related to important traffic laws and road signs. You must score 80% or higher, answering at least 40 questions correctly. If you fail, you are allowed to take the exam one more time on the same day. After three attempts, you will be required to pay an additional fee. 

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Minors under the age of 17 will be required to obtain consent from a parent or legal guardian. 

#6 – Pay Permit Application Fees

You will be assessed a $19 non-refundable fee at the time of your driver’s permit application.

What Are the Learner’s Permit Restrictions?

The state of Utah imposes certain restrictions for drivers with a permit. These restrictions will vary depending on your age.

17 Years and Under

  • May only operate a motor vehicle with an approved driving instructor, parent, or legal guardian
  • The adult who gave consent (above) must be present
  • Vehicle must permit additional passengers
  • Learner permit must be in possession
  • Cannot drive between midnight and 5am

You may schedule your final license appointment and apply for your drivers’ license after you have held your permit for six months. If you turn 18 during this period, you may apply for your license on your birthday. Remember, you must complete driver’s education and complete 40 hours of driving (with 10 hours at night) first!

18 years and Older

  • You must be accompanied by licensed adult over the age of 21 years of age
  • Learner permit must be in possession

If you’re over the age of 19, driver’s education is not required. However, it will get you out of holding your learner permit for 90 days. You will be able to apply for your license once you complete the course. If you choose not to obtain a driver’s education, you will need to wait 90 days and complete 40 hours of supervised driving, with 10 dedicated to night driving. 

Step 2 – Complete Driver’s Education

Regardless of your age, you need to apply for a learner’s permit first. Afterward, you will be eligible to sign up for a driver education course. The driver education requirement can be completed in three ways. 

#1 – High School Classroom Instruction

Driver’s education is offered at several Utah state public and private high school campuses. You will need to complete 27 hours of classroom instruction and submit your high school transcript to the DPS for verification.

#2 – Commercial/Private Driving School

Commercial and private driving schools are also prevalent across the state. The DPS requires institutions to provide students with 18 hours of instruction in order to meet the driver education mandate.

#3 – Online/Home Study Driving Course

Studying from home is a popular option for many new drivers. You will need to complete 30 hours of a state-approved course.

In addition to your structured learning period, you will also need to meet behind-the-wheel and observation requirements as well. Regardless of the driver education method you choose, it will also need to incorporate six hours of behind the wheel instruction and another six hours of observation. 

On January 1, 2016, the state of Utah introduced the online Traffic Safety and Trends Exam. All drivers under the age of 21 must take it when applying for an original or provisional Class D Utah driver’s license. This test covers important driving safety topics as well as leading causes of traffic-related deaths presented by the Highway Safety Office. 

During the exam, videos will be shown and you will be asked questions related to the content shown. You must answer all questions correctly to pass but can go through the exam sections multiple times. 

Step 4 – Take the Utah Driving Skills Test

The Road Exam is used to evaluate driving behavior to determine if drivers possess the basic skills, knowledge, and ability to safely operate a motor vehicle in the state. A properly registered and legally operating vehicle will also be necessary for the exam. Your driving test administrator may reject its condition if they believe it could cause harm to the examiner’s person or clothes. 

You have three options for taking the driving skills exam.

Option #1 – Complete at Utah DPS

This is probably the most popular option for most new drivers, as it allows them to complete several license requirements in a single visit. You must schedule a driving skills exam with the DPS. Be sure to do so early – these slots tend to fill up at least one to two months in advance. 

Option #2 – Complete with State-Approved Driving School

If you completed driver’s education at your high school, they may likely offer the driving skills test for free or at a discounted rate. Be sure to check with your specific school’s administration for more details. 

Option #3 – Complete with certified Third Party Tester 

Lastly, you can take the exam with a certified third party road tester. The third-party tester will charge you a fee and provide proof of completion when you pass.

You will be tested on your driving posture, left/right turns, braking, steering, parking, and more. If you fail the driving skills test, you will be allowed to take it the next, but will only have three total attempts before having to pay another fee.

Step 5 – Receive Your Utah Driver’s License

After completing all the necessary requirements, you will need to schedule an appointment to receive your new driver’s license.

 If you are 20 and under, you will need to schedule a provisional driver’s license appointment and:

  • Bring completed  license application 
  • Take photo
  • Present learner’s permit (necessary documents have already been scanned and are attached to your permit)
  • Pass vision exam
  • Have parent sign off on 40 hours of supervised driving
  • Have parent sign of for financial responsibility (17 and under)
  • Pay a non-refundable fee of $39

Adults 21 years and older will need to schedule a driver’s license appointment and:

  • Bring completed  license application 
  • Take photo
  • Submit proof of Driver Education (to avoid holding a permit for 90 days)
  • Pass vision exam
  • Pass knowledge exam (if not completed)
  • Pay non-refundable fee of $52

Congratulations! After submitting the necessary documents and passing both exams, you will receive a temporary photo license on the same day. Your permanent Utah driver’s license will be sent to you in 8-10 weeks. 

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