How Many Times Can You Take the Driving Test?

By Chelsea Levinson - Updated February 16, 2018
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It’s common to take a driving test more than once. Many people fail on their first or second try. So, how many times can you take a driving test? The good news is, you can take the test as many times as it takes for you to pass. However, there are a few caveats. States do regulate how often you can take a driving test and may require you to apply for a new permit or take a driver education course in the event that you fail multiple tests.

Tip

You can take a driving test as many times as it takes to pass. However, state laws regulate how often you can retest, and may have additional requirements for those applicants who fail multiple tests.

Waiting Periods

Driving tests are regulated by state law. Each state’s department of motor vehicles has its own rules and requirements for retaking a driving test. Many states require a waiting period to retest after failing a driving test. For example, in New Hampshire, you’ll have to wait 10 days to retake your test. In Pennsylvania, anyone over 18 can retake their driving test after one day, while minors must wait seven days. If you live in Tennessee, your driving test score determines how long you’ll have to wait for another chance. The assigned wait time can be up to 30 days. Meanwhile, in California there is no waiting period for retesting. It’s likely that your state requires some type of waiting period between driving tests. Check with your local DMV office to get the details on when you can test again.

Permit Restrictions

In some states, after failing a certain number of driving tests, you may have to apply for a new permit before becoming eligible for another test. In Pennsylvania and California, you can take up to three driving tests per permit. In New York, you are allowed two tests on one permit. If you fail both tests, you are required to pay a fee for the opportunity to take two more tests. New Hampshire has no such test restrictions, allowing you to take as many driving tests as needed with the same permit.

What happens if you’ve maxed out the number of tests you're allowed on a single permit? Unfortunately, you’ll have to start the application process over. This means bringing all of the necessary paperwork to your local DMV and applying for a new permit. If your state requires a written permit test, you will likely have to retake that test. Similarly, if your permit has expired since the last time you took the driving test, you will have to start the application process over and get a new permit before proceeding.

Required Driver Education

A few states require driver education classes if you fail multiple driving tests. In Virginia, anyone who fails three tests must take a driver education course before testing again. Those who fail three tests in Nebraska have two options: a driver education course or reapplying after holding a learner’s permit for 90 days. Driver education can be time-consuming and costly, so it’s best to avoid this if possible. Check your state’s law so you’ll understand what’s required and keep yourself in the clear.

To learn more about your local driving test requirements, visit your state's DMV website. There, you should be able to locate an official driving license handbook, which can be downloaded or viewed online for free. Many DMVs also have helpful FAQ sections outlining the specific requirements for retesting.

About the Author

Chelsea Levinson earned her J.D. from Cardozo. As a former policy researcher, she has a passion for communicating legal issues to the public. She has created legal and policy content for Vox, Levo, Run For Something and more.

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