18 years

Restrictions: Once you turn 18 you must enrol in a driving school and take between 40 and 50 classes. After you have completed the driving institute course, you are eligible to apply for a practical driver’s test to obtain a full licence.



Restrictions: You can apply for a driver’s licence when you are at least 16 years old. To be fully licensed, there are three steps and three tests which require 20 months to complete. Each level limits the number of passengers and driving hours and conditions, along with the age of other passengers in the vehicle.



Restrictions: To get a learner’s licence you have to be at least 16 years old and have to pass a Driver’s Knowledge Test. After passing the test, you need to log at least 120 hours of supervised driving — including a minimum of 20 hours of night driving— and have 12 months of experience before moving on to the next stage. Learners licence holders can only drive with the supervision of a fully licensed holder and cannot go over 80km/h.



Restrictions: At the age of 17 you can apply for a learner’s licence. There is also a written and computer test that tests your ability to recognise and respond to potentially dangerous situations. Up until you give and pass your road test, you are considered a learner and are not allowed to drive on your own or on motorways. The last stage is a practical road test.



Restrictions: New applicants must pass a basic driving theory test that you need to pass to receive a provisional driving licence. Once you have a provisional driving licence, you are allowed to practise on roads — only with a qualified instructor with you. Once you are confident with your driving, and are ready to take a practical driving test you must a second written test on safety aspects and driving knowledge. Only then can young drivers apply for and pass a practical driving test.



Restrictions: Drivers licensing is controlled by individual states. In California, as in most states, you apply for your provisional driver’s licence — allowing you to drive only with a parent or guardian or adult with a valid California licence. You must then complete six months and take at least six professional training sessions before taking the test. You must complete at least 50 hours’ practice, at least ten of these at night.

South Africa


Restrictions: You have to get a learner’s permit before being eligible to take a driver’s test. You can get a learner’s permit at 17 but can only drive when supervised by a licensed driver holding a professional driving permit. You have to take a driver’s test to become a fully licensed driver.

“The age at which people can get their licence can be changed to 16 or 17, but not less. I don’t understand how an 18-year old would be mature enough to drive. It all matters how seriously the child takes things. So, in my opinion, parents should take care of it. If they think their child is eligible for it, let them get it.”

Sameeh Ponnery Al Ain

Counting the cost

Dh16 billion

The estimated cost of road accidents to the UAE economy between 2009 and 2011, representing 1.6 per cent of GDP.


Insurance premium levy required by drivers under the age of 25.


Estimated insurance premium levy required for drivers aged 17.

Maryam Mirza is an intern at Gulf News