Are you a new driver in Delaware?
Or maybe you’ve already been driving in the state for years.
Whatever the case, there’s something here for you.
We’ll look at:
- Delaware driver’s licenses
- Delaware driving laws
- Delaware road rules
We’ve compiled everything you need to know about these categories.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started right away!
Delaware Driving Laws by Category
Here are all the topics that we’ll look at. You can read through the whole article for the full refresher, or, you can select the one that interests YOU.
- Delaware Driver’s License Requirements
- Delaware Driver’s License Renewal
- How to Get a CDL in Delaware
- Delaware Driver’s License Classifications
- How to Get Your Delaware Driving Record
- Delaware DUI Laws
- Delaware Distracted Driving Laws
- Delaware Vehicle Registration
- Delaware Car Seat Laws
Let’s get to the details.
Delaware Driver’s License
If you’re a driver, then you have to know about the driver’s license laws in the state. And this includes how to get it, renewal requirements, CDLs, driving records, and more.
So let’s start here.
Delaware Driver’s License Requirements
As early as 16 years old, you can already work towards your DE driver’s license. But since you’re a minor, you need to go through Delaware’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program.
This has 2 stages:
- Learner’s Permit
- Full Adult Driver’s License
Here’s how to get a learner’s permit:
- Complete a state-approved driver’s education. This has 30 hours of classroom instruction and 7 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
- Fill up the document selector guide to know which documents you need to bring to the DMV office.
- Visit the DMV with a parent or legal guardian. Click here for DMV locations.
- Complete the application form at the DMV office. Have your parent or legal guardian sign it in front of a DMV officer.
- Submit the form along with the other documents.
- Pass a vision exam.
- Pass the knowledge exam.
- Take your photo.
- Pay the permit fee of $40.
- Receive your learner’s permit.
To get a full adult driver’s license, you need to:
- Be at least 17 years old.
- Hold your learner’s permit for at least 12 months.
- Complete 50 hours of supervised driving, with 10 hours of driving done at night. You must keep a record of those driving hours.
- Your permit has not been suspended, revoked, canceled, denied, or surrendered.
If you fulfill all that, then your learner’s permit will automatically convert to a full driver’s license with no restrictions.
If you’re already 18 years old, you can choose to follow the 12-month GDL program or choose to take the eye, knowledge, and road exam at a DMV office.
Delaware Driver’s License Renewal
Need to renew your DE driver’s license? There are three simple ways to do it:
- In Person
- By Mail
Here’s how to renew online (which, for obvious reasons, is the most convenient):
- Create an account with the MyDMV website.
- Choose “license renewal”.
- Fill in the required information about you and your driver’s license.
- Pay the renewal fee of $40.
- Receive your temporary driver’s license copy sent to your email. Print it and use it while you wait for the new license.
- Receive your new license by mail after two weeks
It’s that easy!
However, if you are not eligible to renew online, you have to go to the DMV office. Here’s how to renew in person:
- Go to your local DMV office and fill out the renewal form.
- Submit it along with the necessary documents:
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Social Security Card
- Two proofs of residency in Delaware
- Legal name change document (if applicable)
- Pass a vision test.
- Pay the renewal fee of $40.
- Get your new driver’s license.
Lastly, you can renew by mail — BUT only if you are serving in the military, part of the Department of Defense, or a relative of someone working at the Department of Defense.
If so, here’s how to renew by mail:
- Gather the following documents:
- A letter requesting driver’s license renewal
- Full name, date of birth, and place of birth (should specify the city, state, and country)
- Phone number and email address
- Driver’s license number
- Social Security Number
- A photocopy of your Military ID card or Department of Defense/Geneva Conventions ID card
- Mailing address where the new license will be mailed
- A copy of your signature signed on paper
- Check worth $40 made payable to the DMV
- Send all the documents to the following address:
Division of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Driver Services Dept.
P.O. Box 698
Dover, DE 19903
- Wait for your new license to arrive via mail.
How to Get a CDL in Delaware
Similar to the driver’s license process, there are two stages to getting a commercial driver’s license:
- Getting a CDL permit
- Getting a CDL
Here’s how to get a CDL permit in Delaware:
- Bring the following to the DMV:
- A valid Delaware driver’s license
- Medical card (if applicable)
- Proof of residency in Delaware
- Fill out the CDL application form and sign it.
- Take and pass a drug test.
- Pass the CDL knowledge exam and other exams required for the endorsements you’ll get (if any).
- Get your CDL permit. This is valid for only 1 year.
Here’s how to upgrade your CDL permit to an official CDL:
- Hold your CDL permit for at least 14 days.
- Complete an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program.
- Schedule a CDL skills test appointment at the DMV website. Choose the ‘Road Test Appointment’ option.
- Submit the following at the DMV:
- Your valid CDL permit
- Valid driver’s license of the licensed CDL driver who is supervising you
- Vehicle registration
- Insurance card of the vehicle you will use
- Pass the CDL skills test.
- Pay the CDL application fee of $48.
- Get your CDL.
Delaware Driver’s License Classifications
If you didn’t know, there are 7 driver’s license classes in Delaware. If you’re not familiar with these, it can get quite confusing.
Well, here’s a quick guide:
- Class D – for operating private vehicles that have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of fewer than 26,000 pounds.
- Class A CDL – for operating commercial vehicles that have a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds and the towed vehicle has a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds.
- Class B CDL – for operating straight vehicles that have a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds. If towing a unit, it should not exceed 10,000 pounds.
- Class C CDL – for operating vehicles that have a GVWR of fewer than 26,000 pounds with the towed unit (if any) fewer than 10,000 pounds. This is also for commercial vehicles that can transport more than 16 people.
- Class A (Non-CDL) – for operating private vehicles that have a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds with a towed unit weighing more than 10,000 pounds (like fire trucks, farm trucks, etc.)
- Class B (Non-CDL) – for operating private vehicles that have a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds and a towed unit with fewer than 10,000 pounds.
- Class M (endorsement) – for operating motorbikes, motorcycles, or three-wheeled motor vehicles.
How to Get Your Delaware Driving Record
There are times when you’ll need your driving record — maybe you need it for auto insurance or court cases.
Thankfully, getting ahold of your DE driving record is easy, but first, you need to know the different types of driving records:
- 3-year record – contains all your driving history in the last three years
- 5-year record – contains all your driving history in the last five years
- Full record – contains all records since you got your driver’s license
- Certified record – verified and sealed by the DMV and is commonly used for legal and employment purposes
- Uncertified record – given by the DMV but only used for personal reasons
Now, in Delaware, you can get your driving record online, in person, or by mail.
Here’s how to get your DE driving record online:
- Select “Driving Record Purchase” on the DMV website.
- Log in or create an account.
- Follow the online prompts.
- Pay $25.
- Receive your driving record via email.
If you prefer to get it in person, here’s how you can do that:
- Print and fill out the Personal Information Release Form.
- Submit the form at the DMV office.
- Pay the fee of $25.
- Receive your driving record.
If you can’t do it online or in person, then you can also request your record by mail:
- Print and fill out the Personal Information Release Form.
- Sign, seal, and notarize the form.
- Get a check for $25 made payable to the DE DMV.
- Put everything in a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
- Mail the request to this address:
Division of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Driver License Administration
P.O. Box 698
Dover, DE 19903
- Wait for your record to arrive via mail.
Delaware Driving Laws
Already a driver? It’s time to brush up on some driving laws!
Delaware DUI Laws
One of the most important laws you need to know and obey is the DUI law.
Driving under the influence is one of the most common reasons for car crashes, injuries, and death.
Because it’s so dangerous, Delaware has implemented strict laws and harsh penalties to discourage people from driving under the influence.
The DUI law measures the blood alcohol content (BAC) of a person. You’re considered a DUI if your BAC is:
- At least 0.08% and you are 21 years old or older
- At least 0.02% and you are under 21 years old
- At least 0.04% and you have a CDL
Here are the penalties if you’re caught with a DUI:
|Offense||Fine||Loss of License||Court Sanctions|
|1st||$500 – $1,500||*12 months if BAC is less than 0.15%|
*18 months if BAC is between 0.15% to 0.19%
*24 months if BAC is more than 0.20% or refusal to undergo a chemical test
|Up to 12 months of jail time|
|2nd||$750 – $2,500||*18 months if BAC is less than 0.15% |
*24 months if BAC is between 0.15% to 0.19%
*30 months if BAC is more than 0.20% or refusal to undergo a chemical test
|60 days to 18 months of jail time (the court may suspend the minimum sentence if you complete a DUI Treatment Program)|
|3rd||$5,000 or more||*24 months if BAC is less than 0.15% |
*30 months if BAC is between 0.15% to 0.19%
*36 months if BAC is more than 0.20% or refusal to undergo a chemical test
|1 to 2 years of jail time|
|4th and subsequent||Up to $15,000||60 months||2-15 years of jail time, depending on the number of offenses made|
Delaware Distracted Driving Laws
Distracted driving is anything that:
- Takes your eyes off the road
- Causes you to remove your hands from the steering wheel
- Distracts you from the task at hand or prevents you from focusing on the road
However, Delaware’s distracted driving laws only focus on the use of cell phones.
The law states that it is illegal to use an electronic mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. Electronic mobile devices include cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
The only exception is when you put these devices on a hands-free function. However, this does not apply to minor drivers.
Violating this law will result in a $50-$100 fine on your first offense. The next offense will be a $200-$300 fine.
Delaware Vehicle Registration
All vehicles are required to be registered in Delaware.
To do this, you need to get an insurance policy first, which has these minimum coverages:
- Personal Injury Protection of $15,000 for one person and $30,000 for all the persons injured in the accident
- Bodily injury or death coverage of $25,00 for one person and $50,000 for two or more persons – all for one crash
- Damage or destruction of property of $10,000
Once you have an insurance policy, here are the steps to get your registration:
- Schedule a vehicle inspection at the DMV office.
- Complete the vehicle registration application form at the DMV.
- Submit the following
- Auto insurance policy
- Valid Delaware driver’s license
- Vehicle title
- Any other required documents (you can find these in the application form)
- Pay the registration fee (the price will depend on your vehicle). You can click here for a fee chart.
- Receive your vehicle registration.
Delaware Car Seat Laws
Delaware’s car seat laws state that children up to 8 years old or up to 65 pounds are required to be in a federally approved car seat appropriate for their age, weight, and height.
The law doesn’t specify the type of car seat or booster seat required, but here are the recommendations of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Rear-facing car seat: 0-12 months to 1-3 years old or until the maximum height or weight capacity of the car seat.
- Forward-facing car seat: 4-7 years old
- Booster seat: 8-12 years old or when the adult seat belt fits properly
On the other hand, when it comes to seat belts, all passengers are required to wear them.
Violation of the seat belt and car seat laws will give you a fine of $25. This doesn’t include the court fees yet.
Delaware Road Rules
For the last category, let’s look at some important road rules.
Delaware Road Conditions
Whether you’re a new or long-time driver, driving safely is a topic that everyone should know about.
In this section, we’re going to give some basic safe driving tips when you’re driving at night, in heavy rain, in thick fog, in hills and curves, and in heavy traffic.
- Always make sure your windshields, windows, and mirrors are clean. There should be no dust, dirt, or snow that will hinder you from seeing the road clearly.
- Angle your headlights properly. Use the low headlights at night if there are other cars near you. Use your headlights during bad weather or low visibility, too.
- Turn off cruise control on any road condition.
- If you are driving in hills and curves, brake carefully and slowly angle your steering wheel to avoid skidding.
- Always stay in your lane.
- Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, no matter the road condition.
- If it’s traffic, always mimic the speed of the vehicles on the road. Do not go too fast or too slow.
Delaware Road Signs
Lastly, let’s talk about the most common road signs you’ll see.
The most common road signs include traffic lights, regulatory signs, and warning signs.
Delaware Traffic Signals
You’ll often see traffic signals at intersections. They help manage the right-of-way and give a chance for each vehicle and pedestrian to cross the intersection safely.
In general, here is what the signals mean:
- Red light – make a complete stop
- Yellow light – prepare to stop since the red light is about to turn on
- Green light – proceed after yielding to pedestrians and when it is safe to pass
- Arrows – follows the red, yellow, and green commands but only pertain to the direction the arrows are pointing to.
Delaware Regulatory Signs
Regulatory signs tell you what you can and can’t do. You’ll see some of them at intersections — other times, they’re found on other parts of the road.
Here are the most common regulatory signs:
Delaware Warning Signs
These signs are often yellow and diamond-shaped. If you see these signs, slow down and be more cautious.
Now that was A LOT!
But now you know all you need to know about Delaware driving laws, whether it’s driver’s licenses, the actual laws, or road rules.
And if you need more information on any topic, just click on the links provided.