The Arkansas Office of Driver Services web page is difficult to figure out if you do not want to take the state-sponsored driver’s education course. If you navigate to the main page and select almost any of the options you might be interested in, they will all take you to the driver’s education program. Even once you are past that point in the website, there are official police seals, misplaced and misleading information, and other tricks designed to funnel site viewers toward the state-sponsored program.
We’re here to make the process easier and cheaper. If you would like to save a little bit of money and time, then just read the following simple instructions on how to go through the process of getting your license and permit on your own terms.
Arkansas is a little more complicated about licensing than other states, where you only need a learner’s permit before receiving a state driver’s license. Instead, in Arkansas there are some extra steps, which start with an Instruction Permit, followed by a Learner’s License, which you can get as soon as you turn 14. From 16 to 18, Arkansas drivers use an Intermediate License, which operates for the most part just like a driver’s license but with some restrictions. Once you are 18, then you are eligible for an Arkansas Driver’s License.
The instruction permit requires the successful completion of knowledge and vision tests. You can study the Arkansas Driver’s License Manual in order to take the knowledge test. Follow the link at the end of this article to find it.
In addition, you will also need a signed parental consent form, as well as documentation from your school that shows your grades and attendance. Ask your school for these documents before going into the Office of Driver Services (ODS) near you. Beyond that, you will need your birth certificate to establish your date of birth, as well as a secondary document or card that will verify the information on the birth certificate. A school photo ID would work, as well as a health insurance card, or a certified school transcript. For a full list of identifying documents, see page 5 of the Driver’s License Manual (found at the link at the bottom of this page).
You must remember that the instruction permit is only good for six months at a time, and its main use is to give you enough experience on the road to pass your skills test and receive your Learner’s License. Be sure to look at the section of the Driver’s Manual that lists all the skills you will be tested on and then practice with an experienced, adult driver in the car. Ask him or her to pay attention to how you are driving and to provide feedback.
After you have been driving long enough to be confident you will easily pass the skills test, you need to go back to the Office of Driver Services for your Learner’s License. When you return, be sure to bring all the appropriate documentation that you brought for your instruction permit with you, along with your instruction permit.
One of the biggest problems people run into with the skills test is their vehicle. Not only do you need to have proof of registration and insurance, the vehicle also needs to be in good working condition and clean. If the vehicle does not satisfy these requirements, the instructor will tell you to come back another time.
The Learner’s License is valid until you turn 16, at which time you need to return to the ODS for the Intermediate License. The Intermediate License allows you to drive alone, but there are certain restrictions (read more on page 3 of the Driver’s Manual). Then, when you’re 18, you can receive the class D Driver’s License.
The Arkansas Office of Driver Services web page, showing where the nearest ODS locations are, when they are open, and how to contact them.
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by Enoch Morrison | Last Updated: January 8, 2019