There is a one year driver's license suspension for the first conviction of MIP. This may be lifted after 90 days. Subsequent convictions require a full one year driver's license suspension.
Commercial driver's license
A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a driver's license required in the United States to operate any type of vehicle which has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lb (11,793 kg) or more for commercial use, or transports quantities of hazardous materials that require warning placards under Department of Transportation regulations, or that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver. This includes (but is not limited to) tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 was signed into law on October 27, 1986. The primary intent of the Act was to improve highway safety by ensuring that truck drivers and drivers of tractor trailers and buses are qualified to drive Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs), and to remove drivers that are unsafe and unqualified from the highways. The Act continued to give states the right to issue CDLs, but the federal government established minimum requirements that must be met when issuing a CDL.
Driving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), which are primarily tractor-trailers (or Longer Combination Vehicles (LCVs)), requires advanced skills and knowledge above and beyond those required to drive a car or other light weight vehicle. Before implementation of the commercial driver's license (CDL) Program in 1986, licensing requirements for driving larger vehicles and buses varied from state to state.
Many drivers were operating motor vehicles that they may not have been trained or qualified to drive.][ This lack of training resulted in a large number of preventable traffic deaths and accidents.
Since April 1, 1992, when this Act became law, all drivers have been required to have a CDL in order to drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed testing standards for licensing drivers. U.S. states are able to issue CDLs only after a written and practical test have been given by the State or approved testing facility.
A driver needs a CDL if the vehicle meets one of the following definitions of a CMV:
A state may also require a driver to have a CDL to operate certain other vehicles legally. A driver licensed in New Jersey must have a CDL to drive legally a bus, limousine, or van that is used for hire, and designed to transport 8 to 15 passengers. A driver licensed in New York must have a CDL to legally transport passengers in school buses and other vehicles listed in Article 19-A of the state's Vehicle and Traffic Law. A driver licensed in California must have a CDL if his primary employment is driving, whether or not you actually drive a commercial vehicle. Basically, California defines a commercial vehicle as one that transports for hire either people or products. And possession of a CDL in California changes the threshold for a Driving Under the Influence citation from 0.08% to 0.04% Blood Alcohol Content (even if he is not using his Commercial privileges at the time of the offense, for example while driving his personally owned vehicle).
Prospective licensees should verify CDL requirements by referencing their state specific CDL Manual.
The minimum age to apply for a CDL is usually 21, as required by the United States Department of Transportation, although some states allow drivers who are 18 to 20 to apply for a CDL that is valid only within the driver's state of residence. A single state CDL only restricts driving of CMVs within the holder's state (not non-commercial vehicles), and automatically converts to a 50 state CDL at the age of 21.][
Additional testing is required to obtain any of the following endorsements on the CDL. These can only be obtained after a CDL has been issued to the driver:
Formal training is not mandatory to obtain a CDL. Although each state may add additional restrictions, there are national requirements in the United States . A prospective driver must pass a written test on highway safety and a test about different parts of a truck with a minimum of 30 questions on the test. To pass this knowledge tests student drivers must answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly. To pass the driving skills test the student driver must successfully perform a set of required driving maneuvers. The driving skill test must be taken in a vehicle that the driver operates or expects to operate. For certain endorsements, such as Air Brakes, the driving skills test must be taken in a vehicle equipped with such equipment.
Employers, training facilities, States, governmental departments, and private institutions may be permitted to administer knowledge and driving test for the State. The test must be the same as those given by the State issuing the CDL and the instructors must meet the same professional certification as State instructors.
States are required to conduct an inspection of any testing facility and evaluates the programs by taking an actual test as if they were testing driver at least once a year, or by taking a sample of drivers tested by the third party and then comparing pass/fail rates.
In addition, the State's agreement with the third party testing centers must allow the FMCSA and the State to conduct random examinations, inspections, and audits without notice.
A CDL must contain the following information:
(a)(1) The prominent statement that the license is a “commercial driver’s license” or “CDL,” except as specified in §383.153(b);
(a)(2) The full name, signature, and mailing address of the person to whom such license is issued;
(a)(3) Physical and other information to identify and describe such person including date of birth (month, day, and year), sex, and height;
(a)(4) Color photograph of the driver;
(a)(5) The driver’s State license number;
(a)(6) The name of the State which issued the license;
(a)(7) The date of issuance and the date of expiration of the license;
(a)(8) The group or groups of commercial motor vehicle(s) that the driver is authorized to operate, indicated as follows:
(a)(8)(i) A for Combination Vehicle;
(a)(8)(ii) B for Heavy Straight Vehicle; and
(a)(8)(iii) C for Small Vehicle.
(a)(9) The endorsement(s) for which the driver has qualified, if any, indicated as follows:
(a)(9)(i) T for double/triple trailers;
(a)(9)(ii) P for passenger;
(a)(9)(iii) N for tank vehicle;
(a)(9)(iv) H for hazardous materials (which includes most all fireworks);
(a)(9)(v) X for a combination of the tank vehicle and hazardous materials endorsements;
(a)(9)(vi) S for school bus; and
(a)(9)(vii) At the discretion of the State, additional codes for additional groupings of endorsements, as long as each such discretionary code is fully explained on the front or back of the CDL document.
(b) If the CDL is a nonresident CDL, it shall contain the prominent statement that the license is a “nonresident commercial driver’s license” or “nonresident CDL.” The word “nonresident” must be conspicuously and unmistakably displayed, but may be noncontiguous with the words “Commercial Driver’s License” or “CDL.”
(c) If the State has issued the applicant an air brake restriction as specified in §383.95, that restriction must be indicated on the license.
The Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) and the National Driver Register (NDR) exchange information on traffic convictions and driver disqualifications of commercial drivers. States have to use both CDLIS and NDR to check a driver's record before a CDL can be issued. To gain permission to access to the CDLIS and NDR databases one should visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Technical Support Web site for instructions on how this information is accessed and who can access it. Trucking companies can use a commercial service that has clearance for providing this information as a means of screening prospective employees.
An employer is also subject to a penalty of up to US$10,000, if they knowingly permit a driver to operate a CMV without a valid CDL.
States can reduce certain lifetime disqualifications to a minimum disqualification period of 10 years if the driver completes a driver rehabilitation program approved by the State. Not all states do this: it is available in Idaho and New York State but not California or New Jersey.
If a CDL holder is disqualified from operating a CMV they can not be issued a "conditional" or "hardship" CDL, but can continue to drive non-commercial vehicles.
Any convictions are reported to the driver's home State and Federal Highway Administration and these convictions are treated the same as convictions for violations that are committed in the home State.
The Commercial Drivers License Program collects and stores all convictions a driver receives and transmits this data to the home State so that any disqualification or suspension can be applied.
The FHWA has established 0.04% as the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at or above which a CMV driver is deemed to be driving under the influence of alcohol and subject to lose his/her CDL. Additionally, an operator of a CMV that is found to have 'any detectable amount of BAC above 0.0%' will be put out of service for a minimum of 24 hours.
A driver must report any driving conviction within 30 days, except parking, to their employer regardless of the nature of the violation.
Employers must be notified if a driver's license is suspended, revoked, or canceled. The notification must be made by the end of the next business day following receipt of the notice of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, lost privilege or disqualification.
Employers cannot under any circumstances use a driver who has more than one license or whose license is suspended, revoked or canceled, or is disqualified from driving. Violation of this requirement may result in civil or criminal penalties.
In the United States, training may be obtained by completing a qualified CDL training program through a truck driving school. These training programs specialize in teaching potential truck drivers the necessary skills and knowledge to properly and safely operate a truck, including map reading, trip planning, and compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation laws, as well as backing, turning, hooking a trailer, and road driving. The overall purpose of these training schools is to help truckers-to-be pass the CDL knowledge and skills tests as well as advanced driving techniques such as skid avoidance and recovery and other emergency actions for situations such as a break away trailer and hydroplaning. These classes usually go well beyond the training the typical non-commercial driver receives, such as the drivers education provided in high school.
There are a number of licensed CDL training schools around the United States, and many trucking companies operate their own schools as well.
In the United Kingdom the PCV Licence (PCV stands for Passenger Carrying Vehicle) enables the holder to drive buses and/or minibuses, subject to what kind of Practical Driving Test the licence holder passes.
All places in Australia have a mostly similar driver licence system, although some things can change in each state or territory (e.g. what classes of license are available).
GVM is the maximum recommended weight a vehicle can be when loaded. A 'Class C' Licence allows the holder to drive cars, utilities, vans, some light trucks, car-based motor tricycles, tractors and implements such as graders. You can also drive vehicles that seat up to 12 adults, including the driver.
The medical standards for drivers of commercial vehicles are set by the National Transport Commission and AUSTROADS, and are set out in 'Assessing Fitness to Drive' (available from the AUSTROADS website).
For those applying for heavy vehicle licence classes MR (Medium Rigid), HR (Heavy Rigid), HC (Heavy Combination) or MC (Multi Combination), it is strongly recommended that the applicant ensure they meet the medical requirements before commencing any training or tests for a heavy vehicle licence.
The driver of a vehicle carrying paying passengers (such as a school bus or tourist coach) requires an appropriate driver licence and a 'Public Passenger Vehicle Driver Authority' which is issued by the Ministry of Transport.
In New Zealand, driver licensing is controlled by the New Zealand Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA). Broadly there are six classes of motor-vehicle licence. Class 1 governs vehicles with a GLW less than 4500 kg, and Class 6 governs motorcycles. Classes 2–5 govern heavy vehicles.
A Class 2 licence allows the holder to drive:
Class 3 allows the holder to drive:
Class 4 allows the holder to drive:
Class 5 allows the holder to drive:
Before getting a Class 2 licence, a driver must be at least 18 years of age and have held an unrestricted Class 1 licence for at least six months. Gaining a Class 5 is not dependent on holding a Class 3. Once a driver has a Class 2 they can progress straight through to Class 4 and Class 5. Each progression (2 to 3, 2 to 4, or 4 to 5) requires having held an unrestricted licence of the preceding class for at least six months. For drivers aged 25 or over the minimum period for holding the unrestricted time is reduced to three months, or waived entirely on completion of an approved course of instruction.
Additional endorsements on an NZ driver's licence govern provision of special commercial services. The endorsements are:
The F, R, T and W endorsements are for operating special types of vehicle on the road. Where the holder also has a heavy vehicle (Class 2 or Class 4) licence, they are permitted to drive heavy special vehicles. Otherwise the limits for Class 1 (4500 kg) apply.
Being granted a I, O, P and/or V endorsement requires that the applicant pass a "fit and proper person" check, to screen for people with criminal convictions or serious driving infringements. These endorsements are issued for one or five years, at the option of the applicant at the time of purchase.
Driver License Agreement
A driver's license/licence or driving licence is an official document which states that a person may operate a motorized vehicle, such as a motorcycle, car, truck, or a bus, on a public roadway. The laws relating to the licensing of drivers vary between jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, a license is issued after the recipient has passed a driving test, while in others, a person acquires a license before beginning to drive. Different categories of license often exist for different types of motor vehicles, particularly large trucks and passenger vehicles. The difficulty of the driving test varies considerably between jurisdictions, as do factors such as age and the required level of practice.
The first license to drive a motor vehicle was issued to the inventor of the modern automobile, Karl Benz, in 1888. Because the noise and smell of his Motorwagen resulted in complaints by the citizens of Mannheim, Benz requested and received written permission by the Grand Ducal authorities to operate his car on public roads.
Up until the start of the 20th century, European authorities issued licenses to drive motor vehicles similarly ad hoc, if at all. The first locality to require a mandatory license and testing was Prussia, on September 29, 1903. The Dampfkesselüberwachungsverein ("steam boiler supervision association") was charged with conducting the tests, which were mainly concerned with the driver's mechanical aptitude. In 1910, the German imperial government mandated the licensing of drivers on a national scale, establishing a system of tests and driver's education requirements that would serve as a model for the licensing laws of other countries. Other countries in Europe also introduced driving tests during the twentieth century, the last of them being Belgium where, until 1977, it was possible to purchase and hold a license without having to undergo a driving test.
As automobile-related fatalities soared in North America, public outcry provoked legislators to begin studying the French and German statutes as models. On August 1, 1910, North America's first licensing law for motor vehicles went into effect in the U.S. state of New York, though it initially applied only to professional chauffeurs. In July 1913, the state of New Jersey became the first to require all drivers to pass a mandatory examination before receiving a license.
Because a large number of countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States have no national identification cards and because of the widespread use of cars, driver's licenses are often used as a de facto standard form of identification. Most identification cards and driver's license cards are credit card size—the "ID-1" size and shape defined in ISO/IEC 7810.
Many European countries require drivers to produce their license on demand when driving. In such countries, the driver must always carry their license on them when driving. In the United Kingdom, it is not necessary for drivers to carry their license while driving. However, if stopped, a driver may be required to produce their license at a nominated police station within seven days. The police issue a form for this purpose.
Some European countries require adults to carry identification at all times, although a driving license is not necessarily a valid identification document in every European country.
In Spain and Sweden, the driver's license number is the same as the citizen's ID number.
In Poland, a special vehicle registration card and proof of obligatory insurance is also a driving requirement.
In Hong Kong, a driving license in Hong Kong carries the same number as the holder's ID card, but has no photograph. Upon inspection both must be presented. Plans to make the newly phased in Smart ID contain driving license information have been shelved.
Similarly, the Saudi Arabian government require all drivers to carry an ID card in addition to a license and present them whenever requested. In Saudi Arabia using a license instead is only permitted if the request is made for on-site inspection/identification purposes, especially at checkpoints. Expatriates may be requested to present their visas as well. Women, however, are not allowed to drive at all.
In Japan, a driving license in Japan is widely used in identification..
In the United States and Canada, driver's licenses are issued by the states or provinces, respectively, and do not look the same nationwide. They are also used as a de facto identification document. For persons not fit, not eligible, or due to personal reasons refuse to operate a motor vehicle, state (United States) or provincial (Canada) agencies – usually the same as the issuer of driver licenses – will issue an identification card with similar attributes to a driver's license. Identification cards do not enable a person to operate a motor vehicle, a fact typically noted on the ID via the phrase 'Not a driver's license' or similar wording.
The number of a driving licence issued by the Dominican Republic has the same number as the holder's Dominican Republic ID card.
In Venezuela, the driver's license number is the same as the citizen's ID number.
In a number of countries (including the United States, New Zealand, and some provinces of Canada) people who drive commercially are required to have special licenses. The cost of taking the series of tests and examinations to obtain these licenses usually means that an employer would subsidize his or her drivers.
The legal driving age of Moroccan Citizens is 18.][
The minimum driving age in South Africa is 18, except for small motorcycles which may be driven from the age of 16. To obtain a license, applicants must pass a written or computer-based test to obtain a learner's license, and then pass a road test to obtain the driving license.
Egyptian citizens are entitled to a driver's license once they have reached the age of 18. To obtain their licenses, applicants must pass a driving test as well as several computer tests.
In order to pass, all a person had to do was drive six meters forward and then reverse six meters. However, the test was updated to make it more difficult, now the applicant has to answer 8 out of 10 correct answers in a computer test, then pass a forward & reverse S-track test in addition to an assessment of parking skills.
Driver's licensing in Ghana is conducted by the nation's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority. The legal driving age is 18.
The legal driving age is 18.
In India, being a state matter, each Indian state has a "Regional Transport Authority or "RTOs" (Regional Transport Offices) that issues licences. Minimum age is 18 years for all vehicles, however motor cycle having engine capacity below 50 cc may be driven at age of 16. In India, people aged more than 50 years have to undergo strict medical tests in order to obtain a license. The license validity is five years and requires renewal every five years. In India, a commercial driving license is valid for 3 years.
The minimum age for eligibility for learner's permit is 18 years ; as the driver's information is saved against the Computerized National ID Card number which is issued at the age of 18. The License Issuing Authorities vary to each district and work under the relative District Police. New credit card format driving licence has been introduced. The licence bears the digital photo, signature and blood group information of card holder. The record of violation is stored automatically in the database.
To obtain a driving licence in Lahore District one must register for the learner's permit at any of the local District Police's designated licence offices and after 42 days can apply for test for a regular full licence. The test phase consists of a theory based test followed by a short practical test. Only the ones who pass the theory test are allowed to take the practical test. The whole test stage is a single day process where both the tests are to be taken the same day. The driving licence currently issued holds basic information of the Driver including Name, Father's Name, Date of birth, Address, Authorized Vehicle Types, Emergency Contact, Blood Group, Fingerprint Impression, Driver Photo. The licence also has a magnetic strip though its viability is yet to be made public.
License issuing authority is Chief Traffic Officer. In-charge of Licensing Branch is a DSP Traffic HQ, who is also given a charge of issuing licences on behalf of CTO. The said DSP is further responsible for managerial and driving tests issues, under the supervision of Chief Traffic Officer.
The European Union has adopted a common format for driving licenses, and a common set of driving license categories. They were introduced to replace the 110 different plastic and paper driving licenses. The common format with the same information in the same place on all licenses allows the driving license to be understood, even if it is in a different language.
The minimum age for getting a driver's licence in Iceland is 17 for a B class licence, a B class licence will qualify a person to drive low powered motorcycles (50cc two stroke or equvaliant, for more powerful bikes one will have to obtain an A class licence), Tractors, ATVs and Automobiles that do not exceed a GVWR of 3.500kg or 8 passengers.
The minimum age in Iceland to get a C1 class (vehicles up to 7.500kg GVWR) is 18, for a C class (vehicles exceeding 7.500kg) one will have to have obtained a 12point licence (obtainable without getting a ticket for a whole year) and have reached the age of 20yrs.
The minimum age in Iceland for a D class (and DE clas) licence is 22yrs old, the same rules apply as with a C/CE class licence.
The minimum age for getting a driver's license in Norway is 16 for A1, T (tractor), 18 for A-C and 21 for D. The driver's licenses are always revoked when he/she has reached an age of 100.
The minimum age for obtaining a driver's license in Romania is 18 ("Minimum legal age in Romania")
The minimum driving age in the United Kingdom is 16 for mopeds under 50 cc, and 17 for cars and motorcycles. Access to motorcycles producing more than 25 kW (34 hp) is restricted to riders with two years experience or aged 21. The British Overseas Territories and the British Crown dependencies issue their own driving licences. There is no legal requirement to carry a driving licence in the UK whilst driving, although it must be produced at a police station within seven days, if required to do so by a police officer.
In the United Kingdom, one must hold a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) license to drive a vehicle with more than eight passenger seats for hire or reward, or a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) license to drive a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight (Maximum Authorized Mass) in excess of 3,500kg. Special licenses are required in order to transport hazardous materials.
The age to obtain a driver's licence in Canada varies by province, as do the necessary procedures. The minimum age for obtaining a driver's licence to drive unaccompanied in most provinces is 16.
In Barbados, a person 16 years or over can apply for a Learner's Permit which allows them to drive for a specified period with an accompanying tutor. During that period they will be tested on their driving skill and their knowledge of road signs and traffic laws. On passing both the written and driving test the licence is issued. Once issued a driver's licence is valid for a period of one to five years depending on which period of time the driver chooses to pay for. On the expiry of the period for which the licence is issued, it will become renewable on the last day of the driver's birth month and will again be valid for the time period for which payment is made. Visitors and non-nationals who are the holders of a valid driver's licence issued in their country of residence or origin are not allowed to drive automatically in Barbados but must go to a police station to have a temporary local driver's licence issued. The licence is issued on payment of a fee and the production of the visitor's existing licence.
Every vehicle driver must carry a driver's license (Licencia de Conducir), which is issued by COSEVI (Consejo de Seguridad Vial) of the ministry of transportation and public infrastructure (Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transporte).
For this license to be granted there are three needed tests, practical driving (includes driving a car in simulated streets), theoretical driving (a multiple selection written test based on booklet issued by the education department or after taking a special course), and finally a medical test performed by a medical practitioner that tests eyesight, blood pressure and attests the presence of other diseases and behavior of the driver.
Every citizen can solicit a driver's license at age 18, after being issued the first time, the license must be renewed after two years, and every successive occasion after five years. Foreigners may also obtain a drivers' license if they have residency.
Besides this document the driver must carry the national identity card (Cédula de Identidad), however both documents use the same identification number, the national identity card being the basis of the driver's license number.
All driver's licenses are given by the government agency SERTRACEN (Servicios de Tránsito Centroamericanos S.A. de C.V.).
One needs a minimum of 15 years to receive a drivers's license (a juvenile license). To get a new license, one needs to pass a vision test, a written test, and a driving test. These tests are given at acrredited driving schools. Foreigners with a license from another country can obtain an El Salvador license if they have residency. They will also have to pass a vision test. The driver's licence number is the same as the person's Tax ID number.
El Salvador licenses (as well as vehicle circulation cards) contain a chip which can be read by putting the card in a chip reader.
There are several categories of drivers' licenses in El Salvador:
A citizen may obtain a learner's permit once he or she is age 17. A learner will get their driver's license upon being proven competent, only through the results of both a written and practical test. This license expires on the holder's fifth birthday after the date of issue.
Driving licences in Mexico are regulated by each state, and they all have different rules and requirements. However, all state driving licences are recognised across Mexico, and international licences with an IDP are also recognised as well.
A driver is allowed a learner's permit at the age of 15 (in some states), with the cost of approximately 100 dollars, a duration of a year, and requiring to drive with an adult at all times. At the age of 16, the fee drops to 30 dollars, and a driving permit is issued with some usage restrictions, depending on the state (like a curfew). When a driver turns 18, he or she is allowed a full licence.
The eligible age varies substantially by state. Nationally by age 16 one can obtain a license after passing the requisite tests and drive without adult supervision. Since the driver's license is a commonplace document that carries much of the necessary information needed for identification, it has become the primary method of identification in the United States.
In the United States, a holder of a Driver License is typically legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle up to 26,001 pounds, is not carrying hazardous materials or more than 16 passengers (driver included). Most jurisdictions when granting driver licenses only permit the holder to operate a road worthy four or more wheeled vehicle. To operate a two-wheel motorized vehicle with a sustainable speed greater than 30 miles per hour requires an endorsement upon the license, typically after successful completion of a theory and practical test.
On the Federal Level, Motor vehicles with a Curb Weight of GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more, a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers (driver included), or a vehicle transporting hazardous materials can only be driven by an operator carrying a Commercial Driver License (Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986). Upon successful completion of theory and practical testing endorsements can be applied to a CDL to allow legal transport of specialty types of goods:
Various state statues also mandate that CDL must be held to operate vehicles not covered by federal statues.
The minimum driving age varies between 16 to 18 years of age in different States and Territories. After the minimum age, a graduated licensing scheme operates, with state variations.
The minimum age to obtain a Learner Licence is now 16 in New Zealand, formerly 15.
Cook Islands driving licences are issued at police headquarters on Rarotonga, on production of a valid licence from the visitor's home country. To use a scooter or motor cycle (the main hire vehicles for tourists) a short test has to be taken by anyone whose home licence is only valid for cars, in which a police officer observes the applicant riding up and down the main street of the capital.
The minimum age for a driving license is 18 years old. It is obtained via a test in a car, a computer and the applicant must present a vision test which says they are permitted to drive
Licensing bureaus in many countries add an organ donation option on license forms. Sometimes a small picture of a heart or the term Organ Donor is printed on the driver's license, to indicate that he/she has agreed to donate his/her organs in case of a sudden death, such as in a car accident.
In the United States, this is governed by the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. In New Zealand and Republic of Ireland, willingness to donate organs for transplantion is also listed on driver's licenses. In Australia, the system of notating organ donation requests on licenses was replaced in July 2005 with a national registration system and the issue of special cards.
Many groups of countries have agreed to recognize driver's licenses issued by authorities of any of its members. Examples include the European Union and the GCC, where holders of driver's licenses issued by any member state can drive in all member states. Most countries worldwide will also recognize the licenses of citizens of foreign states wishing to drive as visitors. All EU member countries now issue licenses in a standard format, regardless of the language of the license.
The International Driving Permit (IDP) (sometimes erroneously called the International Driver's License) is a booklet which is an authorized translation of a driver's home license into many languages (especially languages with non-Latin scripts such as Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.). In some cases, it is obtained from a motoring organization such as the Automobile Association or the equivalent in the driver's home country. In other cases, it is delivered by the same government services that deliver ordinary licenses. The IDP has no validity except when used in conjunction with the driver's own license. The existence of the IDP is necessitated by many countries refusing to recognize driver's licenses written in foreign languages without accompanying translations.
Temporary visitors from the United States to France (less than 90 days) are permitted to drive with a valid U.S. state driver's license. In addition to holding a U.S. driver's license, visitors are advised (but not required) to carry an International Driving permit, or attach a French translation to their U.S. state driver's license.
China, at present, does not recognize IDPs and requires drivers to get an additional Chinese license before being officially allowed on all roads. Holders of foreign licenses are exempt from certain requirements when obtaining a Chinese license.
A minimum driving age often exists regardless of possession of a foreign license; an American cannot drive below the local minimum age in Europe, nor can a 17-year-old Briton drive in mainland Europe where the minimum age is 18.
Many countries have established a driver's license exchange arrangement after reviews of the foreign jurisdiction's licensing processes. Where standards in the other jurisdiction are comparable in areas such as medical standards, minimum driving age, and knowledge and road testing, an exchange (or honoring) of the foreign jurisdiction's license may occur. This may also be called Driver’s License Reciprocity.
Most license-issuing authorities require holders of foreign licenses taking up residence in their jurisdiction to obtain a local driver's license within a limited time (typically 6 months or 1 year). In most cases, the driver must follow the full local procedure for obtaining a license, but some jurisdictions have mutual recognition agreements and will exchange the foreign license for a local one without the need to undertake an additional driving test.
An exception is the EU, where licenses do not need to be exchanged since the introduction of the common EU-driver's-license scheme.
British Columbia has a reciprocal license exchange scheme with other Canadian provinces and territories as well other countries provided the license is valid or has been expired for less than three years. Ontario has a reciprocal license exchange scheme for Canadian provinces and territories, Canadian Forces Europe, and some other countries. Quebec has a reciprocal license exchange scheme for Canadian provinces and territories, Canadian Forces Europe, American states and other countries.
U.S. state driver's licenses can be exchanged from the 15 states below during the first year of legal residence in France: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
If you are a resident of France (holder of a carte de séjour or carte de residence), you may drive in France with a valid U.S. state driver's license for a one-year recognition period, beginning on the date of validity of the first carte de séjour (exception for students who are allowed to use their driver's license for the duration of their studies). In addition to having your U.S. state driver's license, residents are also required to attach a French translation done by a sworn translator (expert traducteur or traducteur assermenté).
The U.S. Embassy, supported by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, continues to actively press all U.S. states to reach an agreement on the reciprocal recognition of driver's licenses with Germany, essentially a waiver of testing requirements.
As stated on the application form for direct issue of full Hong Kong driving licence (Rev. 11/2008), when a person has documentary evidence to the Commissioner for Transport's satisfaction that all of the following apply, the person is eligible to direct issue of a Hong Kong licence:
A foreigner above 18 years of age and holding a Work Pass/Dependent Pass/Student Pass may drive in Singapore with a valid class 3, 3A or 2B foreign licence, for a period of not more than 12 months. A Singaporean driving licence is required after 12 months. Those on short term social visit may drive with their foreign licence for up to 12 months each time they enter into Singapore. For licences not written in English language, an International Driving Permit or translation is required.
Foreign license conversion is only granted for class 2B and class 3 qualified driving licences.
In order to convert your foreign licence to a Singapore driving licence, you are required to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT). Overseas theory test results are not admissible for consideration.
Residents in Sweden having a foreign license can exchange it to a Swedish license, if it is from an EU country, an EEA country, Switzerland or Japan. Foreign licenses are valid if the holder has not been living in Sweden for more than a year (and some more requirements).
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which licenses drivers in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), but not Northern Ireland, exchanges full licences issued by:
Delaware has a reciprocal license exchange for Germany and France.
A District of Columbia driver's license may be obtained while maintaining out-of-country driver’s license. D.C. driver's licenses may vary for non-U.S. citizens, depending on visa classification. The written test is required for non-U.S. citizens who possess an out-of-country driver's license.
Florida has a reciprocal license agreement with South Korea.
Nevada drivers who have never been licensed or those who currently hold a license from a foreign country or a U.S. territory must take vision, knowledge (written) and skills (driving) tests.
New York (the state) driver's license may be obtained by a resident of another country. If the driver has a driver license from any nation except Canada, they must pass a written test, complete a 5-hour pre-licensing course and pass a road test to qualify for a driver's license.
Washington State has a reciprocal license exchange for Germany, South Korea, and Canada (British Columbia only).
Driver License Compact
In the USA, the Driver License Agreement (DLA) is a new interstate compact written by the Joint Executive Board of the Driver License Compact (DLC) and the Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC) with staff support provided by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). The goals of the DLA are to require each state to honor licenses issued by other member states; to require each state to report traffic convictions to the licensing state; to prohibit a member state from confiscating an out-of-state driver's license or jailing an out-of-state driver for a minor violation; and to require each state to maintain a complete driver's history, including withdrawals and traffic convictions including non-DLA states. When a DLA member state receives a report concerning its drivers from a non-DLA member state, the member state will be required to treat the report the same as if it came from a member state. As with the previous compacts, the DLA requires a state to post all out-of-state traffic convictions to the driver's record, and a state must apply its own laws to all out-of-state convictions. As with the previous compacts, the DLA allows other jurisdictions to access motor vehicle records, in accordance with the Drivers' Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), and to transfer the driver's history if the driver transfers his license.
The DLA has some changes from the NRVC. Unlike the NRVC, under the DLA, adverse action can be taken against a driver for not responding to violations such as equipment violations, registration violations, parking violations, and weight limit violations. Other changes from the NRVC are that in order for a driver to keep his license under the NRVC, he just had to respond to the citation by paying the fine. With the DLA, the driver must comply with any order from the out of state court. An example would be a driver from Arizona getting cited for tinted windows while traveling through Virginia, even though the tinted windows are legal back at home. The driver is ordered to fix the tint to meet Virginia law even though the driver left Virginia. Under the NRVC, to retain said license, the driver just pays the fine but with DLA, the driver must do what the court says including but not limited to paying a fine, but also fixing vehicle equipment, and/or community service.
Work on the Driver License Agreement started in 1994/1995 by the Driver License Compact and the Non-Resident Violator Compact Joint Executive Board with the idea to combine and improve the compacts and make them enforceable, possibly with federal grant funding. Around the same time, Congress passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Joint Executive Board decided jurisdictions in Mexico and Canada could join.
The Federal Government through appropriations in Congress funded the Joint Executive Board in writing the new Driver License Agreement. In 2000, the agreement was ratified by the U.S. states with 2 votes against. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Joint Executive Board strengthened driver license security provisions in the DLA, and the revised DLA was again ratified by the U.S. states with some votes against. The information on who voted against the DLA is considered confidential and proprietary information by the AAMVA.][
Connecticut was the first state that joined in January 2002.
Driver License Compact (DLC) is an interstate compact used by states of the United States to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents and forward them to the state where they are licensed known as the home state. Its theme is One Driver, One License, One Record. The home state would treat the offense as if it had been committed at home, applying home state laws to the out-of-state offense. The action taken would include, but not be limited to, offenses such as speeding, suspension of license or DWI/DUI. It is not supposed to include non-moving violations like parking tickets, tinted windows, loud exhaust, etc.
Under the Driver License Compact, in order for a driver's state to penalize him/her for an out-of-state offense, the driver's state must have the equivalent statute. If the driver's state does not have the statute, no action can be taken. For example, the State of Indiana does not have a careless driving offense whereas Colorado does. If an Indiana licensed driver gets convicted of careless driving in Colorado, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles takes no action.
The Driver License Compact came into existence with Nevada becoming the first member in 1960. Organizations in the Western States such as Governors came together to cooperate on traffic safety. Under the Beamer Resolution ("Interstate Compacts for Highway Safety Resolution"), Public Law 85-684, enacted on August 20, 1958, 72 Stat. 635 (named for Rep. John V. Beamer, R-Indiana), states were automatically given permission to form compacts in the areas of traffic safety. Originally, the Driver License Compact dealt with dangerous driving violations such as drunk driving, reckless driving, commission of a felony involving a motor vehicle and others. Later on, minor violations were included as well. Quite a few states joined in the 1960s but it languished in the 1970s and part of the 1980s. In the late 1980s, there was a push by the AAMVA to get states to join and in the early to mid 1990s, quite a few states joined.
The Driver License Compact is no longer being pushed by the AAMVA as it is being superseded by the Driver License Agreement (DLA), which also replaces the Non-Resident Violator Compact. However, as of 2011, there were only three member states to the DLA: Arkansas, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee are not members. American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators: Nevada repealed the authorizing legislation in 2007, although it still generally conforms to the agreement through regulations.
The National Driver Register (NDR) is a computerized database of information about drivers who have had their licenses revoked or suspended, or who have been convicted of serious traffic violations such as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. State motor vehicle agencies provide NDR with the names of individuals who have lost their privilege or who have been convicted of a serious traffic violation. When a person applies for a driver's license the state checks to see if the name is on the NDR file. If a person has been reported to the NDR as a problem driver, the license may be denied.
Driver's license in the United States
A driver's permit, learner's permit, learner's license or provisional license, is a restricted license that is given to a person who is learning to drive, but has not yet satisfied the requirements to obtain a driver's license. Having a driver's permit for a certain length of time is usually one of the requirements (along with driver's education and a road test) for applying for a full driver's license. To get a learner's permit, one must typically pass a written permit test about rules of the road, although the process varies between jurisdictions. With written documentation and permission from your legal guardian and if you have a learner's permit you may be allowed to drive to and from school and work.
Laws regarding learner's permits in Australia differ between states. However, all states require a number of hours supervised driving to be undertaken and for the permit to be held for a set period. The age to get a Learner Permit is 16 in all states and territories except the ACT where it is 15 and 9 months.
In Canada, the minimum age varies from province to province and may be 14 or 16. In Ontario, a G1 License is issued to new drivers at the age of 16 after completing a written test. G1 license restrictions include:
After a period of one year, the learner may upgrade their G1 to a G2 license by taking a road test. The G2 license has fewer restrictions, but still requires seat belts and a BAC of 0. A G2 license does not have time or road restrictions, and the learner is free to drive alone. After one year with a G2, the learner may upgrade to their full G class license by taking another road test, which has a major highway component. A similar program is in effect for motorcycles, the M class license.
In Nova Scotia, a beginner's permit (L) is issued to new drivers after the age of 16 after a written test. The L license restrictions include:
In Hong Kong any person aged 18 or above can apply for a Learner's Driving License for private cars, light goods vehicle and motorcycles. For other types of vehicle the age required is 21 and the applicant must have a valid private car or light goods vehicle driving license for 3 years. Unlike other jurisdictions, a learner must be supervised by an approved driving instructor instead of an ordinary fully licensed driver, or attending an approved driving school to learn to drive (except motorcycles, which learners can drive on their own, but motorcycle learners must pass a motorcycle course from an approved driving school before they can learn to drive on road). L-plate is also required when the learner is practicing.
In Jamaica, any person 17 years or over may apply for a Provisional (Learners) License.
In New Zealand any person 16 years or over can sit a learner's licensing test, which is a theory multiple choice test on road rules . Once they have passed this, they may drive with an adult who has had their full license for at least two years. They must display L plates at all times when driving. You may drive up to the speed of 100 km/h in allowed areas .You may carry passengers with an adult in the car that has had their full licence for more than two years. After at least 6 months have passed, they take a road test in order to receive their restricted license. On a restricted license, the learner may only drive between 5am and 10pm, with no passengers other than their dependent children, spouse, or persons holding a full license for more than 2 years. If you are a learner, you may only drive between 5am and 10pm. Learners who sit the practical test in an automatic car are only legally allowed to drive an automatic while restricted. People can also sit a full license road test after 18 months or a year if they have undertaken a defensive driving course. In March 2010 the New Zealand Government announced changes to licence regulations which included raising the minimum age for a learner's licence to 16, since September 2011 the minimum age to attempt to obtain a learners licence is the age of 16.
In Norway, any person 16 or above can attend a 17-hour Basic Course on Traffic and receive a permit which allows the person to start driving at the age of 16. No test is required; the learner will earn the permit as long as she/he be present during the whole course. The requirements include an L plate on the back of the car and an additional rearview mirror for the compulsory passenger who must be over the age of 25 and have had the license for at least five consecutive years.
In South Africa, any person who is of the minimum required age and holds a valid ID document may sit a learner's licence exam. The minimum required age varies by vehicle class and has the following minimum age restrictions:
The Learner's Licence exam is a 68 question multiple choice exam with questions spread over three sections: Rules of the road (30 questions); Signs, signals and road markings (30 questions), and vehicle controls (8 questions). Once a student has passed with approximately 80% correct answers, he or she may drive on public roads/freeways alone. South African Learners must carry their Learner's Licence with them whenever they are driving a vehicle and have L plates on the rear window. The Learner's Licence is valid for 24 months.
In Sweden, the minimum age is 16 to get a basic car learner's permit; 17 years and six months are required for more advanced light vehicle combinations and up to 23 years for heavy vehicle combinations. Körkortslag 4kap 2§
In the United Kingdom, the minimum age at which a provisional licence is valid is 17 (16 for driving a tractor, riding a scooter, or those receiving Disability Mobility Allowance). When driving under a provisional license, the learner must be accompanied by a driver holding a full driving license for three years, and who is 21 or over. The supervisor has to be in view of the road, however the road safety act 1988 states that the supervisor does not have to be in the passenger seat, although the passenger in the front seat DOES have to be over the ages of 15. A full licence can be acquired as soon as the provisional license is received, unlike many other countries where applicants must wait a minimum of 6–12 months with this being said, before getting a full license. The provisional license is available without taking a test, although to get a full, unrestricted license - the applicant must take a written 'Theory' test Containing a 50 Multiple Choice Questions and 14 Clip Hazard Perception Test both of which are done on a computer at one of the many DSA (Driving Standards Agency) Test centers, for Car learner drivers both of the tests will be done on the same day., followed by an intensive physical driving test.
The vehicle being driven by the learner must also be fitted with L-plates on both the back and front of the vehicle. This tells other road users that the vehicle is being operated by a driver without their full license and that they may make mistakes easily and that the driver may not be fully competent yet. The L-plate consists of a white square plate (often tied to the vehicle or attached by magnets) with a large red L in the middle. In Wales the L-plate or the D-plate may be used due to bilingual laws in effect in Wales. When the learner has passed, they can get a non-compulsory 'P' plate, which shows that they have just passed their test, and so may not have much experience on the road. The P plate has a white background, with a green 'P'.
In Northern Ireland for one year after the passing of a driving test, the driver is defined as a "restricted driver" who must not exceed 45 mph (72 km/h) and must display an "R-plate" consisting of an amber sans-serif R on a white background.
Once you have passed both tests you are on a probationary period, if you get 6 or more points within 2 years of passing your test, your licence will be withdrawn and you will need to retake your theory and practical driving tests again. After 2 years the limit on the amount of points you can build up on your licence will double to 12.
In the United States, the minimum age at which a person can receive a learner's permit varies by state, ranging 14 to 18. Drivers may also count drives to and from school or work in their driving log without a supervising driver having been in the car with them. Holders of a permit are (15-21) restricted from driving during a certain period of time (usually around midnight to dawn).
In order for a minor to get a learner's permit, they must have signed permission from a parent or guardian. After nine months of driving supervised with a permit, and reaching the requisite age, a person can apply for a license. Obtaining a license allows certain restrictions to be lifted from the driver, such as the times that they are allowed to drive, and the number of people allowed in the car. In some states, permit holders are allowed to drive to and from school or work with a permit, without a supervising driver.
A written knowledge permit test is required in many states. A permit is obtained by showing proof of age and identity and proof of enrollment in a driver's education class.
In some states, but not all, an adult learner need only have the driver's permit for a few days before being able to get a driver's license. If the adult learner is over the age of 21, he/she may take the written test and pass for a permit, then is granted to take the driving test for a license on the same day if all fees are paid, and if it is convenient for both the DMV and the adult learner. In the state of Colorado, an adult learner over the age of 21 can take both tests on the same day, so long as the driving test is scheduled by appointment and the learner has passed and paid in full the written exam/permit first.
Driving ages, for permits, probationary licenses, and basic licenses vary greatly by state.
To obtain a restricted license, the driver must be the minimum age for testing and have had his or her permit for the required duration. A computerized knowledge test is first required. After that is passed, a 6 hrs drive test is given over a two-day period. It consists of driving around a residential neighborhood. There are no hazard tests. If you fail the test, you must usually wait a week or two to retake it.
In the United States, driver's licenses are issued by each individual state (including Washington, D.C. and the territories), rather than the federal government because of the political concept of federalism. Drivers are normally required to obtain a license from their state of residence and all states recognize each other's licenses for temporary visitors subject to normal age requirements. A state may also suspend an individual's driving privilege within its borders for traffic violations. Many states share a common system of license classes, with some exceptions, and commercial license classes are standardized by federal regulation at 49 CFR part 383.
In 1899 Chicago and New York City were the first locales to require testing before being allowed to operate a motor vehicle. Massachusetts and Missouri were the first US states to require a license for operating a motor vehicle in 1903; however, Missouri did not require testing before a license was granted.
Pennsylvania's 1909 licensing laws were the first to give an age restriction ("18 years of age") and the first state to allow 16-year-olds to drive (accompanied by a licensed driver) was Connecticut in 1921.
Some states also have additional classifications. Hawaii, for example, has a separate license category for drivers who only operate mopeds, while some more northerly states have separate categories for snowmobiles and ATVs. South Carolina and Georgia have non-commercial versions of every commercial class license for agricultural purposes.
Class C licenses are issued in most states in both commercial and non-commercial status. A non-commercial Class C license may not be used for hire. Most recreational vehicles that do not fall into the class D/E category, such as converted buses or full size (greater than 40 feet) campers require a non-commercial Class C license.
Professional drivers are usually required to add endorsements to their CDL in order to drive certain types of vehicles that require additional training, such as those equipped with air brakes. CDL endorsements are also common among all states, and the training and testing requirements are regulated by the US Department of Transportation. Endorsements are as follows:
In a rare exception to states and territories issuing drivers licenses, the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) issues drivers licenses to foreign officials and diplomats, bypassing the states and territories in which they live. OFM–issued driver licenses are equivalent to a regular state-issued license.
The minimum age to obtain a full (unrestricted) driver's license in the United States varies from 14 years, three months in South Dakota to as high as 17 in New Jersey. In most states, with the exception of South Dakota, a graduated licensing law applies to newly licensed teenage drivers, going by names such as Provisional Driver, Junior Operator, Probationary Driver, or Intermediate License. These licenses restrict certain driving privileges, such as whether the new driver may carry passengers and if so how many, as well as setting a curfew for young drivers to be off the roads. Unlike in some states of Australia and some provinces of Canada, however, graduated licensing laws do not require lowered speed limits, displaying of L and P plates, restrictions on towing a trailer or boat, or prohibitions on highway driving or operating high performance cars.
Drivers under 18 are usually required to attend a comprehensive driver's education program either at their high school or a professional driving school and take a certain number of behind the wheel lessons with a certified driving instructor before applying for a license. Some states like New York also require new adult drivers to attend some form of driver's education before applying for a license.
Unlike in Europe, Minnesota drivers who are under 16 may have other people outside the family in the car with a licensed driver present. However, in some states all newly licensed adult drivers may be on probation for a set amount of time (usually between six months and two years), during which traffic violations carry harsher penalties or mandatory suspensions that would not normally apply to experienced drivers.
According to federal law, the minimum age to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate transit (i.e. across state lines) is 21; as a result the minimum age to apply for an unrestricted commercial driver's license is 21.][
Driving a school bus also requires a CDL, however the minimum age to drive a school bus is typically higher, usually 25. Some states issue restricted intrastate commercial driver's licenses, valid for operating commercial vehicles in that state only, to drivers aged 18 and older. Professional drivers who are aged 18–20 typically cannot be licensed to drive tractor trailers, hazardous materials, or school buses.
Below is a list of Graduated Drivers Licenses (GDL) and hardship licenses for minors laws for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The list includes the state agency responsible for issuing drivers licenses and the length of time that a full (unrestricted) drivers license is valid for.
Note: In California, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, the minor must be at least 14 but under the age of 18. The pertinent form is DL120 and is entitled "Junior Permit Statement of Facts".
Note: In Georgia, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, the minor must have a suspended license due to school conduct or attendance problems and needs an exemption in order to get to and from school or for family medical reasons. The minor must be old enough to already have a license. The pertinent form is DDS 7012.
Driver must have not been convicted of a moving violation in the six months prior to turning 18 to receive full license privileges. If a driver is convicted of a moving violation in the first full year of licensing, this will result in extension of the passenger restriction for an additional six months. If a driver is convicted of a moving violation before turning 18, the Secretary of State will mail a warning letter to the driver and parents. If an under 18 driver is convicted of two moving violations in 24 months, this will result in a minimum 1-month license suspension.
The driver may not use any telecommunication device while operating the vehicle. For the first 180 days of holding their license, the driver may not have any passengers, unless the passengers are over the age of 25 and hold a valid driver's license. Holders of a probationary driver's license must comply with state and local curfew laws.
Note: In Iowa, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, called a Minor School License (MSL), the minor must be at minimum 14 and a half years old, the minor must have completed an Iowa-approved drivers education class unless exempted due to hardship, the minor must have a valid instruction permit for the previous six months, the minor's driving history must be free of convictions for moving traffic violations, contributive accidents and license withdrawals during the six-month period immediately preceding application, and the minor must live at least one mile or more from the school he or she is enrolled in. The pertinent form is Form 430021, entitled "Affidavit for School License", but the form must be completed by the school and signed by the minor's parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
Nonresident: At least 16 years of age and has in immediate possession a valid license issued by home state or country.
Intermediate License (Age 16): Must have completed the Learners's Permit requirements, pass the on-road drivers test, and have the Learner's Permit for at least 90 days. May not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Full License (Age 17): Must successfully complete Learner's Permit and Intermediate License stages or be a minimum of 17 years of age prior to application for the first time.
Note: In Michigan, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, the minor, who is at least 14 years old, must be living on a family-owned farm, the minor's family income must meet specific levels depending on the number of family members, there must be a significant change in the farming operation, i.e. the loss of a previous driver, to warrant requesting a minor restricted license, and the minor has no alternative transportation available. The pertinent form is entitled "Application for Minor Restricted License Special Farming Need Only".
Note: In Minnesota, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, called a Restricted Farm Work License, the minor must be at least 15 years old and need the license to help a parent or legal guardian on a farm. The pertinent form is the Farm Work License Affidavit.
Note: The validity periods to the left are for Class D licenses.
Note: In Nebraska, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, both a School Learners Permit and a School Permit will be issued. A minor, who is at a minimum 14 years old, must have a School Learners Permit for at least 2 months before getting a School Permit. A School Permit will be issued for a minor, who is at a minimum age of 14 years, 2 months, who lives at least a mile and a half or more from school, who resides outside of a city with 5,000 people or more, or who attends a school outside a city of 5,000 people or more. The School Permit is to be used for the purpose of transporting the minor or any family member who resides with the minor to attend school, extracurricular, or school-related activities at the school, and the minor may drive under the personal supervision of a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old. If a minor has not completed a DMV-approved Driver Safety Course, then the minor is required to compile 50 hours of driving time with a parent, guardian or licensed driver 21 years or older. Information about the School Learners Permit and School Permit can be found here at and the certification of 50 hours of driving time is located at.
Note: In Nevada, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, a minor restricted license cannot be approved for commercial driving purposes, to seek employment, or for public school students in Carson City, Clark, Douglas, or Washoe counties; workdays and hours are limited to a maximum of six (6) days per week, ten (10) hours per day; a physician’s statement is required if a minor is driving for medical purposes; a “Verification of Need” affidavit must be completed by an unbiased individual (a member of the clergy or a social worker, etc.) and signed in front of a DMV authorized representative or notary public official if a minor is driving for medical appointments or to go to a grocery store; school authorities and parents/guardians must complete certain sections if a minor is driving to school. The form is entitled "Restricted License Information".
Learner Permits: NYC has the toughest regulations of the regions, requiring an instructor's brake to be installed, and the accompanying driver must be a parent or professional instructor (driving school/driver's ed teacher), and prohibits driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. On Long Island, one must be accompanied by a guardian or professional instructor, and may not drive between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. In the rest of the state, one may drive while accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; other hours require parent or professional accompaniment.
Junior operator licenses (Class DJ or MJ) allows unaccompanied driving from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., driving outside these hours is permitted only to or from school, employment, or documented medical appointments, unless the driver is accompanied by their parent, legal guardian, or a certified driving instructor. Once someone acquires a junior license he/she is able to drive to and from school with the same restrictions on passengers as driving anywhere else with a junior license.
Adolescent drivers must have their permit accident and ticket free for six full months before taking their road test, along with the completion at least 50 hours of supervised driving, 15 of which must be in moderate to heavy traffic.
A full driver's education course is not required in New York, although license applicants who do not have a driver's ed certificate must complete a five-hour pre-licensing course. For 17-year-olds, a junior license will be converted to a full standard license if the driver submits a Driver's Ed Certificate and a certified completion of 50 hours of driving plus 15 in moderate to heavy traffic. Otherwise, it will be converted on the driver's 18th birthday. A 12am curfew exists for drivers who have not completed the driver's ed program.][
Under 17 either with a learner's permit or a driver license cannot drive between midnight and 6 a.m., under 18 either with a learner's permit or a driver license cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Drivers under 17 may only have one non-family member under the age of 21 in the vehicle; no restrictions on family members or those over 21. 18 and over have full license privileges and have no time or passenger restrictions. Special restricted license can drive after hours for purposes of employment, education, travel between home and school, vocational training, employment opportunities, and attending church services.
Note: In Ohio, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, the minor, aged 14 or 15 years old, must be the only licensed driver in the household; any other licensed driver will be required to surrender his or her driver license; a hardship license may not be used for the child to drive themselves or siblings to and from school, work or social and school events; the license is valid only within a 10-mile radius of the home for obtaining groceries and other household necessities, to drive the disabled parent or guardian to medical appointments and medical emergencies; the parent or guardian must accompany the child at all times while driving; the family must live in an area where there is no public transportation or community services available to assist them; the parent or guardian must show proof that they can maintain financial responsibility insurance on the driver; the child must complete a driver education course and the graduated licensing requirements. To apply for a hardship license for a minor in Ohio, a minor and his or her family can send a letter to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 16784, Attention Driver License Special Case Division/Medical Unit, Columbus, Ohio, 43216-6784; the letter must explain the hardship and provide the BMV with the minor's full name, date of birth, social security number and the names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any licensed drivers in the household; the BMV must also receive a notarized statement advising that any other driver(s) in the home would be willing to surrender their driver licenses if a hardship license were to be issued; before a hardship license is authorized, an investigation is conducted to assist the BMV in determining whether the household qualifies.
Special restricted license can drive after hours for purposes of employment, education, travel between home and school, vocational training, employment opportunities, and attending church services.
Applicants for the Special Restricted License must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the application process to sign the Special Restricted License application.
Applicants must bring their Beginner Permit and submit a PDLA form certifying the following:
Teen drivers applying for the Special Restricted License must pass a vision screening and the DMV road test. Special Restricted License holders may drive unaccompanied from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or until 8:00 p.m. during daylight saving time.
Outside of those hours the teen driver may drive until midnight if accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age.
Between midnight and 4:00 a.m. a Special Restricted License holder must be accompanied by a licensed parent or legal guardian.
Special Restricted License holders may receive an exception for these time restrictions if they can prove that the restrictions interfere with employment, education, travel between home and school, vocational training, employment opportunities, or attending church services.
Teen drivers must submit two statements to qualify the exception. One of the statements must be from a parent or legal guardian and the other must be a statement on letterhead from a school official or your employer.
The statements must describe the reason the waiver is needed.
Passengers under the age of 21 are limited to two unless they are immediate family members or students be transported to or from school or the license holder is accompanied by a licensed driver that is a minimum of 21 years of age.
Teen drivers that hold the Special Restricted License for 16-year-olds for one year without a conviction for a traffic violation and have not been at-fault in an accident may obtain full driving privileges when they reach the age of 17.
Note: In Tennessee, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, called a Class H license, if the minor is aged 14 or 15, the minor can operate a Class D passenger vehicle or Class M motorcycle (limited to 125 cc) or both; the minor must pass a vision screening, knowledge test, and road test to operate a Class D passenger vehicle; take the Class M knowledge and driving test in addition to the Class D knowledge test to drive a Class M vehicle; be limited to daylight hours only (5 am to 7 pm, no exceptions) and authorized locations only within a 25 mile radius from the minor's residence, as specified in the Department of Safety (DOS) letter. If the minor who has a Class H license is aged 15, the minor is treated the same as a Class PD (learners permit) license who drives with a licensed driver 21 years or older who sits in the front passenger seat. A Class H license will expire on the minor's 16th birthday. More information can be found at and the form for application for a hardship license is located at.
Note: In Texas, for a minor to obtain a hardship license, the minor must be aged 14 to 18 years old; must have an unusual economic hardship on the minor's family, the sickness or illness of a member of the minor's family, or he or she is regularly enrolled in a vocational education program and requires a driver license to pursue the program and has completed an approved course in driver education. To obtain the pertinent form, called the DL 77 form, go to .
Note: In Wisconsin, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, the minor must be at least 14 years of age, but under the age of 18; must appear in person, accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian, before an examining officer with a birth certificate showing the minor is at least 14 years old; must have the usage of an automobile, farm truck, dual purpose farm truck, motorcycle with an engine of no more than 125 cc, moped, or motor bicycle owned and registered by the applicant's parent or guardian, or a farm truck leased to the applicant's parent or guardian; must pass an examination, including a test of the applicant's ability to safely operate the type of vehicle for which the minor is requesting the ability to use. The hardship license is valid only until the minor secures a full (unrestricted) drivers license or reaches the age of 18, whichever comes first. The minor is not permitted to drive in hours of darkness or in a city of more than 500,000 people; operate either a commercial vehicle or vehicle for hire (e.g. a taxicab). These restrictions are provided in Section 343.08 of the Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations.
Note: In Wyoming, to obtain a hardship license for a minor, the minor must be aged 14 or 15 years, the minor's residence is more than 5 miles from the school they attend; the minor has a regular job (a minimum of 10 hours per week) more than 5 miles from the minor’s residence; the minor must have a license to work in his/her parents’ business; any other circumstances which the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) finds to be an extreme inconvenience, i.e. the need to provide transportation for long-term medical treatment or conditions (not to include routine medical office visits). Instructions accompanying the Restricted License Affidavit must be read, the Restricted License Affidavit itself must be filled out, a school attendance verification form must be attached, if the license is to be used for transportation to or from school, or in conjunction with extracurricular school activities, a work verification form must be attached, if the license is to be used for transportation to and from work; a verification of parental ownership of business form must be attached, if the license is to be used in conjunction with a parental business; an insurance verification form must be completed and attached; the Restrictions form must be completed by the WHP. More information can be found at. The instructions accompanying the Restricted License Affidavit can be found at. The Restricted License Affidavit itself can be found at, the School Attendance Verification form at, the Work Verification form at, the Verification of Parental Ownership of Business form at, the Insurance Verification form at, and the Restrictions form (only to be filled out by the WHP) at.
According to a December 2, 2004 Los Angeles Times article, only 43% of American 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds had licenses in 2002. By comparison, the percentage in 1982 was 52%.][
Driver's licenses issued in the United States have a number or alphanumeric code issued by the issuing state's Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent), usually show a photograph of the bearer, as well as a copy of his or her signature, the address of his or her primary residence, the type or class of license, restrictions and/or endorsements (if any), the physical characteristics of the bearer (such as height, weight, hair color, eye color, and sometimes even skin color), and birth date. No two driver's license numbers issued by a state are alike. Social Security numbers are now prohibited by federal law from appearing on new driver's licenses, due to identity theft concerns. In most states, to be compliant with AAMVA standards, the orientation of a driver's license for persons under the age of 21 is vertical while a driver's license for those over the age of 21 is horizontal. Since the driver's license is often used a proof of a person's age, the difference in orientation makes it easy to determine that a person is legally allowed to purchase or consume alcohol (the drinking age in all US states is 21). Most states require that when a driver establishes residence in a state, he or she must obtain a license issued by that state within a certain time frame.
Because there is no national identity card in the United States, the driver's license is often used as the de facto equivalent for completion of many common business and governmental transactions. As a result, driver's licenses are the focus of many kinds of identity theft. Driver's licenses were not always identification cards. In many states, driver's licenses did not even have a photograph well into the 1980s. Activism by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization for the use of photo ID age verification in conjunction with increasing the drinking age to 21 in order to reduce underage drinking led to photographs being added to all state licenses. New York and Tennessee were the last states to add photos in 1986. However, New Jersey later allowed drivers to get non-photo licenses; this was later revoked. Vermont license holders have the option of receiving a non-photo license.][ All Tennessee drivers aged 60 years of age or older have the option of a non-photo drivers license. Thirteen states allow the option of a non-photo drivers license for reasons of religious belief: Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Later additions varied from state to state, and have included fingerprints, bar codes, magnetic strips, social security numbers and tamper-proof features, most of which were added to prevent identity theft and to curb the use of fake IDs. States have now slowly been converting to digitized driver's licenses, which incorporate holograms and bar codes to prevent forgery.
All states, usually through the same agency that issues driver's licenses, provide identification cards for people who do not drive. These typically resemble a driver's license and have the same security and identification features. They are commonly used by seniors (who are eligible for free cards in some states), students who choose not to drive, people who are unable to drive, and people in large cities with comprehensive public transportation networks.
The Department of Homeland Security has the power through the Real ID Act of 2005 to set standards relating to identification of applicants and license design for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards. States are not required to comply with RealID, but if a state does not comply, any driver licenses or ID cards issued by that state will not be valid for any official purpose with the Federal government, meaning they will not be accepted for entering federal buildings or boarding airplanes.
For a state to meet RealID compliance, licenses and ID cards issued from that state must be approved by DHS in meeting RealID requirements.
States can choose to issue both regular licenses and ID cards as well as RealIDs, but any non-RealID must be marked that it is not a RealID.
RealIDs are allowed to be issued only to legal immigrants and citizens of the United States.
When a person applies for a RealID, either as a new driver license or ID card applicant or renewing a current license or ID card, they must present a citizenship document (US passport, certified birth certificate or citizenship certificate) or proof of legal immigrant status (valid visa) and proof of residency in that state. The state then must verify the documents and store them either electronically or on paper. No one may have more than one RealID at one time.
For those born on or after December 1, 1964, a RealID must be obtained by December 1, 2014 to be allowed to conduct business with the federal government. Those born before December 1, 1964 have until December 1, 2017 to obtain their RealIDs.
Florida, Nevada and Wisconsin have been approved by DHS and started to issue RealIDs. A RealID can be identified as materially compliant by a gold star located on the top third of the ID. A fully compliant RealID is identified as having a circle with an inset gold star in the top third of the ID. As of October 2011, Connecticut also issues them. Starting in January 2013, Ohio will being issuing RealIDs under the name "Safe ID".
Additionally, some states, mostly those with an international border, issue Enhanced Driver Licenses and Enhanced ID Cards. Enhanced licenses combine a regular driver's license with the specifications of the new Federal passport card. Thus, in addition to providing driving privileges, the enhanced license also is proof of U.S. citizenship, and can therefore be used to cross the Canadian and Mexican borders by road, rail, or sea, although air travel still requires a traditional passport book. The enhanced licenses are also fully Real ID compliant.
As of May 2009[update], Vermont, New York, Michigan and Washington were issuing enhanced driver's licenses and ID cards.
On March 27, 2008, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that Washington's enhanced driver's license was the first such license approved under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative; according to a Homeland Security press release, the department is also working with Arizona authorities to develop enhanced driver's licenses. On September 16, 2008, New York began issuing Enhanced Drivers Licenses that meet WHTI requirements. Texas was expected to also implement an enhanced driver's license program, but the program has been blocked by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, despite a state law authorizing the Texas Department of Public Safety to issue EDLs and a ruling by the state attorney general, Greg Abbott, that Texas' production of EDLs would comply with federal requirements.
Transportation in the United States
Minor in Possession
Driver's license in the United States
MIPS (originally an acronym for Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages) is a reduced instruction set computer (RISC) instruction set architecture (ISA) developed by MIPS Technologies (formerly MIPS Computer Systems, Inc.). The early MIPS architectures were 32-bit, with 64-bit versions added later. Multiple revisions of the MIPS instruction set exist, including MIPS I, MIPS II, MIPS III, MIPS IV, MIPS V, MIPS32, and MIPS64. The current revisions are MIPS32 (for 32-bit implementations) and MIPS64 (for 64-bit implementations). MIPS32 and MIPS64 define a control register set as well as the instruction set.
Several optional extensions are also available, including MIPS-3D which is a simple set of floating-point SIMD instructions dedicated to common 3D tasks, MDMX (MaDMaX) which is a more extensive integer SIMD instruction set using the 64-bit floating-point registers, MIPS16e which adds compression to the instruction stream to make programs take up less room, and MIPS MT, which adds multithreading capability.
Computer architecture courses in universities and technical schools often study the MIPS architecture. The architecture greatly influenced later RISC architectures such as Alpha.
MIPS implementations are primarily used in embedded systems such as Windows CE devices, routers, residential gateways, and video game consoles such as the Sony PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. Until late 2006, they were also used in many of SGI's computer products. MIPS implementations were also used by Digital Equipment Corporation, NEC, Pyramid Technology, Siemens Nixdorf, Tandem Computers and others during the late 1980s and 1990s. In the mid to late 1990s, it was estimated that one in three RISC microprocessors produced was a MIPS implementation.
Processors based upon the MIPS instruction set have been in production since 1988. Over time several enhancements of the instruction set were made. The different revisions which have been introduced are MIPS I, MIPS II, MIPS III, MIPS IV and MIPS V. Each revision is a superset of its predecessors. When MIPS Technologies was spun out of Silicon Graphics again in 1998, they refocused on the embedded market. At that time, this superset property was found to be a problem, and the architecture definition was changed to define a 32-bit MIPS32 and a 64-bit MIPS64 instruction set.
Introduced in 1985 with the R2000.
Introduced in 1990 with the R6000.
Introduced in 1992 in the R4000. It adds 64-bit registers and integer instructions and a square root floating point instruction.
MIPS IV is the fourth version of the architecture. It is a superset of MIPS III and is compatible with all existing versions of MIPS. The first implementation of MIPS IV was the R8000, which was introduced in 1994. MIPS IV added:
Announced on 21 October 1996 at the Microprocessor Forum 1996. MIPS V was designed to improve the performance of 3D graphics applications. In the mid-1990s, a major use of non-embedded MIPS microprocessors were graphics workstations from SGI. MIPS V was complemented by the integer-only MIPS Digital Media Extensions (MDMX) multimedia extensions, which were announced on the same date as MIPS V.
MIPS V implementations were never introduced. In 1997, SGI announced the "H1" or "Beast" and the "H2" or "Capitan" microprocessors. The former was to have been the first MIPS V implementation, and was due to be introduced in 1999. The "H1" and "H2" projects were later combined and were eventually canceled in 1998.
MIPS V added a new data type, the pair-single (PS), which consisted of two single-precision (32-bit) floating-point numbers stored in the existing 64-bit floating-point registers. Variants of existing floating-point instructions for arithmetic, compare and conditional move were added to operate on this data type in a SIMD fashion. New instructions were added for loading, rearranging and converting PS data. It was the first instruction set to exploit floating-point SIMD with existing resources.
Introduced in 1999 based on MIPS II with some additional features from MIPS III, MIPS IV, and MIPS V.
Lexra used a MIPS-like architecture and added DSP extensions for the audio chip market and multithreading support for the networking market. Due to Lexra not licensing the architecture, two lawsuits were started between the two companies. The first was quickly resolved when Lexra promised not to advertise their processors as "MIPS-compatible". The second (about MIPS patent 4814976 for handling unaligned memory access) was protracted, hurt both companies' business, and culminated in MIPS Technologies giving Lexra a free license and a large cash payment.
Introduced in 1999 based on MIPS V. NEC, Toshiba and SiByte (later acquired by Broadcom) each obtained licenses for the MIPS64 instruction set as soon as it was announced. Philips, LSI Logic, IDT, Raza Microelectronics, Inc. and Cavium have since joined them.
Enhancements for microcontroller applications.
Extends the MIPS32 Architectures with a set of security enhancements.
Contains 16-bit compressed code instructions. The core can execute both 16- and 32-bit instructions intermixed in the same program, and is compatible with both the MIPS32 and MIPS64 Architectures.
microMIPS32 and microMIPS64 are high performance code compression technologies that combine optimized 16- and 32-bit instructions in single, unified Instruction Set. As a complete ISA, microMIPS can operate standalone or in co-existence with the legacy-compatible MIPS32 instruction decoder, allowing programs to intermix 16- and 32-bit code without having to switch modes. microMIPS32 has 32x32b registers; 32 bits Virtual Address, up to 36 bits Physical Address (same as MIPS32). microMIPS64 has 32x64b registers; 64 bits Virtual Address, up to 59 bits Physical Address, adds 64- bit variables (same as MIPS64)
The first commercial MIPS model, the R2000, was announced in 1985. It added multiple-cycle multiply and divide instructions in a somewhat independent on-chip unit. New instructions were added to retrieve the results from this unit back to the register file; these result-retrieving instructions were interlocked.
The R2000 could be booted either big-endian or little-endian. It had thirty-one 32-bit general purpose registers, but no condition code register (the designers considered it a potential bottleneck), a feature it shares with the AMD 29000 and the Alpha. Unlike other registers, the program counter is not directly accessible.
The R2000 also had support for up to four co-processors, one of which was built into the main CPU and handled exceptions, traps and memory management, while the other three were left for other uses. One of these could be filled by the optional R2010 FPU, which had thirty-two 32-bit registers that could be used as sixteen 64-bit registers for double-precision.
MIPSel refers to a MIPS architecture using a little endian byte order. Since almost all MIPS microprocessors have the capability of operating with either little endian or big endian byte order, the term is used only for processors where little endian byte order has been pre-determined.
The R3000 succeeded the R2000 in 1988, adding 32 kB (soon increased to 64 kB) caches for instructions and data, along with cache coherency support for multiprocessor use. While there were flaws in the R3000's multiprocessor support, it still managed to be a part of several successful multiprocessor designs. The R3000 also included a built-in MMU, a common feature on CPUs of the era. The R3000, like the R2000, could be paired with a R3010 FPU. The R3000 was the first successful MIPS design in the marketplace, and eventually over one million were made. A speed-bumped version of the R3000 running up to 40 MHz, the R3000A delivered a performance of 32 VUPs (VAX Unit of Performance). The MIPS R3000A-compatible R3051 running at 33.8688 MHz was the processor used in the Sony PlayStation. Third-party designs include Performance Semiconductor's R3400 and IDT's R3500, both of them were R3000As with an integrated R3010 FPU. Toshiba's R3900 was a virtually first SoC for the early handheld PCs that ran Windows CE. A radiation-hardened variant for space applications, the Mongoose-V, is a R3000 with an integrated R3010 FPU.
The R4000 series, released in 1991, extended the MIPS instruction set to a full 64-bit architecture, moved the FPU onto the main die to create a single-chip microprocessor, and operated at a radically high internal clock speed (it was introduced at 100 MHz). However, in order to achieve the clock speed the caches were reduced to 8 kB each and they took three cycles to access. The high operating frequencies were achieved through the technique of deep pipelining (called super-pipelining at the time). The improved R4400 followed in 1993. It had larger 16 kB primary caches, largely bug-free 64-bit operation, and support for a larger L2 cache.
MIPS, now a division of SGI called MTI, designed the low-cost R4200, the basis for the even cheaper R4300i. A derivative of this microprocessor, the NEC VR4300, was used in the Nintendo 64 game console.
Quantum Effect Devices (QED), a separate company started by former MIPS employees, designed the R4600 Orion, the R4700 Orion, the R4650 and the R5000. Where the R4000 had pushed clock frequency and sacrificed cache capacity, the QED designs emphasized large caches which could be accessed in just two cycles and efficient use of silicon area. The R4600 and R4700 were used in low-cost versions of the SGI Indy workstation as well as the first MIPS based Cisco routers, such as the 36x0 and 7x00-series routers. The R4650 was used in the original WebTV set-top boxes (now Microsoft TV). The R5000 FPU had more flexible single precision floating-point scheduling than the R4000, and as a result, R5000-based SGI Indys had much better graphics performance than similarly clocked R4400 Indys with the same graphics hardware. SGI gave the old graphics board a new name when it was combined with R5000 in order to emphasize the improvement. QED later designed the RM7000 and RM9000 family of devices for embedded markets like networking and laser printers. QED was acquired by the semiconductor manufacturer PMC-Sierra in August 2000, the latter company continuing to invest in the MIPS architecture. The RM7000 included an on-board 256 kB level 2 cache and a controller for optional level three cache. The RM9xx0 were a family of SOC devices which included northbridge peripherals such as memory controller, PCI controller, gigabit ethernet controller and fast IO such as a hypertransport port.
The R8000 (1994) was the first superscalar MIPS design, able to execute two integer or floating point and two memory instructions per cycle. The design was spread over six chips: an integer unit (with 16 kB instruction and 16 kB data caches), a floating-point unit, three full-custom secondary cache tag RAMs (two for secondary cache accesses, one for bus snooping), and a cache controller ASIC. The design had two fully pipelined double precision multiply-add units, which could stream data from the 4 MB off-chip secondary cache. The R8000 powered SGI's POWER Challenge servers in the mid-1990s and later became available in the POWER Indigo2 workstation. Although its FPU performance fit scientific users quite well, its limited integer performance and high cost dampened appeal for most users, and the R8000 was in the marketplace for only a year and remains fairly rare.
In 1995, the R10000 was released. This processor was a single-chip design, ran at a faster clock speed than the R8000, and had larger 32 kB primary instruction and data caches. It was also superscalar, but its major innovation was out-of-order execution. Even with a single memory pipeline and simpler FPU, the vastly improved integer performance, lower price, and higher density made the R10000 preferable for most customers.
Later designs have all been based upon R10000 core. The R12000 used a 0.25 micrometre process to shrink the chip and achieve higher clock rates. The revised R14000 allowed higher clock rates with additional support for DDR SRAM in the off-chip cache. Later iterations are named the R16000 and the R16000A and feature increased clock speed and smaller die manufacturing compared with before.
Other members of the MIPS family include the R6000, an ECL implementation produced by Bipolar Integrated Technology. The R6000 introduced the MIPS II instruction set. Its TLB and cache architecture are different from all other members of the MIPS family. The R6000 did not deliver the promised performance benefits, and although it saw some use in Control Data machines, it quickly disappeared from the mainstream market.
In 1981, a team led by John L. Hennessy at Stanford University started work on what would become the first MIPS processor. The basic concept was to increase performance through the use of deep instruction pipelines. Pipelining as a basic technique was well known before (see IBM 801 for instance), but not developed into its full potential. CPUs are built up from a number of dedicated sub-units such as instruction decoders, ALUs (integer arithmetics and logic), load/store units (handling memory), and so on. In a traditional non-optimized design, a particular instruction in a program sequence must be (almost) completed before the next can be issued for execution; in a pipelined architecture, successive instructions can instead overlap in execution. For instance, at the same time a math instruction is fed into the floating point unit, the load/store unit can fetch the next instruction.
One major barrier to pipelining was that some instructions, like division, take longer to complete and the CPU therefore has to wait before passing the next instruction into the pipeline. One solution to this problem is to use a series of interlocks that allows stages to indicate that they are busy, pausing the other stages upstream. Hennessy's team viewed these interlocks as a major performance barrier since they had to communicate to all the modules in the CPU which takes time, and appeared to limit the clock speed. A major aspect of the MIPS design was to fit every sub-phase, including cache-access, of all instructions into one cycle, thereby removing any needs for interlocking, and permitting a single cycle throughput.
Although this design eliminated a number of useful instructions such as multiply and divide it was felt that the overall performance of the system would be dramatically improved because the chips could run at much higher clock rates. This ramping of the speed would be difficult with interlocking involved, as the time needed to set up locks is as much a function of die size as clock rate. The elimination of these instructions became a contentious point.
The other difference between the MIPS design and the competing Berkeley RISC involved the handling of subroutine calls. RISC used a technique called register windows to improve performance of these very common tasks, but this limited the maximum depth of multi-level calls. Each subroutine call required its own set of registers, which in turn required more real estate on the CPU and more complexity in its design. Hennessy felt that a careful compiler could find free registers without resorting to a hardware implementation, and that simply increasing the number of registers would not only make this simple, but increase the performance of all tasks.
In other ways the MIPS design was very much a typical RISC design. To save bits in the instruction word, RISC designs reduce the number of instructions to encode. The MIPS design uses 6 bits of the 32-bit word for the basic opcode; the rest may contain a single 26-bit jump address or it may have up to four 5-bit fields specifying up to three registers plus a shift value combined with another 6-bits of opcode; another format, among several, specifies two registers combined with a 16-bit immediate value, etc. This allowed this CPU to load up the instruction and the data it needed in a single cycle, whereas an (older) non-RISC design, such as the MOS Technology 6502 for instance, required separate cycles to load the opcode and the data. This was one of the major performance improvements that RISC offered. However, modern non-RISC designs achieve this speed by other means (such as queues in the CPU).
In 1984 Hennessy was convinced of the future commercial potential of the design, and left Stanford to form MIPS Computer Systems. They released their first design, the R2000, in 1985, improving the design as the R3000 in 1988. These 32-bit CPUs formed the basis of their company through the 1980s, used primarily in SGI's series of workstations and later Digital Equipment Corporation DECstation workstations and servers. The SGI commercial designs deviated from the Stanford academic research by implementing most of the interlocks in hardware, supplying full multiply and divide instructions (among others). The designs were guided, in part, by software architect Earl Killian who designed the MIPS III 64-bit instruction-set extension, and led the work on the R4000 microarchitecture.
In 1991 MIPS released the first 64-bit microprocessor, the R4000. The R4000 has an advanced TLB where the entry contains not just virtual address but also the virtual address space id. Such buffer eliminates the major performance problems from microkernels that are slow on competing architectures (Pentium, PowerPC, Alpha) because of the need to flush the TLB on the frequent context switches. However, MIPS had financial difficulties while bringing it to market. The design was so important to SGI, at the time one of MIPS' few major customers, that SGI bought the company outright in 1992 in order to guarantee the design would not be lost. As a subsidiary of SGI, the company became known as MIPS Technologies.
In the early 1990s MIPS started licensing their designs to third-party vendors. This proved fairly successful due to the simplicity of the core, which allowed it to be used in a number of applications that would have formerly used much less capable CISC designs of similar gate count and price—the two are strongly related; the price of a CPU is generally related to the number of gates and the number of external pins. Sun Microsystems attempted to enjoy similar success by licensing their SPARC core but was not nearly as successful. By the late 1990s MIPS was a powerhouse in the embedded processor field. According to MIPS Technologies Inc., there was an exponential growth, with 48-million MIPS-based CPU shipments and 49% of total RISC CPU market share in 1997. MIPS was so successful that SGI spun off MIPS Technologies in 1998. Fully half of MIPS's income today comes from licensing their designs, while much of the rest comes from contract design work on cores that will then be produced by third parties.
In 1999 MIPS formalized their licensing system around two basic designs, the 32-bit MIPS32 (based on MIPS II with some additional features from MIPS III, MIPS IV, and MIPS V) and the 64-bit MIPS64 (based on MIPS V). NEC, Toshiba and SiByte (later acquired by Broadcom) each obtained licenses for the MIPS64 as soon as it was announced. Philips, LSI Logic and IDT have since joined them. Today, the MIPS cores are one of the most-used "heavyweight"][ cores in the marketplace for computer-like devices (hand-held computers, set-top boxes, etc.).
Since the MIPS architecture is licensable, it has attracted several processor start-up companies over the years. One of the first start-ups to design MIPS processors was Quantum Effect Devices (see next section). The MIPS design team that designed the R4300i started the company SandCraft, which designed the R5432 for NEC and later produced the SR71000, one of the first out-of-order execution processors for the embedded market. The original DEC StrongARM team eventually split into two MIPS-based start-ups: SiByte which produced the SB-1250, one of the first high-performance MIPS-based systems-on-a-chip (SOC); while Alchemy Semiconductor (later acquired by AMD) produced the Au-1000 SoC for low-power applications. Lexra used a MIPS-like architecture and added DSP extensions for the audio chip market and multithreading support for the networking market. Due to Lexra not licensing the architecture, two lawsuits were started between the two companies. The first was quickly resolved when Lexra promised not to advertise their processors as MIPS-compatible. The second (about MIPS patent 4814976 for handling unaligned memory access) was protracted, hurt both companies' business, and culminated in MIPS Technologies giving Lexra a free license and a large cash payment.
Two companies have emerged that specialize in building multi-core devices using the MIPS architecture. Raza Microelectronics, Inc. purchased the product line from failing SandCraft and later produced devices that contained eight cores that were targeted at the telecommunications and networking markets. Cavium, originally a security processor vendor also produced devices with eight CPU cores, and later up to 32 cores, for the same markets. Both of these companies designed their cores in-house, just licensing the architecture instead of purchasing cores from MIPS.
Among the manufacturers which have made computer workstation systems using MIPS processors are SGI, MIPS Computer Systems, Inc., Whitechapel Workstations, Olivetti, Siemens-Nixdorf, Acer, Digital Equipment Corporation, NEC, and DeskStation.
Operating systems ported to the architecture include SGI's IRIX, Microsoft's Windows NT (until v4.0), Windows CE, Linux, BSD, UNIX System V, SINIX, QNX, and MIPS Computer Systems' own RISC/os.
There was speculation in the early 1990s that MIPS and other powerful RISC processors would overtake the Intel IA32 architecture. This was encouraged by the support of the first two versions of Microsoft's Windows NT for Alpha, MIPS and PowerPC—and to a lesser extent the Clipper architecture and SPARC. However, as Intel quickly released faster versions of their Pentium class CPUs, Microsoft Windows NT v4.0 dropped support for anything but IA32 and Alpha. With SGI's decision to transition to the Itanium and IA32 architectures, use of MIPS processors on the desktop has now][ disappeared almost completely.
Through the 1990s, the MIPS architecture was widely adopted by the embedded market, including for use in computer networking, telecommunications, video arcade games, video game consoles, computer printers, digital set-top boxes, digital televisions, DSL and cable modems, and personal digital assistants.
The low power-consumption and heat characteristics of embedded MIPS implementations, the wide availability of embedded development tools, and knowledge about the architecture means use of MIPS microprocessors in embedded roles is likely to remain common.
In recent years][ most of the technology used in the various MIPS generations has been offered as IP-cores (building-blocks) for embedded processor designs. Both 32-bit and 64-bit basic cores are offered, known as the 4K and 5K. These cores can be mixed with add-in units such as FPUs, SIMD systems, various input/output devices, etc.
MIPS cores have been commercially successful, now being used in many consumer and industrial applications. MIPS cores can be found in newer Cisco, Linksys and Mikrotik's routerboard routers, cable modems and ADSL modems, smartcards, laser printer engines, set-top boxes, robots, handheld computers, Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation 2 and Sony PlayStation Portable. In cellphone/PDA applications, MIPS has been largely unable to displace the incumbent, competing ARM architecture.
MIPS architecture processors include: IDT RC32438; ATI/AMD Xilleon; Alchemy Au1000, 1100, 1200; Broadcom Sentry5; RMI XLR7xx, Cavium Octeon CN30xx, CN31xx, CN36xx, CN38xx and CN5xxx; Infineon Technologies EasyPort, Amazon, Danube, ADM5120, WildPass, INCA-IP, INCA-IP2; Microchip Technology PIC32; NEC EMMA and EMMA2, NEC VR4181A, VR4121, VR4122, VR4181A, VR4300, VR5432, VR5500; Oak Technologies Generation; PMC-Sierra RM11200; QuickLogic QuickMIPS ESP; Toshiba Donau, Toshiba TMPR492x, TX4925, TX9956, TX7901.
One of the more interesting applications of the MIPS architecture is its use in massive processor count supercomputers. Silicon Graphics (SGI) refocused its business from desktop graphics workstations to the high-performance computing market in the early 1990s. The success of the company's first foray into server systems, the Challenge series based on the R4400 and R8000, and later R10000, motivated SGI to create a vastly more powerful system. The introduction of the integrated R10000 allowed SGI to produce a system, the Origin 2000, eventually scalable to 1024 CPUs using its NUMAlink cc-NUMA interconnect. The Origin 2000 begat the Origin 3000 series which topped out with the same 1024 maximum CPU count but using the R14000 and R16000 chips up to 700 MHz. Its MIPS based supercomputers were withdrawn in 2005 when SGI made the strategic decision to move to Intel's IA-64 architecture.
A high-performance computing startup called SiCortex introduced a massively parallel MIPS based supercomputer in 2007. The machines are based on the MIPS64 architecture and a high performance interconnect using a Kautz graph topology. The system is very power efficient and computationally powerful.][ The most innovative aspect of the system was its multicore processing node which integrates six MIPS64 cores, a crossbar switch memory controller, interconnect DMA engine, Gigabit Ethernet and PCI Express controllers all on a single chip which consumes only 10 watts of power, yet has a peak floating point performance of 6 gigaFLOPS. The most powerful configuration, the SC5832, is a single cabinet supercomputer consisting of 972 such node chips for a total of 5832 MIPS64 processor cores and 8.2 teraFLOPS of peak performance.
Loongson is a MIPS-compatible family of microprocessors designed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The internal microarchitecture of Loongson microprocessors was designed independently by the Chinese, and early implementations of the family lacked four instructions patented by MIPS Technologies. In June 2009, ICT licenced the MIPS32 and MIPS64 architectures directly from MIPS Technologies.
Starting from 2006, a number of companies released Loongson-based computers, including nettops and netbooks designed for low-power use.
The high-performance Dawning 6000, which has a projected speed of over one quadrillion operations per second, will incorporate the Loongson processor as its core. Dawning 6000 is currently jointly developed by the Institute of Computing Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Dawning Information Industry Company. Li Guojie, chairman of Dawning Information Industry Company and director and academician of the Institute of Computing Technology, said research and development of the Dawning 6000 is expected to be completed in two years. By then, Chinese-made high-performance computers will be expected to achieve two major breakthroughs: first, the adoption of domestic-made central processing units (CPUs); second, the existing cluster-based system structure of high-performance computers will be changed once the computing speed reaches one quadrillion operations per second.
Instructions are divided into three types: R, I and J. Every instruction starts with a 6-bit opcode. In addition to the opcode, R-type instructions specify three registers, a shift amount field, and a function field; I-type instructions specify two registers and a 16-bit immediate value; J-type instructions follow the opcode with a 26-bit jump target.
The following are the three formats used for the core instruction set:
These are assembly language instructions that have direct hardware implementation, as opposed to pseudoinstructions which are translated into multiple real instructions before being assembled.
MIPS has 32 integer registers. Data must be in registers to perform arithmetic. Register $0 always holds 0 and register $1 is normally reserved for the assembler (for handling pseudo instructions and large constants).
The encoding shows which bits correspond to which parts of the instruction. A hyphen (-) is used to indicate don't cares.
Note: In MIPS assembly code, the offset for branching instructions can be represented by a label elsewhere in the code.
Note: There is no corresponding load lower immediate instruction; this can be done by using addi (add immediate, see below) or ori (or immediate) with the register $0 (whose value is always zero). For example, both
addi $1, $0, 100 and
ori $1, $0, 100 load the decimal value 100 into register $1.
Note: Subtracting an immediate can be done with adding the negation of that value as the immediate.
MIPS has 32 floating-point registers. Two registers are paired for double precision numbers. Odd numbered registers cannot be used for arithmetic or branching, just as part of a double precision register pair.
These instructions are accepted by the MIPS assembler, although they are not real instructions within the MIPS instruction set. Instead, the assembler translates them into sequences of real instructions.
The hardware architecture specifies that:
These are the only hardware restrictions on the usage of the general purpose registers.
The various MIPS tool-chains implement specific calling conventions that further restrict how the registers are used. These calling conventions are totally maintained by the tool-chain software and are not required by the hardware.
Registers that are preserved across a call are registers that (by convention) will not be changed by a system call or procedure (function) call. For example, $s-registers must be saved to the stack by a procedure that needs to use them, and $sp and $fp are always incremented by constants, and decremented back after the procedure is done with them (and the memory they point to). By contrast, $ra is changed automatically by any normal function call (ones that use jal), and $t-registers must be saved by the program before any procedure call (if the program needs the values inside them after the call).
Open Virtual Platforms (OVP) includes the freely available for non-commercial use simulator OVPsim, a library of models of processors, peripherals and platforms, and APIs which enable users to develop their own models. The models in the library are open source, written in C, and include the MIPS 4K, 24K, 34K, 74K, 1004K, 1074K, M14K, microAptiv, interAptiv, proAptiv 32 bit cores and the MIPS 6 4bit 5K range of cores. These models are created and maintained by Imperas and in partnership with MIPS Technologies have been tested and assigned the MIPS-Verified (tm) mark. Sample MIPS-based platforms include both bare metal environments and platforms for booting unmodified Linux binary images. These platforms–emulators are available as source or binaries and are fast, free for non-commercial usage, and are easy to use. OVPsim is developed and maintained by Imperas and is very fast (hundreds of million of instructions per second), and built to handle multicore homogeneous and heterogeneous architectures and systems.
There is a freely available MIPS32 simulator (earlier versions simulated only the R2000/R3000) called SPIM for use in education. EduMIPS64 is a GPL graphical cross-platform MIPS64 CPU simulator, written in Java/Swing. It supports a wide subset of the MIPS64 ISA and allows the user to graphically see what happens in the pipeline when an assembly program is run by the CPU. It has educational purposes and is used in some][ computer architecture courses in universities around the world.
MARS is another GUI-based MIPS emulator designed for use in education, specifically for use with Hennessy's Computer Organization and Design.
WebMIPS is a browser based MIPS simulator with visual representation of a generic, pipelined processor. This simulator is quite useful for register tracking during step by step execution.
More advanced free emulators are available from the GXemul (formerly known as the mips64emul project) and QEMU projects. These emulate the various MIPS III and IV microprocessors in addition to entire computer systems which use them.
Commercial simulators are available especially for the embedded use of MIPS processors, for example Wind River Simics (MIPS 4Kc and 5Kc, PMC RM9000, QED RM7000, Broadcom/Netlogic ec4400, Cavium Octeon I), Imperas (all MIPS32 and MIPS64 cores), VaST Systems (R3000, R4000), and CoWare (the MIPS4KE, MIPS24K, MIPS25Kf and MIPS34K).