New York Driver Licensing Law

Obtaining a New York Learner's Permit

The first step in obtaining a New York driver's license is applying for a Learner's Permit. Individuals must be 16 years old to apply and if under 18, a parent or legal guardian will have to give their consent.

In preparing, applicants must read the New York Driver's Manual. This can be found online or at a DMV office. All teens are required to pass a written test in order to qualify for the Learner's Permit or supply a form proving completion of a state-approved driver education course.

Parents of New York teens can monitor their child's driving record with the Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS) from the DMV. This program will notify the parent if certain incidents appear on their teen's driving record, such as: tickets, traffic violation convictions, license suspensions, and certain accidents.

When applying for the permit, the following are required:

  • Proof of identity and date of birth
  • Social Security card
  • A vision exam

Once the permit is issued, holders may not drive unless supervised by an adult, 21 or older, with a valid license. Permit holders may only drive between 5AM and 9PM. Specifically, permit holders are prohibited from driving within New York City and all bridges or tunnels under the jurisdiction of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority as well as the Cross Country, Hutchinson River, Saw Mill River, or Taconic State parkways in Westchester County.

It is recommended that permit holders practice driving for 50 hours with a supervisor prior to taking the driving test. Fifteen of the hours should be at night, and ten should be in moderate to heavy traffic.

Obtaining a Junior License

When a driver has held a junior permit for a minimum of six months, he will be allowed to take a road test. If he passes the road test before turning 18 he will be issued a junior license with the following restrictions:

  • May not drive with more than one passenger under age 21 unless the passengers are members of his immediately family, or if accompanied by his licensed parent/guardian, person "in loco parentis," driver education teacher, or driving school instructor
  • Driver and each passenger must wear a seat belt
  • A junior license will be suspended for 60 days if the driver is convicted of committing a serious traffic violation (generally three points or more) or two other violations while holding a junior license
  • A junior license will be revoked for 60 days if driver is convicted of a serious violation (generally three points or more) or two other violations within the first six months after receiving privileges back following suspension or revocation

Obtaining a Class D Senior License

After completing a high school or college driver education course, drivers may change their license to a Class D senior license, as long as they are 17 years old. To change the license, permit holders must file the appropriate driver education certificate with the DMV. If the form is not submitted, the class of the license will change automatically upon the license holder's 18th birthday.

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