New York’s Teen Driver’s License and Insurance Requirements

by William Mattar | January 10th, 2020

Receiving a driver’s license in New York State takes more than just filing papers at the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are a teenager who’s getting ready to drive, there are several things to know.

Learner’s Permit

Teens in New York can apply for a learner’s permit at the age of 16. The permit application must be signed by a parent or guardian, and will include several items aimed at proving identity. Those items include proof of residency, a form of identification, and a social security card. When applying for a permit, the applicant must also pass an eye exam, and demonstrate knowledge relating to traffic signs, traffic laws, impaired driving, road-work zones and road rage.

Once a learner’s permit is issued, the permittee will only be allowed to drive under certain circumstances . For instance, the permittee is generally allowed to operate a vehicle only when a licensed adult over the age of 21 is in the front seat of the vehicle. A parent or guardian must supervise between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m, though a driving instructor can sometimes fill this role.

Exception to this rule can vary by region. For example, in New York City, the permittee must be supervised by a parent, guardian or driving instructor at all times, and the vehicle must have dual controls in it.

Permittees cannot have more than one non-family member under 21 in the car without a parent, guardian, or driving instructor, and, of course, everyone in the vehicle must be wearing a seatbelt.

Junior and Unrestricted License

A 16-year-old who holds a license or six months with no problems or suspensions can apply for a junior driver’s license. Like the learner’s permit, the application needs to be signed by a parent or guardian, and include a driving log showing at least 50 hours of driving time. Fifteen hours of nighttime driving must also be recorded. A pre-licensing course must be completed. After all of that, and with proper identification, the teen can take a driving test to earn a junior license. These licenses require parental consent, which can be revoked at any time.

The junior license provides more freedom to a teen driver, including exceptions to the 5 a.m.-to-9 p.m. restriction when driving for work or school obligations. Junior licensees can also drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. under the supervision of a parent or guardian.

An unrestricted license can be obtained at age 17, after completing driver’s education courses. A junior license can be upgraded to an unrestricted license when the holder turns 18.

Teen Drivers and Insurance

Teen drivers, as well as any drivers in New York, must have proper insurance, which includes bodily injury liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured coverage. If a teen is caught driving without insurance, the penalties can be harsh. For instance, failure to have valid insurance can result in a fine and jail time. The license can also be revoked, and the registration on the car will be suspended.

It’s vital to make sure everything is in place before a teen driver gets on the road.

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