New York Licensing Process for Teenage Drivers

New York Licensing Process for Teenage Drivers
New York has a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) policy in place which temporarily restricts high-risk driving
conditions for young drivers as a way of reducing teen accidents and deaths. GDL is a good thing because it
saves lives; the number of accidents decreased by over 60% in the first year the GDL program went into effect in
New York State. Here is the process a new teenage driver should follow to get their Driver Permit and License.
New York Driver
Licensing Process
Minimum Age
Learner Stage
Intermediate Stage
Fully Licensed Stage
16 years, 6 months
• Classroom
• Behind-the-Wheel
• Observation
DMV Requirements
Pass written test
Pass road test
Automatically Issued by
Learner Permit
Junior License
Senior License
5 Hours
50 Hours
Must be accompanied
by parent/guardian,
certified driving instructor
or other designated
adult driver at all times
1. No driving without a
between 9:00 PM
and 5:00 AM
2. No more than one
passenger younger
than 21 years old
No Restrictions
Step 1
Your child can get a Learner Permit once he/she turns 16 by passing a short written test administered by the
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Be sure to bring both your child’s birth certificate and social security
card to either the Peekskill or Yonkers DMV Office; the White Plains office does not process learner permits.
NY DMV phone number: (718)477- 4820
Step 2
In order to get a Junior License, your child must complete:
• Five hours of state-mandated classroom instruction offered through a commercial driving school
• Fifty hours of behind-the-wheel practice/instruction with a certified driving instructor, a parent or
another designation driver over the age of 21
Step 3
After having a permit for at least six months and completing the steps above, your child can take the road test
administered by the DMV. (This test is available at all three DMV offices in Westchester.)
Step 4
Once your child passes their road test, your child receives their Junior License which allows them to drive alone
or with others, with the following restrictions:
1. No driving between 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM without a parent or guardian in the car.
2. No more than one (1) passenger in the car who is younger than 21 years old.
These restrictions are designed to eliminate the two most dangerous situations that exponentially increase your
child’s risk of being killed in a car accident: driving late at night and driving with more than one friend in the car.
Step 5
At age 18, the driving restrictions are lifted and your child automatically receives a full license.
275 Purchase St., Rye, NY 10580
New York Licensing Process for Teenage Drivers
Full Licensure at Age 17
Most parents don’t realize that getting behind the wheel of a car is the most dangerous thing their
child may ever do. And the first year of driving is the riskiest. Six out of every 10 teenagers has an
accident within a year of getting their license. (Source: Crash Proof Your Kids)
Despite the fact that the number of accidents dropped 61% after New York adopted a GDL policy that
places restricts on drivers under the age of 18, some teenagers are still getting a full, unrestricted
license early. If a teenager takes Driver Education through a public or private high school, rather than
a commercial program, they become fully licensed at age 17.
Why is there an exception to the GDL law if it has been shown to reduce accidents and deaths?
The Department of Motor Vehicles only has jurisdiction over commercial driving schools. It does not
have jurisdiction over the curriculum that’s offered through the high school. The Department of
Education does. Keeping Driver’s Ed in high schools keeps Driver’s Education teachers employed.
What’s wrong with High School Driver Education?
The Driver Education program that is offered thru any private or public high school is made up of 24
hours of classroom instruction, 18 hours of backseat “observation” while another inexperienced
student is driving, and only six hours of supervised behind-the-wheel practice.
This approach was created as a national standard in 1948 and has been proven to have virtually no
impact on reducing teen car accidents and deaths. That’s why less than 30% of high schools in the
U.S. offer driver education anymore.
Is the curriculum that’s offered through a commercial program different from what’s offered in
High School?
Yes. If a teenager gets a license through a commercial driving school, they need to complete 50
hours of behind-the-wheel instruction with a parent or instructor and attend a five-hour pre-licensing
Is New York’s GDL loophole unusual?
Yes. New York State is ranked in the lowest 10% of states when it comes to the efficacy of its teen
driving laws. The federal government is trying to enforce a mandatory nationwide licensing law that
would move the threshold for unrestricted driver licensing to the age of 18. For more information on
this effort, go to
Our kids deserve better.
275 Purchase St., Rye, NY 10580