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New York Drivers Education

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To drive in New York, you need to be at least 16 years old and must apply for a New York driver license. This license will vary based on what you want to drive. There are several classes, such as D, which is what most people have, A, B, C, M, and E. D is the normal operating license, and JD is for operators under the age of 18.

Testing and Preparing to Drive

To get started, you should first get a learner permit. The learner permit can be used during supervised driving practice. To get this permit, you do need to pass a written test, which you can prepare for in advance. After this, you need to take a pre-licensing course or driver education course. Following this, and after passing a road test, you will receive an interim license. This allows you to drive until your license arrives in the mail approximately two weeks later.

Graduated Driver License

New York does use a graduated driver license program for those under the age of 18. This program places restrictions on drivers who have a junior learner permit or junior driver license. The restrictions depend on two things:
  • Where you plan on driving in the state
  • Whether you have a learner permit or license
Your privileges will change based on where you want to drive. In Upstate New York, New York City and Long Island, there are different requirements. Remember, the junior learner permit only allows someone under 18 to drive while supervised. The junior driver license may allow them to drive unsupervised under certain conditions.

Probationary Period for New Drivers

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles requires a probationary period for new drivers. During this time, the first six months after you pass the road test or in order to restore a revoked license, you’ll need to drive safely and within the law. If you make any mistakes within the probationary period, you’ll lose your license for 60 days. Some of the violations you could be convicted of that would cost you your license, at least temporarily, include:
  • Reckless driving
  • Racing
  • Tailgating
  • Using a portable electronic device while driving
  • Using a mobile telephone while driving
  • Any two other traffic violations
If you receive a suspension, then a new, six-month probationary period will start when the revocation ends. Remember, your first license is only valid for up to five years.

Defensive Driving Courses

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles has approved many accident prevention courses that help reduce points on your license after an offense or that can help lower your insurance premiums. Some course providers include:
  • New York Safety Program
  • American Safety
  • National Traffic Safety Institute
There are many other programs available as well, which can be found here on this list. These programs are approved as part of the Point and Insurance Reduction Program, or PIRP, which is also known as the Defensive Driving Course or Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Course.

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Last Verified:
Aug 26, 2022