New Hampshire Graduated Drivers License
By now, most of the states around the country utilize some form of a graduated drivers license program and New Hampshire is no exception to this trend. However, the New Hampshire graduated drivers license program is somewhat different in the sense that it lacks one of the key stages of the program - a learners permit. According to the current graduated license law, anyone who reaches the age of 15 and ½ can practice driving with another licensed driver at least 25 years of age, without submitting to any testing at this point. Although the New Hampshire graduated license requirements are different from those utilizes by the majority of the states, they still include compulsory drivers education classes and a restricted drivers license stage for those under the age of 18.
First of all, let's take a look at the reasons that led to development of the graduated license program in New Hampshire. Driving is a dangerous matter and it becomes even more dangerous today, as the number of vehicle on public roads grows and traffic conditions become more and more congested. If you make a mistake, you can potentially harm other people on the road. That is why traffic safety becomes more and more important every year.
Inexperienced drivers who just received their New Hampshire drivers license is one of the biggest concerns for the state Division of Motor Vehicles. Lack of driving experience is one of the major causes of traffic accidents, since the driver simply does not have the skills required for dealing with complex on road situation. Unfortunately, there is no way to gain driving experience without getting out on the road and driving for countless hours, so the goal is to make these first hours of driving as safe as possible both for the licensee and other drivers on the road.
The situation is even more dire when it comes to teenage drivers. Statistics show that teen drivers are are much more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than drivers of any other age group. In fact, traffic accidents is a number one cause of death for people between 15 and 20 years of age and this fact cannot be explained just by the lack of driving experience. Many studies conducted on the subject show that teenagers are likely to overestimate their driving skills and are less likely to use safety precautions, so in the event of a traffic accident, they are more likely to get hurt.
The New Hampshire graduated driver's license system was developed in order to address these issues and to correct these behavioral flaws. The graduated drivers license system structures the licensing procedure for teenagers in a way that minimizes their chances of being involved in a traffic accident and creates a safer driving environment for them to polish their driving skills in.
New Hampshire Graduated License Stages
Dividing the licensing procedure into a number of separate steps as opposed to granting teenagers full driving privileges right away is one of the key mechanisms of the New Hampshire graduate license system. The applicant has to go through a number of intermediate stages, each one with its own requirements, before achieving a full drivers license. The current New Hampshire graduated drivers license system has the following stages:
- Practice driving with parents
- Restricted junior drivers license
- Full drivers license
One of the things that distinguishes the New Hampshire graduated license program from those in other states is that you are not required to hold any licensing documents in order to be able to practice driving. In all other states, you are required to obtain some kind of a learners permit and there is no such thing as a New Hampshire learners permit. If you want to start practicing driving, you just need to be of the legal age - 15 and ½, and have a licensed driver at least 25 years of age seated in the front seat next to you.
Please remember: the graduated drivers license laws apply only to those who apply for a license before the age of 18. If you are 18 years of age or older, you can ignore the New Hampshire graduate driver's license requirements.
Supervised Driving Stage
During this stage of the program, you are required to complete a New Hampshire drivers education course either through your high school or through one of the commercial driving schools. There is no way around the class, if you want to get your license before you turn 18, you have to take the class.
You must be at least 15 ½ years of age before you can enter this stage of the graduated license program. At this stage, you are allowed to operate a vehicle if there is another licensed driver at least 25 years of age seated next to you. You must carry proof of age with you at all times while driving, the supervising driver must have his drivers license in possession. During this stage, you must complete at least 20 hours of supervised driving.
Once you've completed a drivers education course and the required number of driving hours, you can visit one of the DMV offices where you will have to take a New Hampshire DMV written test and a driver skills test before you can proceed to the next stage of the program. If you would like to see what the DMV permit test is like, you can try taking a free New Hampshire practice permit test which covers the same rules as the real exam.
Please note that if you fail any portion of the exam, you will have to retake the whole exam another day and pay the testing fees again, so you should prepare well before you choose to visit the DMV.
Restricted Junior Drivers License
Once you fulfill the graduated license requirements of the previous stage and pass all examinations, you are awarded with a restricted junior license. Although this license allows you to drive without a supervising driver, it still comes with certain driving restrictions that you must observe at all times. The New Hampshire restricted drivers license has the following limitations:
- Curfew. There is a nighttime driving restriction that prohibits you to drive between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. If you need to travel during these hours, you must have a licensed driver at least 25 years of age supervise you.
- Passenger restrictions. For the first six months, no more than one passenger under the age of 25 who is not a member of driver's immediate family is allowed to be in the vehicle. Exceptions can be made only if a supervising driver is present.
- Seat belts. Safety belts must be worn by everyone present in the vehicle.
These restrictions must be observed at all times until you get a full unrestricted drivers license. You can read about the consequences of breaking the graduated license rules in the official New Hampshire DMV handbook.
New Hampshire Drivers License
A full drivers license can be achieved only once you fulfill all requirements of the New Hampshire graduated drivers license program. Once you have a full license, you don't need to observe any restrictions and can drive anytime anywhere.