New Jersey Graduated License Program - NJ Graduated Drivers License Requirements
The state of New Jersey has one of the most unusual versions of the graduated drivers license program. Unlike similar programs in other states, the New Jersey graduate license program applies to drivers license applicants of all ages, not just teenagers who are under 18 years of age. Of course, the New Jersey graduated drivers license requirements vary depending on the age of the license applicant, but they still incorporate the same key stages.
NJ Graduated License Steps
The main reasoning behind the graduated drivers license program is that inexperienced drivers are much more likely to be involved in a traffic accident. Inexperienced drivers are frequently unable to cope with challenging on road situations, such as night time driving or driving in adverse weather conditions. Young drivers are also much more likely to be distracted by such things as cell phones or other peers present in the vehicle. The graduated license program addresses these issues with a number of restrictions that prevent drivers from driving in these challenging conditions and removes possible distractions from the vehicle.
The graduated license program also breaks down the licensing procedure into a number of separate steps. The main stages of the program are as following:
- Special learner's permit or Examination permit
- Provisional drivers license
- Full drivers license
The type of a New Jersey learners permit that you will receive depends on the age when you apply for it. Those who choose to apply for a permit before they turn 17 will be issued with a special learners permit which has additional requirements, such as completion of a 6 hour behind the wheel program. Completions of a drivers education class is not mandatory.
Learners Permit or Examination Permit
The minimum age when you can apply for a permit is 16. If you are under 17 years of age, you must already be enrolled in a behind thee wheel program prior to submitting the application to the MVC. No matter how old you are, you will need to take a New Jersey driver permit test at one of the Driver License Testing centers. Prepare for the knowledge exam by taking free practice permit tests.
Once you receive your permit, you can start practice your driving skills (note: if you received a special driver permit, it must be validated by the MVC first). You have to observe the following learners permit restrictions while practicing:
- Supervised driving only. You must have another licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age, currently holds a valid New Jersey drivers license and has at least 4 years of driving experience seated next to you while you practice driving.
- No cell phones. You can't use any electronic devices while driving.
- Seat belts. Everyone present in the vehicle must wear a safety belt.
- Curfew. No driving is allowed between 11:01p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Passenger restrictions. Only one passenger is allowed in the vehicle unless the supervising driver is the student's parent or legal guardian.
- Decals. You must display student decals on the vehicle's license plates.
Please note: if you are over 21 years of age, you don't have to observe the passenger or curfew restrictions.
Depending on your age, the graduated license law may require you to hold your learners permit for the following period:
- under 17 years of age - 6 months
- 17 to 21 years of age - 6 months
- 21 years old or older - 3 months
After this period, you may take the road skills exam and receive your provisional drivers license.
Provisional Driver License
Provisional license allows for unsupervised driving, but it still holds the same driving restrictions as the driver permit - you can't drive at night, the number of the passengers is limited to one, no cell phone usage and seat belts must be worn at all times. For the provisional license, the holding periods are as following:
- 17 to 21 years of age - 12 months
- 21 years old or older - 6 months
Once these requirements are met, you can apply for a full unrestricted drivers license. You can read more about the provisional drivers license in the official New Jersey driver manual.
The minimum age for applying for a full driver license in New Jersey is 18. By this time, you must have already completed all graduated drivers license stages and passed all required tests. Your full license does not have any of the graduated license restrictions and you may drive any time anywhere.