New York Graduated Drivers License Program
Today, most of the states have graduated license programs that were designed to keep young drivers safe during their first years of driving. New York is no exception to this rule and the NYS graduated drivers license program features the same key elements as GDL programs of other states, such as mandatory drivers training programs, supervised driving hours and prolonged drivers permit holding periods. The New York graduated license program applies only to drivers under age of 18, so if you are already 18 years old, you may follow a simplified application procedure when trying to obtain your NY drivers license. Keep in mind that even though most of the GDL rules don't apply to you, you will still have to take the NYS permit test!
The main reason why the graduated license program was enacted in New York is the fact that teen drivers are much more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than their more seasoned counterparts. In fact, teen drivers have twice as many accidents per half the miles traveled when compared to older drivers. This means that they are four times more likely to have a traffic accident on any given day. The NYS DMV has conducted a number of studies that identify most of the common causes that lead to traffic accidents among teen drivers and the graduated drivers license rules are based on these studies.
Graduated Drivers License Stages
The New York state graduated drivers license program is divided into three distinct stages, each one with its own requirements that must be met before graduating to the next level. At the moment, the NYS graduated license program has the following stages:
Junior license (provisional drivers license)
Unrestricted drivers license
Although drivers license applicants who are already 18 years of age do not need to observe graduated license requirements, they still need to apply for a New York drivers permit before they can be issued with a full unrestricted license. Testing requirements are the same no matter how old the applicant is and passing a vision exam and a New York permit test is mandatory.
New York Learners Permit
Although you have to be at least 16 years of age in order to be able to receive a learners permit in New York, you can start the application procedure as soon as you turn 15. The first step of the process is learning the state driving rules, regulations and road signs. You can do so by either completing one of the New York driver's education programs or by reading the official NY drivers license manual. The book is a great study resouce and apart from providing you with a complete overview for the NYC gradiated driver license law, it specifically tells you everything you will be tested on during your permit exam. Most people can get through the test by reading the handbook and taking a free online NYS practice permit test. Make sure you don't settle for just one test, even if you get a great score on it! Take another DMV NY permit test practice quiz or an NYS drivers permit practice test to make sure you cover as many questions as possible before you hit the DMV office!
Once done with the book and practice tests, you can take a drivers permit test. Most teens do so through the DMV Online Knowledge Test Application (OKTA) program at one of the participating high schools. If you are unable to take the test at you high school, you can do so at a local DMV office.
Your NY graduated drivers license program does not stop there. When you are issued with a drivers permit, you can start practicing driving while being supervised by a drivers who holds a valid New York drivers license and is at least 21 years of age. In Long Island and New York City, the supervising driver must be your parent, legal guardian or a professional driving instructor. You must also observe all New York permit restrictions while driving.
According to the NYS graduated drivers license law, the permit must be held for at least six months. During these months, you must complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with your parents or legal guardians, 15 of these hours must be completed after sunset. The DMV strongly suggests that you spend at least 10 hours driving in moderate to heavy traffic conditions.
If you have not completed a drivers education class prior to applying for a drivers permit, you must take a 5-hour pre-licensing drivers safety course before you proceed to the next stage. The certificate of completion that you receive at the end of the class is valid for 12 months, if you do not receive a drivers license within this period, you will have to retake the course again.
New York Junior License
If you successfully met all of the requirements above, you are ready to proceed to the next level of the NYS graduated drivers license program. Call the DMV and schedule your New York drivers license test. When you pass the test, you will be issued with a provisional drivers license. Please note that you will have to observe all NY provisional license restrictions while operating under this type of license. Restrictions differ between various counties, thus, you are not allowed to drive on a junior license in New York City at all. Make sure you know all provisional license restrictions for the areas where you will be traveling.
These limitations must be observed for at least 12 months or until you turn 18, whichever comes first. Once this period is over, you graduate to the next level of the NYS graduated drivers license program and are granted a full unrestricted New York drivers license.