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Can a New Jersey probationary license holder drive in Pennsylvania?

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Question:  My son is 17 and has a New Jersey provisional driver's license.  He wants to drive to Pennsylvania. Does Pennsylvania have any restrictions regarding his driving in Pennsylvania?

Answer: The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) told us that minors with a probationary license (formerly known as provisional license) are allowed to drive out of state while those with only a New Jersey learner's permit cannot.

The MVC told to us that all driving restrictions stay with you even out of state. So if your son does drive out of New Jersey with a probationary license he will need to abide by the conditions associated with this type of graduated license.

According to the New Jersey MVC, a person with a graduated driver's license (GDL) must observe the following requirements and restrictions (effective May 1, 2010):

  • May not operate a motor vehicle after 11:01 p.m. and before 5:00 a.m.
  • May not use a hand-held or hands-free interactive, wireless communication device
  • Unless over age 21, GDL drivers may only drive with the following passengers:
  • Special Permit Holders:
    • Supervising driver who is over 21 and licensed to drive for at least three (3) years
    • Parent(s), guardian(s) or dependent(s)
    • One additional passenger unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Examination Permit Holders
    • Supervising driver who is over 21 and licensed to drive for at least three (3) years
    • Parent(s), guardian(s) or dependent(s)
    • One additional passenger unless accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • Probationary (formerly Provisional) License Holder
    • Parent(s), guardian(s) or dependent(s)
    • One additional passenger unless accompanied by a parent or guardian

According to New Jersey law, anyone holding a learner's permit, an examination permit or probationary license and fails to abide by any GDL restriction during operation of a vehicle is subject to a $100 fine for the violation.

While it may legal per New Jersey laws for your son to drive out of state, it doesn't mean that all other states will accept his New Jersey license type. So you should check with the Department of Motor Vehicles for any state(s) in which you plan on driving into to see if they first allow you to operate a vehicle in their state with your NJ provisional license and if they do if they place any additional restrictions on you beyond those from New Jersey you must abide by.

We contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) who told us that your son can drive in Pennsylvania with an out-of-state permit or junior license but you must follow the restrictions or conditions placed on him by his home state.

You cam contact PennDot yourself directly to discuss your son's New Jersey graduated license type and the restrictions the state has on him while operating a vehicle in Pennsylvania. 

Get information on teen auto insurance here. And remember before driving out of state with your son to make sure your state car insurance coverages will follow him.


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