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Q

Can I get my driver's permit in Pennsylvania before I turn 16?


A

No, to the best of our knowledge you cannot obtain a learner's permit in Pennsylvania before the age of 16. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Driver and Vehicles services as well as the PA driver's manual both state that you must be 16 years of age or older in order to apply for a learner's permit.

When young drivers are issued a learner's permit, they will also receive a Parent/Guardian Certification Form, which is a form that documents the 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice. Young drivers must bring the completed certification form with them when they return to take the road portion of the driver licensing test (six months or more after obtaining their permit).

Even if a young driver does not return to the driver license center for the road test but instead takes an end-of-course skills test with his or her driver's education teacher, the young driver must still provide a completed Parent/Guardian Certification form to the teacher before a road test can be administered.

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Every young driver who applies for a permit at a PennDOT Driver License Center will also receive a copy of our tutor's guide. This guide tutors in organizing time spent supervising young drivers during their 50 hours of on-road practice. A driving log is included in the guide to help track all driving activity and to help parents and guardians determine when they can certify that their young driver has completed the minimum 50 adult-supervised hours on the road.

After a learner's permit the next step in the PA graduated driving program is the junior license. The following requirements apply to all 16- and 17-year-old junior license holders:

  • All junior drivers are restricted from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Second, there are mandatory sanctions against all high-risk drivers under the age of 18, regardless of whether they hold a permit, a junior license or an unrestricted license. A junior license holder's operating privileges will be suspended for 90 days if he or she accumulates six points or is convicted of a single high speed violation (26 miles per hour or more over the speed limit).
  • Third, all drivers under 18, regardless of the type of license they hold, must ensure the number of passengers in their vehicle does not exceed the number of seat belts.

The earliest age that young drivers can qualify for a full unrestricted driver's license in PA is 17 ½. These drivers must have held a junior driver's license for at least one full year, remained crash- and conviction-free, and completed a state-approved driver's education course to qualify for an unrestricted license before the age of 18.

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