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Q

Can you drive alone with your driver's permit in the state of New York?


A

No, you cannot drive alone with just a learner's (driver's) permit in the state of New York. You need a supervising driver with you in the front seat if you are going to be driving in New York. Most all states have this same restriction unless you have a farm driving permit or something of that nature, which is not something offered in the state of New York.

The new driver's brochure that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) puts out has information on the restrictions and conditions for those with learner's permits and junior permits and licenses in NYS. This informational document gives the general rules for all drivers with learner permits. Here it states that no matter what age you are, if you hold a learner permit, you may not drive:

  • Unless accompanied by a supervising driver at least age 21 who has a license valid for operating the vehicle you are driving. For example, only a person with a motorcycle license may supervise a motorcycle learner.
  • In a DMV road test area.
  • On any street within a park in New York City, or any bridge or tunnel under the jurisdiction of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.
  • On the Cross County, Hutchinson River, Saw Mill River, or Taconic State parkways in Westchester County.

So, once again we will reiterate you are NOT allowed drive alone with a NYS learner's permit according to the restrictions on this type of graduated license. Also if you hold a learner permit, junior permit, or junior driver license from outside New York State, you must obey the restrictions NYS places on their permit and junior drivers, in addition to those from your home state.

To drive with a learner's permit you must have in the front seat with you a supervising driver of at least 21 years of age who has a valid full driver's license whether your permit is from New York or out of state. If you are under age 16, you may not drive in New York State even if you hold a permit or license issued outside the state.

For more information on the restrictions and conditions on a New York State learner's permit contact the NYS DMV directly. Keep in mind that if you do drive alone you may end up delaying your ability to obtain your driver's license. The penalties in New York for being ticketed for driving against your permit restrictions (unlicensed) depend upon the exact offense that you are cited for by law enforcement. Likely being found with just a permit and not a license would fall under Section 509 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Code where it says it is illegal to drive a vehicle in New York State unless the operator has a valid driver's license.

A violation of Section 509 of the NYS VTC is punishable by a fine of not less than $75 nor more than $300, or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both fine and jail time. The DMV could tell you more about the actual penalties for driving alone with only a permit, such as any delay in licensing it may cause.

Also as a permit holder you should be aware that your parents should inform their car insurance company about your licensing status. Most insurance companies' polices require the policy holder to notify the car insurance provider of any licensed driver in their household. According to the New York State Insurance Department, an insurer is permitted to consider all resident operators of an insured vehicle in rating of an auto insurance policy. This includes a child that only has their learner's permit.

Insurance companies in NYS are permitted to use classifications that reflect a possible exposure for liability on the part of the insurer, in the event that bodily injury or property damage occurs due to a child's operation of the vehicle. So to be properly covered when driving with your learner's permit your parents should notify their auto insurance company that you have your learner's permit and are starting to learn to drive.

Your parents and you can use CarInsurance.com when shopping around for affordable auto insurance rates. As a teenager your auto insurance will be higher due to your inexperience as a driver. Shopping around for inexpensive car insurance is important. We also have tips for teens about discounts to ask for and cars that are cheaper to insure.


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