New York Graduated Driver Licensing For Teen Drivers

Remember, even if your license is reinstated, you are still liable. You must keep your driving record spotless or risk losing your license. In addition, a suspended license has a significant monetary impact in the form of higher insurance rates. Consider taking a state-approved course to improve your driving record and your standing with your insurance company. This course can reduce your driving record points and earn you a mandatory insurance rate reduction.

What Is New York GDL?

The New York State Graduated Driver License Program restricts driving privileges for New York drivers under 18 who have a junior learners permit or a junior driver's license. Some of the restrictions imposed on young drivers include where they can drive in New York State and what times of day they can drive. Understanding the privileges and limitations is critical because young drivers' driving privileges may be suspended or revoked for 60 days if convicted of breaking the rules. In New York State, young drivers with learner permits and junior licenses face general restrictions. However, depending on the region of the state in which you live, there may be additional restrictions for young drivers.


The general restrictions for young drivers with a learner's permit are uniform across the state. When a teen reaches the age of 16, they are eligible to obtain a learner's permit. After six months of holding their learner's permit, they are eligible for their junior driver's license. Drivers with learner's permits are not permitted to drive:
  • On streets within New York City Park's
  • On bridges or through tunnels under the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority's jurisdiction
  • On the following parkways in Westchester County: Cross Country, Hutchinson River, Saw Mill Ricer, and Taconic State
  • On a DMV Road Test Area
  • Without a proper supervising driver
After holding their permit for at least six months, someone under 18 is eligible to take the road test and obtain their Junior Driver License. Drivers with a Junior License are not permitted to transport more than one passenger under 21. Only immediate family members are exempt from this rule. In New York State, young drivers must take a driver education course and complete 50 hours of supervised driving, 15 of which must take place after sunset, to obtain a Senior Driver License at the age of 17 rather than 18.

Restrictions Based on Region

In 2017, only 4% of all licensed drivers were under 25. Nonetheless, that same group accounted for 8% of the drivers involved in fatal and personal injury crashes. As a result, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") has implemented a graduated licensing program. After obtaining a permit, drivers under 18 may be eligible for a junior license (Class DJ). Certain restrictions may allow a young driver to drive unsupervised. It is critical to understand the restrictions because the junior license can be suspended or revoked. Depending on which state region they are driving in, New York State has different driving restrictions for young drivers. New York is divided into four regions, each with its own set of restrictions for young drivers.

Upstate New York

Upstate New York is defined as any location in a state other than New York City or Long Island. Between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., junior drivers are not required to have supervision. Unless the passengers are members of the driver's immediate family, only one passenger under 21 is permitted. The restriction on underage passengers is relaxed if a parent or guardian is present as a supervising driver in the car. There are additional restrictions after 9 p.m. and before 5 a.m. The driver is only permitted to drive unsupervised to and from work or school. Otherwise, a parent or guardian must accompany the child as a supervising driver. Unless the passengers are members of the driver's immediate family, the front seat passenger can only be the supervising driver, and only one passenger can be under 21.

New York City

A junior driver is not permitted to drive within the five boroughs of New York City or for any reason. Why? Even for an experienced driver, the roads of New York City are considered more complex and dangerous. However, it should be noted that if a driver is 17 years old and has completed a driver's education course, they can apply for a Class D full privilege license. The DMV recommends that people who want to drive in New York City wait until they are 18 years old to take their road test. This will give the driver more time to practice in a vehicle with dual brakes with a supervising driver.

Long Island

Long Island's restrictions fall somewhere between those of upstate New York and New York City. A junior driver on Long Island may drive without a supervising driver between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. only for the following purposes:
  • Employment
  • Work-study programs
  • College or other post-secondary classes
  • Evening high school
  • Farm employment
  • Driver's education course
They can also drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in many situations. A junior driver must have a supervising driver at all times. Unless the passengers are members of the driver's immediate family, the front seat passenger can only be the supervising driver, and only one passenger can be under 21.


If the junior driver is convicted of a serious traffic offense or two other violations, their driving privilege will be suspended for 60 days. If additional violations are committed within the first six months after the privilege to drive is restored, it will be revoked. Those with probationary licenses and those convicted of using a cellphone or texting while driving face additional penalties. Any driver can have their license suspended or revoked for reckless driving, passing a stopped school bus, or other traffic violations.