Tom Corbett, Governor Barry J. Schoch, P.E., Secretary, Department of Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions About the Licensing Requirements for Young Drivers

The Young Driver Law

What are the licensing requirements for young drivers?

The Learner's Permit

How is a Learner's Permit obtained?

What if a teen wants or needs to practice on his or her learner's permit longer than one year?

If a teen has a learner's permit from another state, can he or she take the road test to obtain a license in Pennsylvania?

What is the process for parents/guardians to certify that their young driver completed at least 50 hours of adult-supervised time behind the wheel? What if the young driver has taken driver's education?

Once a 16- or 17-year-old gets a learner's permit, can he or she practice driving with a 21-year-old friend, relative or neighbor?

Can a young driver get a motorcycle license (as opposed to an automobile/passenger vehicle license) without having to hold the permit for six months or complete 50 hours of adult-supervised on- road experience?

Under what circumstances will PennDOT waive the 50-hour training requirement?

Can a sibling under 21 supervise a young driver's on-road practice?

How will young drivers who are issued a permit know when they are eligible to take the on-road skills test?

Where can I get the Parent or Guardian Certification Form (DL-180C)?

Because 16- and 17-year-old permit holders are required to complete 50 hours of adult-supervised practice, what guidance is available to the supervising adults to ensure that they are covering a wide variety of driving situations and conditions that will prepare the young driver for safe, independent driving in the future?

How do I schedule an appointment to take the skills portion of my driver's test?

Can I schedule the road portion of my driver's test if I have not yet completed the young driver six-month waiting requirement?

The Junior Driver's License

What licensing requirements apply to junior license holders?

Can junior license holders drive after 11 p.m. if they have a job that requires them to travel or return home after that hour?

Is a junior license holder able to obtain his/her full, unrestricted license before the age of 18?

Does everyone under the age of 18 have to get parent or guardian consent to get a license? Can only a parent give consent to drive?

General Questions

How long do permit holders, who are 18 years of age or older, have to wait after getting a learner's permit to take their road skills test?

Can 16 year olds having a Class C (non-commercial) junior license apply for a learner's permit for a motorcycle license?

What are the requirements for emancipated minors? Does an adult still have to certify that the 50-hour skill-building requirement?

What is the penalty for driving after 11 p.m. on a junior license?

What is the penalty for a driver under 18 carrying more passengers than seatbelts available in the vehicle?

How does the Young Driver Law affect the End-of-Course Skills Test Program?

Are there any additional tools available to help young drivers prepare for their driver's test?

The Young Driver Law

What are the licensing requirements for young drivers?

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On August 24, 1999, the following provisions became effective for all 16- and 17-year-old drivers:

  • Those with learnerís permits or junior driverís licenses are restricted from driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse who is a licensed driver and is at least 18 years of age.
  • For all drivers under age 18, the number of passengers must not exceed the number of seat belts in a vehicle.

Other requirements became effective on December 22, 1999.

  • Learner's Permit holders are required to complete a six-month skill- building period before taking the on-road skills test.
  • A parent or guardian must certify that his or her young driver has completed at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice supervised by adult(s) age 21 or older (or a parent, guardian, person officially designated in loco parentis or spouse at least 18 years of age). All 50 hours need not be supervised by the same adult.
  • All permit holders must be supervised by an adult 21 years old or older (or a parent, guardian, person officially designated in loco parentis or spouse at least 18 years of age).
  • Any permit holder under age 18 is subject to a mandatory 90-day license suspension if he or she accumulates six or more points or is convicted of a single high-speed violation (driving 26 miles per hour or more over the speed limit).

The Learner's Permit

How is a Learner's Permit obtained?

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The PA Driver's Manual contains all of the information you need to know about obtaining a learner's permit.

What if a teen wants or needs to practice on his or her learner's permit longer than one year?

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A learner's permit is valid for one year. After one year, the learner's permit can be renewed for another year for a fee of $5.00.

If a teen has a learner's permit from another state, can he or she take the road test to obtain a license in Pennsylvania?

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No, out-of-state learner's permits are not transferable. Drivers must successfully complete a physical examination, vision screening and knowledge test in this state before they can be issued a Pennsylvania learner's permit. Any licensing requirements in place at that time must then be met before a road test can be taken.

What is the process for parents/guardians to certify that their young driver completed at least 50 hours of adult-supervised time behind the wheel? What if the young driver has taken driver's education?

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When young drivers are issued a learner's permit, they will also receive a Parent/Guardian Certification Form (DL-180C), 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.

Every young driver who applies for a permit at a PennDOT Driver License Center will also receive a copy of our tutor's guide, "How to Steer Them to Safe Driving." 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.

If a young driver has taken a PennDOT-approved driver's education course, part of the class may have included at least six hours of behind- the-wheel practice supervised by an instructor. These six hours can be credited toward the 50-hour requirement; however, driver's education in the classroom is not a substitute for supervised behind-the-wheel experience and does not count toward the required 50 hours. A young driver needs significant practice time to become a safe, skilled driver. The Young Driver Law provides for this crucial training time in the form of 50 on-road practice hours accumulated over at least a six-month period.

Once a 16- or 17-year-old gets a learner's permit, can he or she practice driving with a 21-year-old friend, relative or neighbor?

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Yes, but ultimately the parent or guardian of the young driver is still responsible for assuring 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice has taken place under the direct supervision of responsible, experienced driver(s) age 21 or older.

Can a young driver get a motorcycle license (as opposed to an automobile/passenger vehicle license) without having to hold the permit for six months or complete 50 hours of adult-supervised on- road experience?

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No. The six-month waiting period and the 50 hours of skill-building practice still apply. Please note that the six-months/50 hours of skill building are required for each type of permit a young driver acquires, even if he or she has already met those requirements for another type of permit.

Under what circumstances will PennDOT waive the 50-hour training requirement?

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For drivers under the age of 18, there are no circumstances where the 50 hours of practice can be waived. Young drivers need at least 50 hours of skill building to develop even the most basic, safe driving skills.

Can a sibling under 21 supervise a young driver's on-road practice?

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No. The supervising adult must be at least 21 years of age. The only rare exception is that young drivers may also be supervised by a parent, guardian, person officially designated in loco parentis or spouse at least 18 years of age.

How will young drivers who are issued a permit know when they are eligible to take the on-road skills test?

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The test eligibility date is printed on the learner's permit.

Where can I get the Parent or Guardian Certification Form (DL- 180C)?

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You can download this form online.

Because 16- and 17-year-old permit holders are required to complete 50 hours of adult-supervised practice, what guidance is available to the supervising adults to ensure that they are covering a wide variety of driving situations and conditions that will prepare the young driver for safe, independent driving in the future?

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Every young driver who applies for a permit at a PennDOT Driver License Center will receive a copy of our tutor's guide, "How to Steer Them to Safe Driving." This publication guides tutors in organizing time spent supervising young drivers during their 50 hours of on-road practice. It is a collection of lesson plans designed to run the gamut of driving experiences. This guide is not a replacement for the Pennsylvania Driver's Manual, but a companion piece that references the chapter in the Driver's Manual central to each lesson. A driving log is also included in the tutor's guide to help track all driving activity.

How do I schedule an appointment to take the skills portion of my driver's test?

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You can schedule your exam online.

Can I schedule the road portion of my driver's test if I have not yet completed the young driver six-month waiting requirement?

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Yes. You can schedule your appointment in advance, but online scheduling services will not allow you to schedule an appointment date that falls before the six-month required practice period.

The Junior Driver's License

What licensing requirements apply to junior license holders?

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The following requirements apply to all 16- and 17-year-old junior license holders:

  • All junior driverís license holders are restricted from driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse who is a licensed driver and is at least 18 years of age.
  • 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.

Can junior license holders drive after 11 p.m. if they have a job that requires them to travel or return home after that hour?

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Yes, provided the junior driver has a certificate of authorization or affidavit from his or her employer documenting the work schedule. Junior drivers should keep this documentation with them at all times. This exception to the nighttime driving restriction also applies to teens involved in fire fighting or volunteer, charitable service, who must also carry the same type of documentation.

Is a junior license holder able to obtain his/her full, unrestricted license before the age of 18?

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Yes. The earliest age that young drivers can qualify is 17 Ĺ. 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.

Does everyone under the age of 18 have to get parent or guardian consent to get a license? Can only a parent give consent to drive?

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Individuals under age 18 must get the consent of a parent, official guardian, person officially designated as acting in loco parentis or a spouse age 18 or older to get a driver's license.

General Questions

How long do permit holders, who are 18 years of age or older, have to wait after getting a learner's permit to take their road skills test?

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Although the requirements do not apply to drivers 18 and older, PennDOT encourages all new drivers to acquire as much behind-the-wheel experience as possible. This is paramount to safety. Research shows the most competent and safest drivers are those who have practiced extensively in a wide variety of driving and traffic conditions. It would be advisable to wait to take your road test until your driving skills are well developed and you have had extensive exposure to diverse situations. While not required for those 18 and over, completing six months of skill building and gaining at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience before taking the road test is a good rule of thumb for any new driver to follow.

Can 16 year olds having a Class C (non-commercial) junior license apply for a learner's permit for a motorcycle license?

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Yes. Please keep in mind, however, that although six months and 50 hours of skill building have been completed for the Class C junior license, an additional six months and 50 hours of skill building on the motorcycle permit must be completed prior to taking the road test for a motorcycle license.

What are the requirements for emancipated minors? Does an adult still have to certify that the 50-hour skill-building requirement?

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Emancipated minors must fulfill the same requirements that other young drivers under the age of 18 are required to meet. Emancipated minors are subject to the same provisions of the law affecting permit and junior license holders and must meet the same eligibility requirements for obtaining a full, unrestricted license before age 18.

What is the penalty for driving after 11 p.m. on a junior license?

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Upon conviction of violating the nighttime driving restriction, junior drivers are subject to a $25 fine and could receive two points on his or her driving record. The young driver would be responsible for paying this fine plus associated costs and fees. Also please keep in mind that, under the law, a junior driver is not eligible for an unrestricted license until he or she either:

  1. completes a state-approved driver's education course and maintains a crash-and conviction-free driving record for one year, or
  2. reaches the age of 18, whichever comes first. Therefore, being convicted of violating the nighttime driving restriction would severely limit a young driver's opportunity for obtaining a full, unrestricted license before his or her 18th birthday.

What is the penalty for a driver under 18 carrying more passengers than seatbelts available in the vehicle?

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Upon conviction, these drivers would be subject to a $10 fine. The young driver would be responsible for paying this fine plus associated costs and fees. Also please keep in mind that, under the law, a junior driver is not eligible for an unrestricted license until he or she either: 1) completes a state-approved driver's education course and maintains a crash- and conviction-free driving record for one year, or 2) reaches the age of 18, whichever comes first. Therefore, being convicted of violating the passenger restriction would severely limit a young driver's opportunity for obtaining a full, unrestricted license before his or her 18th birthday and may, in fact, make it impossible.

How does the Young Driver Law affect the End-of-Course Skills Test Program?

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The driver education instructor is not able to give the test until six months have elapsed and the student has completed the 50 hours of skills-building practice.

Are there any additional tools available to help young drivers prepare for their driver's test?

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Yes. PennDOT has developed an entertaining and educational web site called Crossroads. The site engages young drivers by providing driving situations that are familiar to teens and highlights factors that contribute to the problems that novice drivers face such as: driving rules, safe and unsafe driving practices, consequences of poor decision-making and carelessness. The home page provides users with a quick introduction to the characters that will lead them into situations with unique story lines, and a quiz accompanies each story to challenge the user's driving knowledge.

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