Teen Driver Safety

While New York’s Graduated License Law took effect in 2010, many parents are still unaware of the restrictions on drivers with learner permits and junior drivers under the age of 18.  The Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS) is a parental notification program made available by the Department of Motor Vehicles. It gives parents an important tool to monitor their teens’ driving behavior.  Click the link below to learn more and register for this service.  We have also included information about the Sheriff’s S.T.O.P.P.E.D. initiative. The acronym stands for Sheriffs Telling Our Parents & Promoting Educated Drivers.

Register to be notified if a change occurs on your child’s driver’s license record (TEENS)

Learn more about the Sheriff’s Office S.T.O.P.P.E.D. Program

A teenage driver is pictured holding car keys.

Key Provisions of New York State’s Graduated License Law

Parents are urged to check the New York State’s DMV webpage for more information.  Please also note that the laws vary in different counties throughout the State of New York. 

Vehicles operated by Junior Permit holders: 

No matter what age you are, if you hold a learner permit, you may not drive unless accompanied by a supervising driver age 21 or older who has a valid New York State license to operate the vehicle you are driving.

A Junior Permit must be held for a minimum of six months before a Junior License may be issued.

Junior Permit drivers must complete 50 hours of parent-certified supervised driving, with 15 of those hours required after sunset, prior to taking the road test.

All Junior Permit drivers must complete the minimum supervised driving time, regardless of completion of a certified driver education course.

The person who supervises a Permit holder’s driving must be at least age 21 and have a valid driver’s license. A “supervising driver” is defined as licensed parent, guardian, a person with expressed written permission to act in a parental supervising manner, a driver education teacher or a driving school instructor.

Additional provisions of the law effecting Permit holders: No front seat occupant except the supervising driver and every occupant must be properly restrained by a safety belt or child safety seat.

A permit holder cannot drive in Nassau and Suffolk Counties under any circumstances between the hours of 9 PM and 5 AM.

A Permit holder may not drive with more than one passenger under the age of 21 unless the passengers are members of their immediate family.  There are no restrictions on the number of back seat passengers if driving with individuals 21 and over, however there must be a supervising driver in the car at all times and the supervising adult is the only passenger that may ride in the front seat.

Vehicles operated by Junior License holders:

A Junior License holder may drive in Nassau and Suffolk counties between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. without a supervising driver only directly between their home and

  • employment (they must carry appropriate proof of employment)
  • a state-approved cooperative work-study educational program
  • an approved program for credit in a post-secondary institution
  • a state-approved registered evening high school
  • while engaged in farm employment
  • an approved driver education course

A Junior License holder may drive in Nassau and Suffolk counties between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. without a supervising driver only directly between their home and

  • a state-approved cooperative work-study educational program
  • an approved program for credit in a post-secondary institution
  • a state-approved registered evening high school
  • while engaged in farm employment
  • an approved driver education course

The person who supervises a Junior License holder’s driving must be at least age 21 and have a valid New York State driver’s license. A “supervising driver” is defined as licensed parent, guardian, a person with expressed written permission to act in a parental supervising manner, a driver education teacher or a driving school instructor.

When driving unsupervised to work, the Junior License holder must have in their possession a copy of form MV-58a  signed by their employer.  This documentation should be kept in the vehicle at all times. If driving to an approved education course, the Junior License holder should have a dated letter from their instructor, in their possession while driving, which states the days and hours of classes, and an address and phone number where the instructor may be contacted to verify class hours.

Additional provisions of the law effecting Junior License holders: No front seat occupant except the supervising driver and every occupant must be properly restrained by a safety belt or child safety seat.

A Junior License holder may not drive with more than one passenger under the age of 21 unless the passengers are members of their immediate family. 

There are no restrictions on the number of back seat passengers if driving with individuals 21 and over as long as the supervising driver is in vehicle.  The supervising adult is the only passenger that may ride in the front seat.

It is important to note that Junior License holders may not drive to their daytime high school or extracurricular activities at any time without supervision. There are exceptions noted above for evening high school programs. Furthermore, the law states that Junior License holders may not drive to work unsupervised between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Here are some other useful links for parents and young drivers:

The New York State Younger Driver Traffic Safety Tool-Kit 

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s “Parent Central” Webpage

Please Note: There are many new applications available to monitor your child’s texting behavior while behind the wheel.  Parents are urged to inquire about software availability provided by some major cellular phone companies.  More information may also be found online via web searches.  The Sheriff’s Office does not endorse any particular product, but these apps are becoming more advanced and parents may find them useful.