Teen driving laws in Pennsylvania are designed to move new drivers through three specific stages over 18 months. Beginning at age 16, teens can acquire a learner’s permit. Eventually, after completing specific milestones set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, they can obtain a full, unrestricted driver’s license as soon as age 17 ½.
New teen drivers in Pennsylvania will start with a learner’s permit, proceed to a junior license, and finally earn their unrestricted license. Each stage of the licensing process carries its own set of rules and requirements that must be followed. Failure to follow the state’s rules, of course, can result in delays obtaining a license or even denial of a driver’s license altogether.
Pennsylvania State Learner’s Permit
A learner’s permit can be obtained when a teen reaches 16 years of age. Anyone applying for a permit will have to successfully complete a knowledge test as well as physical and vision examinations. With a learner’s permit, new teen drivers can then begin to practice and develop their skills under the supervision of an experienced adult.
Specifications For A Pennsylvania Learner’s Permit
- Learner’s permits are valid for one year but can be extended if needed.
- A six month period of practice and skill-building is required before becoming eligible to take the road test for a junior license.
- The young driver must be accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 years of age or a licensed parent, guardian, or spouse over 18 years of age.
- A parent or guardian must certify that the young driver has completed at least 65 hours of practical, supervised experience including:
- At least ten hours of nighttime driving
- At least five hours of bad weather driving
- A teen with a learner’s permit may not drive between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am except for special cases of traveling for employment or charity/volunteer work.
- The number of passengers in the vehicle can not be more than the number of seatbelts available.
- A learner’s permit will be suspended for 90 days if the driver commits violations that result in the accumulation of more than 6 points or if convicted of driving more than 25 miles per hour of a posted speed limit.
Pennsylvania State Junior License
If all of the requirements for a Pennsylvania learner’s permit have been met and the driver has held the permit for at least six months, he or she can then take a road test to acquire a junior license.
Upon receiving a junior license the requirements to have an accompanying adult in the car are removed but several of the other restrictions remain in force.
Specifications For A Pennsylvania Junior License
- Drivers that accumulate 6 or more points or are convicted of driving more than 25 miles per hour of the speed limit will have their junior license suspended for 90 days.
- Drivers holding a junior license may not drive between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am unless they have proper documentation showing that they are driving for reasons of employment or charity/volunteer work.
- The number of passengers in the vehicle can not exceed the number of seat belts and everyone in the vehicle must be wearing a seat belt.
- For the first six months, someone holding a junior license may not carry more than one passenger under the age of 18 who is not an immediate family member unless a parent or guardian is in the vehicle.
- After six months, the limit is increased to no more than 3 passengers under the age of 18 unless a parent or guardian is present.
- The limit increase will not apply to a junior license holder that has been deemed fully or partially responsible for a crash or that has been convicted of any driving violation.
Pennsylvania State Unrestricted License
After holding a junior license for at least one year, and having met all previous requirements, young drivers can finally obtain an unrestricted driver’s license.
An unrestricted license will be available to teens when they turn 18. It is possible, however, to obtain an unrestricted license as early as the age of 17 and six months if the young driver has had no driving violations and completed a certified driver education program.
There are no nighttime or passenger restrictions on this type of license, but for those who do acquire an unrestricted license while under 18 years old, the following two stipulations will remain in force until they reach 18 years of age:
- The number of passengers in the vehicle may not exceed the number of seat belts.
- The young driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days if they accumulate more than five points or are convicted of driving more than 25 miles per hour over a posted speed limit.
Accidents Involving Teen Drivers In Pennsylvania
Teen drivers are a small minority on the road, but they are second only to drivers age 21 to 25 when it comes to their involvement in accidents across the state. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation statistics, in 2017, drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 were involved in 11.5% of all the crashes reported on Pennsylvania’s roads that year.
Whether you are a teen driver who’s had an accident or you’re an older driver who’s been involved in an accident with a teen driver, it’s important to consult with a knowledgable, qualified, and experienced attorney—especially if there have been injuries.
At Solnick & Associates, our personal injury attorneys are experienced in all types of Pennsylvania accident claims, including those involving teen drivers. We serve Jenkintown, Pennsylvania and its surrounding areas. You can contact us online anytime to schedule a free consultation or call (215) 481-9979.