Teen learning how to drive

Junior Driver’s License Restrictions in Upstate NY

What Are the Restrictions of a Junior License in NY?

In New York, a teen driver may apply for a junior driver’s license once they’ve had their learner’s permit for at least 6 months, completed a pre-licensing course, and fulfilled 50 hours of practice driving. A junior driver’s license is the last step before a teen can obtain a full, unrestricted license.

Teens with a junior driver’s license in Upstate New York must follow certain rules, or else their driving privileges may get jeopardized. Not to mention, these rules vary across the state, meaning the rules in one county may not apply to another county. Teens must consider the time of day when driving with a junior license, as rules that apply to the daytime may not apply to the nighttime.

See below for more information.

Daytime Driving with a Junior License in Upstate New York

Teens with a junior license (Class DJ, MY, or DJ/MJ) may drive in upstate New York from 5 am to 9 pm under the following circumstances:

  • Without a supervising driver.
  • With only one passenger under age 21 unless they are members of your immediate family. More than one passenger under 21 is allowed only if the supervising driver is the teen’s licensed parent, guardian, a person in a position of "in loco parentis," a driver education teacher, or a driving school instructor.
  • Every passenger wears a seat belt.
  • All children under 4 must ride in federally-approved child safety seats:
    • If the child is heavier than 40 pounds, they must use a proper child restraint system such as a booster seat.
    • Children must use a proper child restraint system until their 8th birthday.
    • Children taller than 4 feet, 9 inches can use a seat belt and shoulder harness.

Nighttime Driving Rules for Junior License Holders in Upstate NY

Teens with junior licenses face tighter restrictions at night. This makes sense, as nighttime driving can be more challenging and dangerous. As such, junior license holders may only drive without a supervising driver between their home and school and their home and place of employment. When driving directly from home to work, junior drivers must carry proof of employment.

In any circumstance besides the ones above, junior licensees may drive between 9 pm and 5 am under the direct supervision of their:

  • Parent.
  • Guardian.
  • A person "in loco parentis."
  • Driver education teacher or a driving school instructor.

It doesn’t stop there. Junior licensees must follow further rules, including:

  • The person supervising their driving be at least 21 and have a valid license for the vehicle being driven.
  • The supervising driver must be the only passenger in the front seat.
  • No more than one passenger under 21 is allowed unless the passengers are immediate family members. More than one passenger under 21 is allowed only if the supervising driver is the teen’s licensed parent, guardian, a person in a position of "in loco parentis," a driver education teacher, or a driving school instructor.
  • Every passenger wears a seat belt.
  • All children under 4 must ride in federally-approved child safety seats:
    • If the child is heavier than 40 pounds, they must use a proper child restraint system such as a booster seat.
    • Children must use a proper child restraint system until their 8th birthday.
    • Children taller than 4 feet, 9 inches can use a seat belt and shoulder harness.

Penalties for Traffic Violations Committed by Junior Drivers

With great power comes great responsibility, and when such responsibilities aren’t fulfilled, there are consequences. With this in mind, a junior license with get suspended for 60 days if a teen is convicted of one SERIOUS traffic violation or two other violations committed. For context, a serious traffic violation is typically one that carries 3 or more driver violation points.

Teens are known to be “glued” to the cellphones, even while driving. As such, a conviction for texting while driving will result in a 120-day junior license suspension. A second conviction within 6 months after the 120-suspension ends will result in the revocation of a Class DJ or MJ license of learner’s permit for at least 1 year.

Did your teen get a traffic ticket? Is their junior driver’s license at stake? Let us know so we can help form a plan of action on their behalf. Contact our firm at (212) 235-1525 today!

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