Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

How does Pennsylvania's Graduated Driver Licensing work?

Vehicle crashes involving teen drivers are sadly frequent in Pennsylvania and are a leading cause of fatalities among young people. As a parent, you may help reduce the risk of your teen being in an accident by teaching and modeling safe driving techniques. The state's Graduated Driver Licensing program helps ensure your teen has adequate training and experience before he or she gets full legal driving privileges.

You may get information on each phase of the state's graduated licensing program for young drivers from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. According to PennDOT, the first stage is acquiring a learner's permit. Your teen may get his or her learner's permit at 16 years old after passing a written test, physical exam and vision screening. During this phase, you may help your teen learn how to drive responsibly. Your teen must accrue 65 hours of supervised driving before moving on to the next licensing phase. This number includes 10 required hours of night driving and five hours in poor weather conditions.

After completing the supervised driving hours and passing a road test, your teen may acquire a junior license. This is a restricted license with certain limitations. For example, your teen may not drive at night between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., though there may be exceptions for work or volunteer service. Additionally, this license limits the number of non-family passengers your teen may have in the car when he or she is driving.

Provided there are no driving violations while your teen has a learner's or junior license, he or she may get an unrestricted license at 18 years old. Under the state's Zero Tolerance Law, drunk driving may result in license suspension, fines and jail time at any phase of the graduated program.

This information on Pennsylvania's GDL program is general and intended for educational purposes; it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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