NJ Graduated Driver’s License Program

New driver's in New Jersey are generally required to obtain a special learner’s permit and be in good standing for six months.  You must be at least 16 years old to apply for this special permit.  They must take at least 6 hours of a remedial driver training course (behind the wheel training).  Once 17 years old, you can then  take NJ’s standard driving road test.  If they successfully pass this test they are permitted the use of a probationary license.  Unlike a regular driver’s license, this has certain restrictions, these include:

  • They may only drive with one other passenger under the age of 21, unless they are household members.  This is waived when accompanied by an parent / guardian, or if the passengers are the GDL driver’s children.
  • Cannot drive from 11:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M., except for emergencies, religious activities, and for work purposes. You must have written proof from the employer or religous organization to utilize this exception.
  • It is important to defend any tickets received while driving under a probationary license as if you receive more than 2 points, your license may suspend the license or take other action.  The prosecutor is also not allowed to plea bargain
  • Must place a GDL decal on their front and rear license plates.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What happens if I fail the road test to get my driver’s license?

You will have to wait at least another 2 weeks to take the test again.  If you fail 3 or more times, you may have to wait 6 months to take the test again. 

How old do I have to be to apply for a NJ driver’s permit / provisional license?

You have to be 16 years old to apply for the first time driver learners permit.  You must be 17 to apply for the license.

What skills are tested during the NJ road test?

The road test checks your ability to steer, reverse, stop, turn, sit, park, and yield to  on coming traffic.  The examiner will also be watching for your ability to stay calm and your ability to generally drive safely.  The test takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Why is only one passenger allowed on provisional licenses?

Studies have shown that young driver’s chance of being involved in an accident significantly increase the more and more passengers there are.  

How can I prepare for the tests?

There various books you can read on passing the tests and practice questions for the driving written exam.  As to the driving itself, you should sign up for a driving course, and practice as much as possible before taking the road test.

Why can’t GDL driver’s receive a no point ticket or make a plea bargain to a 97.2?

Under an Attorney General Directive, prosecutors are generally not supposed to downgrade tickets with points to no point tickets for Graduated Drivers License holders (Permit or Provisional License).  In addition, if such a driver accumulates greater than 2 points MUST complete a driver improvement course or their GDL will be suspended or their eligibility to graduate to the next level of license.  

What are some other requirements for Graduated Driver’s Licenses?

The license may be suspended by the chief administrator of the DMV if any motor vehicle law which is deemed to be “significant and applicable is violated.  Usually such people are required to attend an initial 4 hour remedial driver training course, but the license will be suspended, usually for 90 days, for any second such offense.

The driver may receive have their privileges suspended if they incur any alcohol related offense during the probationary period.  This includes offenses that having nothing to do with driving.  If the following motor vehicle tickets are charged against such a driver, the DMV can take further action, including suspensions above and beyond those given by the court:

Drunken Driving - N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a)

Refusal to Take a Breath Test - N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a

Vehicular Homicide - N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5

Assault by Auto - N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(c)

Leaving the Scene of an Accident - N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 - 

Alcoholic Consumption by Underage Driver - N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14

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