New York Law Regarding Young Drivers

In an attempt to improve driver training and public safety, New York has enacted legislation that increases the amount of supervised training necessary for an individual to obtain a license and places new restrictions and penalties on young drivers. On February 22, 2010, New York State enacted changes to the Graduated Driver Licensing Law (GDL) as a way of improving teenage driver safety. This law is applicable to any driver in New York state under the age of 18, even if issued a valid out-of-state permit or license. The GDL established a three-stage licensing process: new drivers first earn a junior permit, then a junior license and, finally, a senior license. An article in the New York Law Journal from June 6, 2012 examines the types of licenses for new drivers, as well as the requirements and restrictions of each. Junior Permit Once a new driver turns 16 and completes the required written test, he or she may drive only when accompanied by a validly licensed supervising driver over the age of 21. – A driver may only have one passenger under the age of 21, unless they are members of the driver’s immediate family. – A driver may not drive on a street in a New York city park, any bridge or tunnel under the jurisdiction of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, or on the Cross County, Hutchinson River, Saw Mill River, or Taconic State parkways in Westchester County. – Once a driver has had a valid permit for six months and has completed 50 hours of supervised driving, of which a minimum of 15 must be after sunset, a road test can be scheduled. Regional Restrictions: – New York City: The subject vehicle is required to be equipped with a dual control/brake system. – New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties: The supervising driver must be a parent, guardian or driving instructor. New drivers are prohibited from driving between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. – Remainder of State: A new driver may drive with a supervising driver who is at least 21 between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. Between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. the supervising driver must be a parent, guardian or driving instructor. Junior License – If the new driver completes the driving hours and passes the road test, he or she will be issued a junior license. – A driver with a junior license may only have one passenger under the age of 21 in the motor vehicle, unless the passengers are members of the junior driver’s immediate family. This does not apply if the driver is accompanied by a licensed parent/guardian or driving instructor. Regional Restrictions: – New York City: Junior licensed drivers are not permitted to drive within the five boroughs. – Nassau and Suffolk counties: Junior licensed drivers are permitted to drive without a supervising driver if traveling directly between home and work or educational courses In the remainder of cases, junior licensed drivers may drive between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. with a supervising driver. – Remainder of State: A new driver may drive without a supervising driver between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. Between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., junior licensed drivers are permitted to drive without a supervising driver if traveling directly between home and employment or educational courses. Senior License Once a junior licensed driver has completed a state-approved driver education course and reached the age of 17, the driver can obtain a class D senior license. The driver simply brings the Certification of Completion (MV-285) to his or her local DMV and the restrictions discussed above will no longer apply. A junior license becomes a senior license once the driver reaches the age of 18. Additional Restrictions – Violations: The driver’s permit/license will be revoked for 60 days if its holder is convicted of one serious traffic violation or two other violations within the first six months after the license has been restored from a suspension or revocation. The 60 days following the passing of a road test is considered a “New Driver Probation” period. – Drinking and Driving: The Zero Tolerance Law makes it illegal for a driver under age 21 to have consumed any alcohol. The Child Passenger Protection Act (Leandra’s Law) makes it a class E felony to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, with a passenger under the age of 16. – Portable Electronic Devices: It is illegal for any driver to text using a portable electronic device while the vehicle is moving. In addition, drivers cannot operate a motor vehicle while wearing more than one earphone attached to an audio device. Violations and Negligence If a new driver is found to have been operating a vehicle in violation of the restriction that a supervising driver be present, it could be used to establish negligence on behalf of the offending driver. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicle provides a wealth of readily accessible guides and resources for new drivers, as well as guides for parents of new drivers, on its website at www.dmv.ny.gov. If you or a member of your family has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact us for a free appraisal.

Dear Friends and Clients,

In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP