Licensing & State Laws
Are you legally allowed to drive without supervision now? Learn more about New Hampshire’s three-stage licensing process.
At age 15 ½, you may practice driving when accompanied by a licensed driver who is seated in the front beside you. The licensed driver must be a certified driving instructor, parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult age 25 years or older. There is no actual learner’s permit or DMV application required.
Youth Operator License
At age 16, you can apply for a youth operator’s license if you have successfully completed the required driver education program and completed 40 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night. You must visit a local driver exam office with an application signed by a parent or guardian, an original birth certificate, one other form of legal identification, proof-of-residence and Social Security number. You must also pass a vision, written and road test.
- Keep track of your practice driving with New Hampshire’s Driving Log.
With a youth operator’s license, you may not drive between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. During the first 6 months of licensure, you are prohibited from driving with more than one passenger under age 25 (family members exempt) unless accompanied by a licensed responsible adult who is at least 25 years old.
At age 18, you are eligible for a full unrestricted license. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses.
Now is a good time to set up a parent-teen driving agreement to help you and your parents establish expectations related to both their rules and those of the state.
For more information on the licensing process, visit the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles.
When your parents aren’t in the car beside you, authority figures are still watching over you. State and local government agencies keep the roads safe for everyone by enforcing traffic laws.
Police enforce life-saving traffic laws related to seat belt use, drinking and driving, teen licensure and speeding, among others. If you violate those laws, you will be punished. Breaking the law can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.
- Expect to present your driver’s license, the vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
- Always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement, whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
- Talk to your parent about what happened.
If you get a ticket or are in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance and many unpleasant consequences.
- Suspended driving privileges
- Driver’s license points
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
- Insurance rate increases
The New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division Motor Vehicles (NH DMV) is in charge of licensing for all drivers. NH DMV keeps track of your license status and can suspend your license if you get too many tickets, don’t keep insurance on your car or commit other violations.
- StartSmart: Practice Driving – AAA’s tips for parents and teens about practice driving.
- StartSmart: Always Use Seat Belts – 63 percent of 16- to 20-year-olds who die in car crashes aren’t buckled up.
- StartSmart: Distractions and Driving – Read about the most common distractions, and get helpful advice for teens and parents.
- Parent-Teen Driving Agreement – Signing a formal agreement with your parent helps in multiple ways.
- Driver-ZED – Offered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Driver-ZED is a computer-based program to help you practice driving.