New Jersey uses a multi-stage licensing process for teens. This system allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time.
For drivers age 16 and up, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission offers a three phase process:
Special Learner’s Permit or Examination Permit
At age 16, teens may apply for a special learner’s permit in the state of New Jersey. Teens and their parent or guardian need to visit the local Motor Vehicle Commission office and bring required identification documents and proof of enrollment in a driver training course. Teens age 17 may apply for an examination permit without proof of enrollment in a driver training course. Teens must pass the written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test to receive a special learner’s permit or examination permit.
Upon completion of a driver training course, teens with a special learner’s permit may begin practice driving only when accompanied in the front seat by a driver age 21 or older who has been licensed in New Jersey for at least 3 years. Teens with an examination permit may begin practicing driving without completing a driver training course. Teens that are practicing driving are required to display the GDL decal in the vehicle. Teens may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (some exemptions granted). No more than one passenger other than parents, guardians and the permit holder’s dependents are allowed (in addition to the supervising driver). Teen drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts. In New Jersey, special learner’s permit, examination permit, and probationary license holders are banned from using any kind of wireless communication device while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices.
At age 17, teens that have held a special learner’s permit and been eligible for practice driving for at least 6 months without a suspension or postponement may apply for the probationary license. Examination permit holders may apply at age 18. To obtain the probationary license, teens must visit the Motor Vehicle Commission office and bring required identification documents. Once your teen passes a road test, a probationary license will be issued.
A probationary licensee may drive unsupervised, but must follow certain restrictions. The teen may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (some exceptions granted). Unless the probationary licensee is accompanied by a supervising parent or guardian, no more than one additional passenger (including siblings) is allowed besides parents, guardians, and dependents of the permit holder. Teens are required to display the GDL decal in the vehicle. Teen drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts. In New Jersey, special learner’s permit, examination permit, and probationary license holders are banned from using any kind of wireless communication device while driving, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices.
Teens that have held a probationary license for one year without any suspensions or postponements and are at least 18 may apply for a full driver license. Teens must visit their local Motor Vehicle Commission office and bring their probationary license and the required identification documents.
Consider using a parent-teen driving agreement to help enforce licensing rules that the state and your family set. An agreement helps you and your teen understand the rules of the road and sends a clear message that driving is an earned privilege that your family takes seriously.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is in charge of monitoring licensing for all drivers in the state. The MVC:
- Conducts the written exam and road test for the special learner’s permit, examination permit and probationary license.
- Provides study materials to help teens get ready for the exams.
- Keeps track of license status and can suspend a license if a driver gets too many tickets, doesn’t keep insurance on the car or commits other violations.