Licensing & State Laws

Even though your teen is now licensed and driving alone, New Jersey’s multi-stage licensing process is still at work.

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.

Probationary License

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.

Full License

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.

A parent-teen driving agreement can help you enforce the 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.

For more information, visit the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

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.

  • Your teen should expect to present a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance.
  • Explain to your teen that it is important to always cooperate and be respectful when speaking with law enforcement.
  • Make sure your teen understands the importance of talking to you about any encounters with law enforcement, because it can create a learning experience.

If your teen breaks a law, gets a ticket or is involved in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance and the following consequences.

  • Fines
  • Suspended driving privileges
  • Points
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Court costs
  • Insurance premium increases