Understanding the Pennsylvania Graduated Driver’s License Program
Out of the 1,660 drivers who were involved in fatal traffic accident in 2014, about 124 were under the age of 20. In an effort to reduce the number of fatal crashes involving young drivers, the state adopted the Graduated Driver’s License program which gives you increasing responsibility as you gain experience and safe driving skills.
The program begins at age 16 by passing the written knowledge test for your Learner’s Permit. You will hold the permit for at least six months while you practice driving at least 65 hours, with ten hours of driving being done after sunset and five hours completed during inclement weather. While you are operating with a permit, you must also have a licensed driver over the age of 21 with you. This person must sit beside you in the passenger seat.
You can apply for your intermediate license at age 16-and-a-half, after you have acquired the mandatory experience hours. While operating on this restricted license, you are prohibited from driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless your driving supervisor is with you or you are driving to or from work or school.
You are also only permitted to have one passenger who is under the age of 18 in the vehicle unless they are immediate family member or your driving supervisor is with you. After six months, you can have up to three passengers under 18. However, if you have any driving violations or at-fault or partial fault crashes on your driving record, you will not be allowed to have the additional passengers.
At age 17-and-a-half, you are eligible for an unrestricted license if you have completed an approved drivers ed course and you have had the intermediate license for at least 12 months. If you do not complete a driver’s education, you will have to wait until you’re 18 for an unrestricted license.
Be aware, if you are partially or fully responsible for an accident of you are commit certain traffic violations, your license will be suspended up to 90-days. Your license can also be suspended if you receive 6 points on your record or if you drive 26 mph or more over a posted speed limit.