Teens are required to take a New York driver’s ed class because as a
group, they are known to be poor drivers. One reason teens have a poor
driving record overall is that they have not had enough time to develop
their driving skills. Practice makes perfect-and newly licensed teens
are far from practiced! Teenagers are more likely to take risks than
older, experienced drivers. They feel invincible, and that can
definitely cause trouble on the road.
In fact, between 2000 and 2006, data from the National Highway Safety
Traffic Association shows that there were 1,347 fatal crashes involving
teenage drivers in New York state alone. According to the Insurance
Highway Safety Institute, teens are involved in automobile accidents at
a rate that is 4 times higher than that of more experienced
drivers. The most deadly months for teens are June, July and
August, when they are out of school and driving more often. Perhaps
unsurprisingly, New York City is the worst area for teen drivers. Of
those 1,347 fatal crashes, 869 happened to teens in the New York City
In order to protect teens while they learn how to be safe, responsible
drivers, the New York DMV has a graduated licensing program in place.
Even after teens get their full New York driver’s licenses, they still
have some restrictions on when they can drive and who is allowed to be
in the car with them. For example, teens holding a “junior license”
cannot have more than 2 people under 21 with them in the car, unless
their parent, guardian or a driver’s ed instructor is also with them.
There are also restrictions on what times they are allowed to drive.
Permitted driving times vary from borough to borough, but generally
late-night/early morning hours are forbidden.
These restrictions are gradually removed as teens gain more experience
behind the wheel. In 6 months, a limited junior license is replaced by
a “full-use” junior license. Young drivers get their unrestricted
senior license at 17 if they completed a driver’s ed class in a high
school or college and at 18 if they only took the 5 hour pre-licensing