June 10, 2021

Teen Driving Laws in New York: What Every Teen Driver & Parent Should Know

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

Driver inexperience, along with related factors, contributes to most teen driving accidents in New York. According to the New York State Department of Health, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of unintentional deaths for teens aged 16 and 17. Many crashes are preventable if more teen drivers and their parents are familiar with New York statutes.

Important Teen Driving Laws in New York

While teen drivers must follow all motorist laws, some specific New York laws apply to teens.

Learner’s Permit

In New York, a 16-year-old can apply for a learner’s permit with their parent or guardian’s permission.

Other requirements for a New York State learner’s permit:

  • Applicant must show proof of residency, identification (such as a birth certificate), and a social security card.
  • Applicants must pass a vision exam and a written test.

Learner’s Permit Restrictions

Teens holding a driver’s permit may operate a vehicle with a licensed driver (at least age 21) in the car’s front seat. If the teen is driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., they must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or driver’s education instructor.

Learner’s permit holders may not allow more than one non-family member passenger under the age of 21 in their vehicle at a time. All occupants must wear seatbelts.

Junior License

After having a learner’s permit for six months (with no license suspension), a 16-year-old can apply for a junior driver’s license. A parent or guardian must sign the application form. Applicants must submit a signed driving log with at least 50 hours of supervised driving, with 15 hours of night driving.

To receive a junior license, the teen must complete a pre-licensing driver’s education course and pass a road driving test.

Junior License Restrictions

A driver with a junior license may drive unlimited hours in most of the state for work or school purposes with a parent or guardian. Junior license holders cannot drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in New York City, even with supervision.

Driver’s License

Teens who go through the process mentioned above may obtain an unrestricted license at age 17. Otherwise, a junior license is automatically graduated to a regular driver’s license when someone turns 18.

Insurance Requirements

Teen drivers, like any other driver in New York, are required to meet minimum insurance requirements.

New York requires teens to carry liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured coverage in the following amount:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 in property damage per accident
  • $50,000 in fatality coverage per person, $100,000 fatality coverage per accident
  • $50,000 in PIP for medical bills and lost pay, and $2,000 for funeral expenses

Uninsured driver insurance should match the limits of liability coverage for bodily injury and fatalities. Failure to have enough car insurance can result in fines, jail time, and license suspension.

Teen Driving Statistics in New York

Each year in New York State, teen drivers are involved in thousands of accidents that result in nearly 3,500 emergency department visits, with almost 200 hospitalizations and 16 fatalities.

The average length of hospitalization for an accident involving a teen driver is five days, costing more than $53,000 in medical bills. Many people don’t carry enough insurance to cover these costs, resulting in liability for parents or the vehicle owner.

In teen driving accidents, the most at-risk people are newly licensed teens, male teen drivers, passengers, and children riding with teen drivers.

Common Causes of Teen Driving Accidents

Several factors contribute to teen driving accidents:

Comparing Teen Drivers with Older Drivers

Although everyone is at risk of being in a car accident, some distinctions exist between new and experienced drivers. Let’s look at some causes for car accidents and see who had the highest percentage of accidents between younger and older drivers.

Unsafe Speed

Unsafe speed causes 21% of accidents involving teen drivers, compared to 10% for older drivers.

Driver Inexperience

Driver inexperience causes approximately 8% of all teen driver accidents. It causes less than 1% of crashes for people older than 25.

Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way

Failure to yield the right of way is another common cause of teen accidents, amounting to 6% of crashes for 16- and 17-year-olds. Failure to yield is a factor in just 3% of accidents involving other drivers.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving only accounts for 4% of teen accidents but causes 5% of crashes for other drivers.

Impaired Driving

Alcohol is only involved in about 1% of teen driver accidents. Impaired driving is the cause of 7% of accidents for other drivers.

Call a Car Accident Lawyer For Help After an Accident

Whether you are a teen involved in a crash or a teen hit you, you need to work with an attorney familiar with teen driving laws in New York. We know the statistics and understand how to investigate these cases. We will determine who caused the wreck and find evidence to support your claim.

Our New York car accident lawyers can file an insurance claim and handle all negotiations and communication with the insurance company. We can file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight to get you the compensation you deserve if necessary.

Call Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, PC today at (212) 490-5700 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.