Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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Driving Laws

Junior Driver's License

  • Any teenager age 16 or 17 may be issued a junior diver's license. A junior license prohibits a young driver from operating a vehicle on a public highway between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Exceptions are made for junior drivers who are members of a volunteer fire company or who have to travel later due to work. Also, under the junior license, the number of passengers in a vehicle may not exceed the number of seatbelts.  In the event of an accident under which the junior driver is partially or fully responsible, operating privileges may be suspended until the driver reaches 18 years of age or for no more than 90 days.
  • For a junior license driver to qualify for a full, unrestricted license, he or she must have had a junior license for a full year, remained crash and conviction free and have completed a state-approved driver's education course. 
  • If a junior licensed driver is caught violating the nighttime driving restriction, he or she is subject to a $25 fine plus up to two points on his or her driving record. If a junior licensed driver is caught violating the seatbelt restriction, he or she is subject to a $10 fine.

Learner's Permit

  • Any teenager with a learner's permit may not drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. The number of passengers in the car may not exceed the number of seat belts in the vehicle.
  • To be eligible for a road test, the driver must complete a mandatory six months of driving for skill building with a supervising adult after receiving his permit.
  • If the driver is convicted of a six-point violation on his or her license or for a single high-speed conviction (26 miles per hour or more over posted speed limit), the driver will be suspended for a mandatory 90 days.  
  • A learner's permit is valid for one year.

Unrestricted License

  • Once a driver has received his or her unrestricted license, he or she may not drive with more passengers than there are seatbelts in the car.
  • Individuals under the age of 18 are not eligible for an unrestricted license without the completion of an approved driver's education course and a crash- and conviction-free record for 12 months.

Seatbelt Law

  • Any child over four years old and under eight years must be secured in a seatbelt system.
  • Each driver and front passenger must wear a seat belt that is properly adjusted and fastened. A driver who is under 18 cannot operate a motor vehicle in which there are more passengers than seat belts.
  • The maximum fine for not using a seatbelt for children under age eight is $100 and for drivers and passengers over age eight the fine is $10. However, a driver or passenger cannot be cited for failure to wear a seatbelt unless they are convicted of another automobile violation at the same time.

Drunk Driving

  • A minor may not drive or operate a vehicle after drinking a sufficient amount of alcohol so that the alcohol concentration in his or her breath or blood is 0.02% or higher within two hours of operating a vehicle.