What Is the Legal Driving Age In Pennsylvania? 

Getting their driver’s license is an exciting event that increases a teen’s independence and their need to behave with greater maturity. Pennsylvania uses a graduated driver’s license (GDL) program to help teens adapt to their new level of responsibility and stay safe. 

Motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death among teenagers in the U.S. The GDL allows young drivers to get more experience on the road before they are given the same driving privileges as adults. 

Getting a new driver’s license in PA includes three stages — the learner’s permit, the junior driver’s license, and the regular driver’s license. 

Learner’s Permit

You can apply for a learner’s permit at the age of 16. To start the process, visit your local PennDOT office in person to take the vision screening test and knowledge test. You can get a copy of the Pennsylvania driver’s manual online. The manual includes everything a new driver needs to pass the written exam. 

After completing the knowledge exam, you will need:

  • Your Social Security number
  • A completed consent form signed by a parent or guardian
  • A completed non-commercial learner’s permit application
  • Identification and proof of birth date
  • Two pieces of information that prove your residency
  • Credit or debit card, check, or money order to pay the $35.50 fee (no cash accepted)

Your learner’s permit will be valid for a year from the time it is received. If you are not ready to take the driving exam before the learner’s permit expires, you may apply for an extension. 

Young learner’s permit holders are not allowed to drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., and they must drive with a licensed parent or guardian. According to Pennsylvania law, every passenger must be in a seat belt. Seat belts help prevent injuries such as traumatic brain injury

Junior Driver’s License

Within six months after getting a learner’s permit, you are eligible to apply for a junior driver’s license. To apply, you must have completed 65 hours of driving practice, 10 of which should be completed at night and five in inclement weather. 

Schedule your PennDOT appointment and bring the following:

  • Proof of insurance and registration for the car you’re testing in
  • A completed parent/guardian consent form
  • The driver’s license of the driver who has been supervising you

Junior driver’s licenses also come with restrictions. You still cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless you have paperwork that exempts you from that restriction. You can drive only one underaged passenger (other than family members) without a licensed parent or guardian present. 

Senior Driver’s License

Once you have held a junior driver’s license for a year, you are eligible to apply for your senior driver’s license. A senior license is a full adult license without restrictions. 

To get your senior license, you must complete a driver’s education course and comply with the following:

  • Complete behind-the-wheel training courses
  • Have no at-fault car accidents in the previous 12 months
  • Have no driving violations in the previous 12 months

Once you meet the requirements, you will officially become a fully licensed driver with all the freedoms and obligations of other drivers. 

Enjoy Your Driving Privileges

Driving in Pennsylvania is a privilege, not a right. To keep your license, you must follow driving laws and conduct yourself as a responsible driver. Speeding, distracted driving, rage driving, and driving under the influence can cause serious injuries and may lead to your own or someone else’s wrongful death

Enjoy your new freedom, but remember the great responsibility that comes with your new Pennsylvania driver’s license. Contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:  

Marzzacco Niven & Associates – Harrisburg Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

Marzzacco Niven & Associates – York Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Marzzacco Niven & Associates – Wyomissing Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Marzzacco Niven & Associates – Chambersburg Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Marzzacco Niven & Associates – Carlisle Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Marzzacco Niven & Associates – Carbondale Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Marzzacco Niven & Associates – Lancaster Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Marzzacco Niven & Associates – Lebanon Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon
(717) 995-8963