Getting a Pennsylvania (PA) Drivers Permit
The Pennsylvania Graduated Driver License program is a useful tool for allowing new drivers to slowly adapt to the habits of safe driving under Pennsylvania’s rules of the road. It grants increasing freedom and responsibilities as time passes and driving ability can be demonstrated under real life conditions.
The process starts as young as 16 years old with a Pennsylvania drivers permit, and extends up to age 18 when drivers can finally obtain a full unrestricted license. Out-of-state drivers who move to Pennsylvania will also be required to apply for a drivers permit if their license has been expired for six months. Unlike many other states, you aren’t legally required to take drivers education before applying for your permit. It is, however, still highly recommended for learning valuable information that will keep you safe while driving. Developing good driving habits while you are learning will also help keep you from getting a ticket – or worse, having your Pennsylvania license suspended.
Pennsylvania Drivers Permit Checklist
Sixteen-year-olds may apply for their drivers permit at any driver license center. The only requirements are the ability to pass a vision test and a written knowledge exam, proving you are both physically and mentally capable of being on the road safely. You can prepare for the written exam ahead of time by studying the Pennsylvania Driving Manual online.
You will also need to bring the following forms to complete the permit registration:
- Non-commercial drivers permit application
- Proof of residency (if over 18 years old)
- Parent or guardian consent form
- Social security card
- Proof if identity (passport, birth certificate, etc.)
Driving Restrictions for New Drivers
With a driving permit, you won’t yet be able to drive as if you had a full drivers license. In order to learn safe driving habits with real behind-the-wheel practice, you need to have a licensed Pennsylvania driver over the age of 21 with you in the front passenger seat at all times. You need to log at least 65 hours of driving with an older driver while you have your permit on a Parent or Guardian Certification form. Furthermore, at least 10 of these hours need to be at night, and at least five need to be during inclement weather. This log will have to be signed by a parent or guardian, and turned in when you apply for your license.
You will also not be allowed to drive with any other passengers in the care, with the exception of immediate family members. Driving errors made while driving on your license will be judged heavily. You will accumulate points for each violation, and as few as six points on your permit will lead to a 90-day suspension of your permit. You can get the same suspension even from a single serious violation, such as driving 26 mph or more over the posted speed limit.