General Information About the Graduated License Law (GDL)

For information about general restrictions that apply to all drivers of any age with learner permits, see Learner permit restrictions

For people under 18 years of age with junior learner permits or junior driver licenses, there are  additional regional restrictions to assist you in learning to drive safely.  If you have a junior learner permit or a junior driver license (Class DJ, MJ or DJMJ), the combination of the general learner permit restrictions and the regional restrictions govern where in New York State you can drive, the time of day you can drive, and in what other situations you are allowed to drive.

It is important for you to understand exactly which driving privileges you have and which privileges you do not have. You must answer the questions

  • where in New York State will I be driving?
  • do I have a junior learner permit or do I have a junior driver license?

Where will I be driving?

There are three geographic regions that govern driving privileges

  • Upstate New York, which is defined as any county north of the NYC border.
  • New York City, defined by the five Boroughs.
  • Long Island, which includes Nassau and Suffolk County

Map of Regions

 NYS map showing regional restrictions

Do I have a junior learner permit or a junior driver license?

  • junior learner permit generally allows a young driver to drive only while supervised
  • depending on the region in which you are driving, a junior driver license, may allow a young driver to drive unsupervised with certain restrictions.

NOTE: Failure to comply with the restrictions for where and when you can drive could result in your junior permit, license or driving privileges being suspended or revoked for 60 days.

Can I drive outside of New York State?

You may drive outside New York State with your NYS junior learner permit or junior driver license if it is allowed by the laws of the other state. You must obey the junior permit and license restrictions that apply in that state. Check with the police or motor vehicle authorities in the state you will visit.

Can I drive in New York State with a learner permit, junior learner or junior driver license from another state?

If you are under age 16, you cannot drive in New York State, even if you hold a permit or license issued by another state.

If you are age 16 or older and hold a learner permit, junior learner permit, or junior driver license from outside New York State, you must obey

  • any restrictions imposed by the state that issued your permit or driver license, and
  • the New York State general learner permit restrictions and, if you are under age 18,  the regional junior learner permit and junior driver license restrictions explained on these pages

Make sure your learner permit or driver license is valid to drive outside your home state before you drive in New York State.

To learn about the New York State  Graduated License Program and the regional restrictions, use the menu on the right.