What Age Can You Take Driver's Ed in New York?

You’re about to turn 16 and, in most states in the U.S., that means you’ll be able to start the process of getting a driver’s license! It’s an exciting time for most teens.

In New York, there are two driver’s ed courses available to teens under the age of 18. But before you can start a driver’s ed course, you first need to get a learner’s license. At what age can you apply for a learner’s permit and start driver’s ed in New York? Here's the answer.

What Age Can You Get a Learner’s Permit?

In some states, teens can apply for a learner’s permit at age 14. In New York, the minimum age is 16. To get a learner’s permit, you’ll need to study the theory behind driver safety and understand New York’s traffic laws and rules of the road. 

Next, you’ll take the learner’s test at your local DMV. If you pass, you’re ready to move on to a driver’s ed course and one step closer to becoming a New York driver!

How Old Must You Be to Take a New York Driver’s Ed Course

To take a driver’s ed course in New York, you must be at least 16 years old. In New York, a driver’s ed course is mandatory for teens under 18. It is in line with the state’s graduated licensing program in which students under the age of 18 first acquire a junior driver’s license. When turning 18, you will receive full driving privileges.

There are two courses available to teens — a pre-licensing course and a comprehensive 48-hour driver’s ed course. The New York DMV accepts both course certificates when applying for your New York driver's license.

Pre-licensing Course

The pre-licensing course is a short five-hour course that covers basic driving principles, safety, road rules, and the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Pre-licensing courses are usually available at high schools, colleges, and most New York driving schools. Once you complete the course, you have one year to get your driver’s license.

New York Driver’s Ed Course

Your other option, and the one we recommend, is taking an online New York driver’s ed course. This course takes a more intensive approach to prepare you for driving on New York’s busy roads. While it won't satisfy New York's pre-licensing course requirement (meaning you'll still need to take that course), it goes far more in-depth with driving tips and tricks to help you stay safe on the road.

Why Driver’s Ed Is a Must for New York Teens Under 18

New York isn’t the easiest place to drive. Roads are often congested, and frustrated drivers can become agitated and reckless. Aggressive driving behavior like tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, and sharp braking can overwhelm a new driver. Being less experienced as a driver, the chances are high that you’ll make mistakes or misjudge situations and end up in a crash. A DMV-approved driver’s ed course will better prepare you to drive in New York. 

Find out more about our New York Online Driver’s Ed course here.

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