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New Jersey License Options for First Time Drivers: The Early Bird

Guidelines for Getting an Early Bird License from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission

In the state of New Jersey, there are three different approaches drivers can take when trying to acquire their first driver’s license. The first of these three options is The Early Bird Option. The Early Bird Option is an approach set for the youngest of eligible drivers at 16 years of age. Acquiring a license through this method is a three-step process that includes a learner’s permit, supervised driving, and a basic driver’s license, all which we will outline based here on the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s guidelines.

Step 1: Acquiring a Student Learner’s Permit

The first step in acquiring a driver’s license through the Early Bird Option is to secure a student learner’s permit. First, the driver must pass the written knowledge exam, which is based on the information presented in the Motor Vehicle Commission’s Driver Manual, as well as a vision test. Once these two exams have been passed, the driver will need to present a primary ID, proof of enrollment, and a signed letter from a parent or guardian to a representative at a Motor Vehicle Commission Agency. At that time, the MVC representative will issue a student learner’s permit to the driving instructor and, after six hours of behind-the-wheel training, the learner’s permit will then be validated by the MVC Agency.

Step 2: Six Months of Supervised Driving

Before taking the final road test, the driver must complete six months of supervised driving. It is important to observe the driving restrictions during this period in order to qualify to take the test. First, a reflective decal must be placed on both the front and back license plates of any vehicle the driver may be operating. Additionally, the driver must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years of age or older and has had his or her license for a minimum of three years (this person must ride in the front seat during rides when the minor is driving). Drivers with a learners permit are not permitted to drive between the hours of 11:01 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. and may only have one additional passenger in the car with them aside from the licensed supervisor.

Step 3: Take the Final Road Test

After the six months of supervised driving has concluded, the driver will return to the MVC Agency in order to take his or her final driver’s road test. At this point, the driver must be at least 17 years of age and bring with them to the MVC Agency at least six points of identification as outlined on the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s website. At that time, the driver will complete the road test with a licensed driving instructor and, if the test is passed, he or she will receive a probationary license. This license will be valid for one year, with many of the same restrictions as the student learner’s permit. After one year, the driver will return to the MVC Agency in order to receive a full driver’s license.

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*Photo Courtesy of Anna via Creative Commons License