Driving Out of State With a Learner Permit

By: Staff Writer June 18, 2012
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From a learners permit holder's perspective, an extended road trip serves as the perfect setting for gaining valuable behind-the-wheel experience.

Think about it. There's nothing but open highways, limited traffic, quiet back roads, few, if any, dangerous intersections to negotiate, no friends around to see you discover the necessity of knowing which side of the vehicle has the gas cap...

Unfortunately, however, this perspective is not universally shared by authority - especially out-of-state authority. Depending on your state, your drivers permit may hold no value.

Different Driver Permit Restrictions

This is not a slam against you, but merely a difference in state laws regarding drivers with learner permits. The snag stems from age.

In Wyoming, for example, 14-year-old drivers are eligible to hold a drivers permit, while next door in Colorado, prospective teen drivers must wait until reaching 15. There are some states (hello, New York) that make teens wait until 16.

Most states are upfront about out-of-state driver permit holders. Oregon requires out-of-state drivers to be at least 15, New York requires them to be 16, and Nevada has no age restrictions, provided the operator holds a valid learner permit and is accompanied by a licensed driver.

How to Learn Other State's Driver Permit Laws

If you get pulled over while driving in a state that does not recognize your learners permit, chances are slim the citing officer will let you off by claiming, "I thought my drivers permit was valid everywhere." You'll then, depending on the ticket, jeopardize your driving privileges and slow the march towards obtaining a drivers license.

Thinking of Using Your Learners Permit Out of State

Don't guess. If you know you'll be driving out of state, do some research. You can check the state's driver permit requirements online, or call ahead and talk with someone from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Sheriff's Department, or Highway Patrol.

Have information about your state's policies regarding out-of-state driver permit holders? Share it with our online community by typing your insight below.

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