A major milestone in many teenagers’ lives is obtaining their driver’s licenses. However, there are several steps they take beforehand, such as taking education courses, obtaining a learner’s permit, and meeting the necessary adult-supervised driving hours. However, car accidents are the leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 16 and 24.

The driving requirements for teens in Western PA varies depending on the adolescent’s age. To better understand these state mandates for novice drivers, you may wish to speak with an experienced adolescent driver accident attorney.

Defining Novice Drivers

A “novice” driver is not defined by Pennsylvania law as being any particular age. One may be considered a novice driver if he or she has minimal experience with driving. Some people reach middle age without ever having driven a vehicle, and would therefore be considered a novice. Most novice drivers either have their learner’s permit, or if he or she is under the age of 18, he or she may have a junior license.

What Age is a Person Eligible to Start Driving in Western PA?

In Western Pennsylvania, young people must be at least 16 years old to get their learner’s permit. There are certain requirements that must be fulfilled during the period in which one has a learner’s permit.  A permittee must also pass a road test and a knowledge test that judges a novice driver’s knowledge of the rules of the road, traffic signals, and how to operate a vehicle. Once a permittee passes those tests, he or she can apply for a driver’s license.


An individual may begin driving prior to turning 16 years old if he or she has a license from out-of-state from an area with different requirements for drivers. Teenagers from out-of-state may drive in Pennsylvania as long as they satisfy their own state’s licensing requirements, which may be more relaxed than those in Western, PA. Otherwise, individuals in Pennsylvania may not drive before the age of 16.

Driver’s Education Course

Participation in a driver’s education course and obtaining a learner’s permit typically occur simultaneously, and often before novice drivers take the formal license and knowledge exam to become a fully licensed driver. Driver’s education courses and learner’s permits prepare new drivers for the knowledge and road test, which drivers must pass in order to obtain their license. However, Pennsylvania does not require that one take a driver’s education course in order to obtain a driver’s license.

Teen Driver Learner’s Permit Requirements

Novice drivers have certain training requirements to fulfill before they can apply and be tested for their permanent license in Western PA. They must possess a learner’s permit for at least 6 months prior to taking the driving test.  During that time, they must experience at least 65 hours of adult-supervised driving, which includes no less than 10 hours of nighttime driving, and 5 hours of bad weather driving. That means, when teens turn 16, they must complete the 65 hours of adult-supervised skill building, and wait at least 6 months until being eligible to take their driving test.

How Long Must Teenagers Have a Valid Driver’s License Before They Have Full Driving Privileges?

A young driver, under 18 years of age, cannot operate a vehicle between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., except for travel relating to employment or for volunteer or charitable service, documentation of which is required.  A young driver can also only transport one non-family member who is under the age of 18, unless a parent is in the vehicle.  After having a junior license for 6 months, this restriction is relaxed, such that the driver can haul up to three non-family members who are under age 18.  Novice and adolescent drivers are granted full driving privileges upon turning 18 years old.

Discuss Teen Driver Requirements with a Western PA Attorney

Depending on the age of your teen, driver requirements in Western PA vary. There are harsher restrictions an adolescent driver must follow if he or she is under 18 years of age. Additionally, while driver’s education courses are not required in Pennsylvania, they are highly encouraged as they provide much need knowledge and experience to novice motorists.

If you have further questions regarding driving requirements for teenagers, contact the office of Marcus & Mack. Our experienced attorneys could provide answers to all your questions during a free case consultation.

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Marcus & Mack
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