How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Car?

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While different states vary in rules and regulations, the legal age at which most drivers are able to drive a car in the United States is 16 years old. Most states have driver license restrictions that are maintained until the person is a legal adult at 18 years of age.

For example, in New Jersey, a driver may receive a permit at 16 years of age, and may have an examination and probationary driver’s license at 17 years old. The driver becomes eligible for an unrestricted adult driver’s license at 18 years of age. A learner’s permit comes with many restrictions. There must be a licensed adult over the age of 21 in the car with the student driver at all times. The driver must also complete driver education to move forward and be licensed. The driver’s car must have a reflective decal on its license plate, and the driver cannot drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

While laws differ by state, provisional or probationary driver licenses typically have the night driving restriction as well. Exceptions may be made if the young driver has to drive for work purposes. A probationary driver’s license must be held for 1 year in New Jersey before a driver is allowed to be unrestricted.