Assemblywoman Robinson Assemblywoman
Annette M. Robinson

Do you know the new driving laws?
Giving young drivers time to learn

The Assembly passed a new law allowing motorists under 18 to learn the rules of the road at a pace that ensures they are ready for this serious responsibility (Ch. 644 of 2002).

Starting in September, drivers under the age of 18 who receive a learnerís permit will be required to hold the permit for a minimum of six months and obtain 20 supervised hours before they would be eligible to take a road test and obtain a junior license.

Other regulations, which apply to all drivers under 18, will:

  • Allow only two passengers who are not immediate family members unless the young driver is accompanied by a parent, guardian, driverís education teacher, or driving instructor;
  • Suspend a graduated license upon a serious violation, and revoke it upon a second serious violation within six months of the first; and
  • Require the driver and all passengers to use seatbelts and/or child safety seats.

The law also creates a "limited class" junior license, which is available prior to the end of the six month holding period, allowing young drivers to drive to and from school, work, day care and medical appointments ó or anyplace if accompanied by a parent. The "limited class" license would not be valid in the city of New York, Long Island, or Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.

Getting drunk drivers off our streets

Intoxicated drivers kill hundreds of New Yorkers each year. To curb drunk driving and save lives, the Assembly passed a law lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level from .10 percent to .08 percent (Ch. 3 of 2002) as of July 1, 2003 (Ch. 62 of 2003).

Taking no chances with teen drinking and driving

The Assembly passed Seanís Law allowing a judge to suspend a learnerís permit or junior license immediately after a minorís first court appearance for Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired ó rather than waiting until after the arraignment. It also requires the court to more quickly notify a parent or guardian of a minor arrested for DWI or DWAI (Ch. 571 of 2002).

The law, which took effect in December of 2002, is named for 17-year-old Sean Patrick French, who was killed in a car accident in which another 17-year-old was charged with drunk driving. The driver was already awaiting arraignment on a DWAI charge from just two weeks earlier.

Keeping pedestrians safe

Prior law only required motorists to yield for a pedestrian in a cross walk if they were both on the same side of the street, or close enough that the pedestrian would be endangered. This situation, which was often complicated and confusing, resulted in many accidents and injuries for pedestrians. The Assembly passed a new law requiring drivers to slow down or stop for pedestrians in any part of a crosswalk ó simplifying the law for everyone (Ch. 159 of 2002).

Annette M. Robinson
Helping you stay safe on the road

Assemblywoman Annette M. Robinson
1360 Fulton Street, Room 417 • Brooklyn • New York 11216
(718) 399-7630