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This entry was published on 2022-04-29
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SECTION 501
Drivers' licenses and learners' permits
Vehicle & Traffic (VAT) CHAPTER 71, TITLE 5, ARTICLE 19
§ 501. Drivers' licenses and learners' permits. 1. The commissioner
shall issue classified drivers' licenses as provided in this article.
Any such license shall be valid only for the operation of the type of
vehicles specified for each such class of license but shall not be valid
for the operation of any type of vehicle for which an endorsement is
required by this section or regulations promulgated hereunder unless the
license contains such endorsement and shall be subject to any
restrictions contained thereon.

2. Driver license classifications, endorsements and restrictions and
exceptions. (a) License classifications. (i) Class A. Such license shall
be valid to operate any motor vehicle or any combination of vehicles
except it shall not be valid to operate a motorcycle other than a class
B or C limited use motorcycle.

(ii) Class B. Such license shall be valid to operate any vehicle or
combination of vehicles which may be operated with a class E license and
shall be valid to operate any motor vehicle or any such vehicle, other
than a tractor, towing a vehicle having a GVWR of not more than ten
thousand pounds and shall be valid to operate any altered motor vehicle
commonly referred to as a "stretch limousine" having a seating capacity
of nine or more passengers including the driver except it shall not be
valid to operate a motorcycle other than a class B or C limited use
motorcycle.

(iii) Class C. Such license shall be valid to operate any vehicle or
combination of vehicles which may be operated with a class E license and
shall be valid to operate any motor vehicle with a GVWR of not more than
twenty-six thousand pounds and any such vehicle towing another vehicle
with a GVWR of not more than ten thousand pounds except it shall not be
valid to operate a tractor or a motorcycle other than a class B or C
limited use motorcycle.

(iv) Class D. Such license shall be valid to operate any passenger or
limited use automobile or any truck with a GVWR of not more than
twenty-six thousand pounds or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a
GVWR of not more than ten thousand pounds, or any such vehicle towing
another vehicle with a GVWR of more than ten thousand pounds provided
such combination of vehicles has a GCWR of not more than twenty-six
thousand pounds, or any personal use vehicle with a GVWR of not more
than twenty-six thousand pounds or any such vehicle towing a vehicle
with a GVWR of not more than ten thousand pounds, except it shall not be
valid to operate a tractor, a motorcycle other than a class B or C
limited use motorcycle, a vehicle used to transport passengers for hire
or for which a hazardous materials endorsement is required, or a vehicle
defined as a bus in subdivision one of section five hundred nine-a of
this title. Such license also shall be valid to operate a three-wheeled
motor vehicle that has two wheels situated in the front and one wheel in
the rear, has a steering mechanism and seating which does not require
the operator to straddle or sit astride, is equipped with safety belts
for all occupants and is manufactured to comply with federal motor
vehicle safety standards for motorcycles including, but not limited to,
49 C.F.R. part 571.

(v) Class E. Such license shall be valid to operate only vehicles
which may be operated with a class D license, except that in addition it
shall be valid to operate any such motor vehicle, other than a vehicle
defined as a bus in subdivision one of section five hundred nine-a of
this chapter, used to transport up to fourteen passengers for hire and
other than an altered motor vehicle commonly referred to as a "stretch
limousine" having a seating capacity of nine or more passengers
including the driver.

(vi) Class DJ. Such license shall be valid to operate only vehicles
which may be operated with a class D license by a person under eighteen
years of age, except it shall not be valid to operate a motor vehicle
with an unladen weight or a GVWR of more than ten thousand pounds or any
motor vehicle towing another vehicle with an unladen weight or GVWR of
more than three thousand pounds. Such license shall automatically become
a class D license when the holder becomes eighteen years of age.

(vii) Class M. Such license shall be valid to operate any motorcycle,
or any motorcycle, other than a limited use motorcycle, towing a
trailer. Such license also shall be valid to operate a three-wheeled
motor vehicle that has two wheels situated in the front and one wheel in
the rear, has a steering mechanism and seating which does not require
the operator to straddle or sit astride, is equipped with safety belts
for all occupants and is manufactured to comply with federal motor
vehicle safety standards for motorcycles including, but not limited to,
49 C.F.R. part 571.

(viii) Class MJ. Such license shall be valid to operate any motorcycle
or limited use motorcycle by a person under eighteen years of age. Such
license shall automatically become a class M license when the holder
becomes eighteen years of age.

(b) Endorsements. The following endorsements shall be required to
operate vehicles as set forth herein. In addition the commissioner by
regulation may provide for further endorsements.

(i) T endorsement. Shall be required to operate double and triple
trailers.

(ii) H endorsement. Shall be required to transport hazardous materials
as defined in section one hundred three of the hazardous materials
transportation act, public law 93-633, title I, when the vehicle
transporting such materials is required to be placarded under the
hazardous materials regulation, 49 CFR part 172, subpart F or is
transporting any quantity of material listed as a select agent or toxin
in 42 CFR part 73. An applicant for a commercial driver's license in
this state who wishes to transport hazardous materials must obtain a New
York state hazardous materials endorsement even if such applicant holds
a valid hazardous materials endorsement issued by another state. A farm
vehicle shall be exempt from the requirement for such endorsement when
transporting hazardous materials within one hundred fifty miles of the
person's farm. However, a separate non-commercial endorsement shall be
required for such exempted transportation. In order to obtain such
endorsement, the license holder must submit fingerprints for purposes of
a criminal history record check pursuant to subdivision six of this
section.

(iii) N endorsement. Shall be required to operate tank vehicles.

(iv) P endorsement. Shall be required to operate a bus as defined in
sections one hundred four and five hundred nine-a of this chapter, any
altered motor vehicle commonly referred to as a "stretch limousine"
having a seating capacity of nine or more passengers including the
driver or any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight or gross vehicle
weight rating of more than twenty-six thousand pounds which is designed
to transport passengers in commerce. For the purposes of this
subparagraph the gross vehicle weight of a vehicle shall mean the actual
weight of the vehicle and the load.

(v) X endorsement. Shall be an endorsement combining H and N
endorsements.

(vii) Personal use vehicle endorsement. Shall be required to operate a
personal use vehicle or a combination of personal use vehicles which may
not be operated with a class C, D or E license. The identification and
scope of any such endorsement or endorsements shall be as prescribed by
regulation of the commissioner, but no such endorsement shall permit the
operation of a rental truck towing a vehicle with a GVWR of more than
ten thousand pounds.

(viii) W endorsement. Shall be required to operate a tow truck.

(ix) Metal coil endorsement. Shall be required to operate any
commercial motor vehicle, as defined in subdivision four of section five
hundred one-a of this article, carrying metal coils. The identification
and scope of such endorsement shall be as prescribed by regulation of
the commissioner.

(x) S endorsement. Shall be required to operate a school bus, as
defined in section one hundred forty-two of this chapter, which is
designed or used to transport fifteen or more passengers.

(c) Restrictions. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this
subdivision, the operation of vehicles may be limited by a restriction
or restrictions placed on a license. The following restrictions may be
issued by the commissioner based upon the representative vehicle in
which the road test was taken, or if the license is issued based on
driving experience, the vehicle in which the experience was gained. In
addition, the commissioner may by regulation provide for additional
restrictions based upon other types of vehicles or other factors deemed
appropriate by the commissioner.

(i) A restriction prohibiting the operation of a vehicle with air
brakes.

(ii) A restriction limiting the operation of a combination of vehicles
to truck-trailer combinations.

(iii) A restriction limiting operation to vehicles of not more than a
specified GVWR.

(d) Exceptions. (i) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this
subdivision, a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles, other than a
motorcycle, that is (A) a military vehicle operated by a member of the
armed forces, or (B) a police vehicle or fire vehicle during its use in
an emergency operation as defined in section one hundred fourteen-b of
this chapter, or in the performance of official duties, or activities
related to the execution of emergency governmental functions pursuant to
section 383.3 (d)(2) of title 49 of the code of federal regulations, or
(C) a vehicle owned and identified as being owned by the state or a
political subdivision thereof or an ambulance service as defined in
subdivision two of section three thousand one of the public health law
or a voluntary ambulance service as defined in subdivision three of such
section and used to provide emergency medical service as defined in
section three thousand one of the public health law, or to perform
official duties, or activities related to the execution of emergency
governmental functions pursuant to section 383.3 (d)(2) of title 49 of
the code of federal regulations, may be operated with any class license
other than a class DJ, M or MJ license. For the purposes of this
paragraph the term "member of the armed forces" shall include active
duty military personnel; members of the reserve components of the armed
forces; members of the national guard on active duty, including
personnel on full time active guard duty, personnel on part-time
national guard training, and national guard military technicians
(civilians who are required to wear military uniforms); and active duty
United States coast guard personnel. The term shall not include United
States reserve technicians. Notwithstanding the provisions of section
one hundred fourteen-b of this chapter, for the purposes of this
subparagraph, the term "emergency operation" shall include returning
from emergency service.

(ii) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subdivision, a
motor vehicle or combination of vehicles which is designed and primarily
used for purposes other than the transportation of persons or property
which is excluded from the definition of commercial motor vehicle
pursuant to the provisions of subparagraph (iv) of paragraph (a) of
subdivision four of section five hundred one-a of this chapter may be
operated with any class license other than a class DJ, M or MJ license.

3. Restrictions on use of class DJ and class MJ licenses. A class DJ
or class MJ license shall permit the holder to operate a vehicle in
accordance with the following restrictions:

(a) in the counties of Nassau and Suffolk:

(i) for the purpose of driving to and from a state-approved
cooperative work-study educational program, or to or from an approved
program for credit in a post-secondary institution, or to or from a
state-approved registered evening high school or while engaged in farm
employment, or to or from an approved driver education course; or

(ii) from five o'clock in the morning to nine o'clock in the evening,
to and from a place of business where the holder is regularly employed,
or when accompanied by a duly licensed parent, guardian, person in a
position of loco parentis, driver education teacher, or driving school
instructor.

(b) in all other areas of the state, except for the city of New York:

(i) from five o'clock in the morning to nine o'clock in the evening;
or

(ii) from nine o'clock in the evening to five o'clock in the morning
when going to or from school, or to or from a place of business where
the holder is employed on a regularly scheduled basis, or when
accompanied by a duly licensed parent, guardian or one in a position of
loco parentis to the licensee.

(c) in the city of New York, driving shall be prohibited.

(d) for the purpose of this subdivision, the term "school" shall mean
instruction, education or training licensed or approved by a department
or agency of the state or training conducted by the armed forces of the
United States except it shall not include extra-curricular activities or
social events for which scholastic credits are not given.

(e) any person operating a motor vehicle to or from school or to or
from a place of business as authorized by this subdivision must possess
documentation signed by such person's instructor or employer. The
commissioner shall, by regulation, prescribe the form and content of
such documentation.

4. Probationary licenses. Any driver's license, other than a class DJ
and class MJ license, shall be considered probationary until the
expiration of six months following the date of issuance thereof, and
thereafter as provided in section five hundred ten-b of this title, but
this subdivision shall not apply to renewals of a license, or, unless so
provided by the commissioner, to a license for which a road test has
been waived by the commissioner.

5. Learners' permits. (a) The commissioner shall issue learner's
permits as provided in this article. Such permit shall be valid only

(i) for the operation of a motor vehicle of a type which could be
operated by the holder of the class of license for which application is
being made;

(ii) when the holder is under the immediate supervision and control of
a person at least twenty-one years of age who holds a license valid in
this state for the operation of the type of vehicle being operated; and

(iii) in accordance with any additional restrictions prescribed by the
commissioner and noted on such permit.

(b) In addition to the restrictions contained in paragraph (a) of this
subdivision, a learner's permit issued to a person applying for a class
DJ or class MJ license shall be subject to the restrictions contained in
section five hundred one-b of this article and shall not be valid for
the operation of any motor vehicle:

(i) within the city of New York, except that the holder of such permit
may operate a motor vehicle within the city of New York from five
o'clock in the morning to nine o'clock in the evening when such person
is under the immediate supervision and control of a person at least
twenty-one years of age who is such holder's parent, guardian, person in
a position of loco parentis, driver education teacher for the purpose of
certification pursuant to section eight hundred six-a of the education
law or driving school instructor for the purpose of certification
pursuant to subdivision seven-a of section three hundred ninety-four of
this chapter and such vehicle is equipped with dual controls as
prescribed by the commissioner;

(ii) in the counties of Nassau and Suffolk, except that the holder of
such permit may operate a motor vehicle within the counties of Nassau
and Suffolk from five o'clock in the morning to nine o'clock in the
evening when such person is under the immediate supervision and control
of a person at least twenty-one years of age who is such holder's
licensed parent, guardian, person in a position of loco parentis, driver
education teacher for the purpose of certification pursuant to section
eight hundred six-a of the education law, or driving school instructor
for the purpose of certification pursuant to subdivision seven-a of
section three hundred ninety-four of this chapter, or a person at least
twenty-one years of age who holds a license valid in this state for the
operation of the type of vehicle being operated, for the purpose of
certification pursuant to subdivision two of section five hundred two of
this article, and who has been designated by such holder's parent,
guardian or person in a position of loco parentis to accompany such
holder, as evidenced by a written statement to that effect;

(iii) from nine o'clock in the evening to five o'clock in the morning,
unless the holder of such permit is under the immediate supervision and
control of a person at least twenty-one years of age who is such
holder's licensed parent, guardian, person in a position of loco
parentis, driver education teacher for the purpose of certification
pursuant to section eight hundred six-a of the education law, or driving
school instructor for the purpose of certification pursuant to
subdivision seven-a of section three hundred ninety-four of this
chapter.

(c) The restrictions contained in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this
subdivision shall apply to a learner's permit which has been issued to a
person who has made application for a class M or class MJ license,
except that the required supervising driver need exercise only general
supervision and control over the learner as prescribed by regulation of
the commissioner when the learner is operating a motorcycle, provided,
however, a person who possesses a learner's permit and who has made
application for a class M or class MJ license, shall not operate a
motorcycle while there is another person on such motorcycle unless such
other person possesses a valid class M license.

6. H endorsement criminal history record check. Upon receipt of an
application and completion of all other requirements imposed by the
commissioner for an H endorsement to permit the operator to transport
hazardous materials as defined in section one hundred three of the
hazardous materials transportation act, public law 93-633, title I, when
the vehicle transporting such materials is required to be placarded
under the hazardous materials regulation, 49 CFR part 172, subpart F, or
is transporting any quantity of material listed as a select agent or
toxin in 42 CFR part 73, the commissioner, subject to the rules and
regulations of the division of criminal justice services, shall initiate
a criminal history record check of the person making the application.
The commissioner shall obtain from each applicant two sets of
fingerprints and the division of criminal justice services processing
fee imposed pursuant to subdivision eight-a of section eight hundred
thirty-seven of the executive law and any fee imposed by the federal
bureau of investigation. The commissioner shall promptly transmit such
fingerprints and fees to the division of criminal justice services for
processing. The federal bureau of investigation and the division of
criminal justice services shall forward such criminal history record, if
any, to the commissioner. All such criminal history records processed
and sent pursuant to this section shall be confidential pursuant to the
applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations, and shall not
be published or in any way disclosed to persons other than authorized
personnel, unless otherwise authorized by law. No cause of action
against the commissioner, the department or the division of criminal
justice services for damages related to the dissemination of criminal
history records pursuant to this section shall exist when the
commissioner, department or division of criminal justice services has
reasonably and in good faith relied upon the accuracy and completeness
of criminal history information furnished to it by qualified agencies.
The provision of such information by the division of criminal justice
services shall be subject to the provisions of subdivision sixteen of
section two hundred ninety-six of the executive law. The consideration
of such criminal history record by the commissioner shall be subject to
article twenty-three-A of the correction law. The commissioner shall
review such criminal history record for a conviction within the previous
ten years for: (i) any violent felony offense, as defined in section
70.02 of the penal law; or (ii) any felony defined in article one
hundred twenty, one hundred twenty-five, one hundred thirty, one hundred
thirty-five, one hundred forty, one hundred forty-five, one hundred
fifty, one hundred fifty-five, one hundred sixty, one hundred seventy,
one hundred seventy-five, two hundred, two hundred ten, two hundred
twenty, two hundred twenty-one, two hundred forty, two hundred
sixty-five, four hundred sixty, four hundred seventy, four hundred
eighty-five, or four hundred ninety of the penal law or section
fifty-three-e of the railroad law; or (iii) any offense in another
jurisdiction which includes all of the essential elements of such
offenses described in paragraphs (i) and (ii) of this subdivision and
for which a sentence of imprisonment for more than one year was
authorized in the other jurisdiction and is authorized in this state,
regardless of whether such sentence was imposed; or any of the following
federal offenses: improper transportation of a hazardous material, as
defined in 49 U.S.C. 46312, conveying false information or threats, as
defined in 49 U.S.C. 46507, espionage, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 793, 794
or 3077, sedition, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2384, 2385 or section 4 of
the subversive activities control act of 1950, treason, as defined in 18
U.S.C. 2381 or conspiracy or solicitation, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 371
or 373; or (iv) an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses
specified in paragraphs (i), (ii), or (iii) of this subdivision. In
calculating such ten year period, any period of time during which the
person was incarcerated for any reason between the time of commission of
the previous felony and the time of commission of the present felony
shall be excluded and such ten year period shall be extended by a period
or periods equal to the time served under such incarceration. After
receipt of a criminal history record from the division of criminal
justice services, if any, and review of such record, the commissioner
shall promptly notify the applicant whether he or she will be granted an
H endorsement based upon the applicant's criminal history and promptly
notify such applicant of the determination and the procedure for
requesting a hearing pursuant to this subdivision. If the commissioner
denies an applicant an H endorsement based either in whole or in part on
such applicant's criminal record, the commissioner must notify such
applicant of the basis for such denial, and afford such applicant notice
and an opportunity to be heard and offer proof in opposition to such
determination. If the applicant requests a hearing to contest the
commissioner's determination, such hearing must be requested no later
than thirty days after the applicant's receipt of the determination and
must be scheduled by the commissioner within sixty days of such request.
Upon request and pursuant to the rules and regulations of the division
of criminal justice services, any applicant may obtain, review and seek
correction of his or her criminal history record.