1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Vehicle & Traffic
  4. Title 5: Drivers' Licenses
  5. Article 19: Licensing of Drivers


Section 502 Requirements for licensing

Vehicle & Traffic (VAT)

* 1. Application for license. Application for a driver's license shall be made to the commissioner. The fee prescribed by law may be submitted with such application. The applicant shall furnish such proof of identity, age, and fitness as may be required by the commissioner. The commissioner may also provide that the application procedure shall include the taking of a photo image or images of the applicant in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the commissioner. In addition, the commissioner also shall require that the applicant provide his or her social security number and shall provide space on the application so that the applicant may register in the New York state organ and tissue donor registry under section forty-three hundred ten of the public health law with the following stated on the application in clear and conspicuous type:

  "You must fill out the following section: Would you like to be added to the Donate Life Registry? Check box for 'yes' or 'skip this question'."

  The commissioner of health shall not maintain records of any person who checks "skip this question". Except where the application is made in person or electronically, failure to check a box shall not impair the validity of an application, and failure to check "yes" or checking "skip this question" shall not be construed to imply a wish not to donate. In the case of an applicant under eighteen years of age, checking "yes" shall not constitute consent to make an anatomical gift or registration in the donate life registry, except as otherwise provided pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (b) of subdivision one of section forty-three hundred one of the public health law. Where an applicant has previously consented to make an anatomical gift or registered in the donate life registry, checking "skip this question" or failing to check a box shall not impair that consent or registration. In addition, an applicant for a commercial driver's license who will operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce shall certify that such applicant meets the requirements to operate a commercial motor vehicle, as set forth in public law 99-570, title XII, and title 49 of the code of federal regulations, and all regulations promulgated by the United States secretary of transportation under the hazardous materials transportation act. In addition, an applicant for a commercial driver's license shall submit a medical certificate at such intervals as required by the federal motor carrier safety improvement act of 1999 and Part 383.71(h) of title 49 of the code of federal regulations relating to medical certification and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner. For purposes of this section and sections five hundred three, five hundred ten-a, and five hundred ten-aa of this title, the terms "medical certificate" and "medical certification" shall mean a form substantially in compliance with the form set forth in Part 391.43(h) of title 49 of the code of federal regulations. Upon a determination that the holder of a commercial driver's license has made any false statement, with respect to the application for such license, the commissioner shall revoke such license.

  * NB Separately amended, cannot be together

  * 1. Application for license. Application for a driver's license shall be made to the commissioner. The fee prescribed by law may be submitted with such application. The applicant shall furnish such proof of identity, age, and fitness as may be required by the commissioner. The commissioner may also provide that the application procedure shall include the taking of a photo image or images of the applicant in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the commissioner. In addition, the commissioner also shall require that the applicant provide his or her social security number and provide space on the application so that the applicant may register in the New York state organ and tissue donor registry under section forty-three hundred ten of the public health law, and space so that the applicant may request a notation upon such license that he or she is a veteran of the United States armed forces. In addition, an applicant for a commercial driver's license who will operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce shall certify that such applicant meets the requirements to operate a commercial motor vehicle, as set forth in public law 99-570, title XII, and title 49 of the code of federal regulations, and all regulations promulgated by the United States secretary of transportation under the hazardous materials transportation act. In addition, an applicant for a commercial driver's license shall submit a medical certificate at such intervals as required by the federal motor carrier safety improvement act of 1999 and Part 383.71(h) of title 49 of the code of federal regulations relating to medical certification and in a manner prescribed by the commissioner. For purposes of this section and sections five hundred three and five hundred ten-a of this title, the term "medical certificate" shall mean a form substantially in compliance with the form set forth in Part 391.43(h) of title 49 of the code of federal regulations. Upon a determination that the holder of a commercial driver's license has made any false statement, with respect to the application for such license, the commissioner shall revoke such license.

  * NB Separately amended, cannot be put together

  2. Age. (a) An applicant for a class A license or for a commercial driver's license which contains an H or an X endorsement or which is valid for operation in interstate commerce shall be at least twenty-one years of age.

  (b) Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this subdivision an applicant for a class B, C or E license shall be at least eighteen years of age.

  (c) An applicant for a class D or M license shall be at least eighteen years of age, except that an application shall be accepted if the applicant is at least seventeen years of age and submits acceptable proof of successful completion of a driver education course, approved by the state education department and the commissioner, and proof of completion of the minimum hours of supervised driving as required in paragraph (d) of this subdivision.

  (d) An applicant for a class DJ or MJ license shall be at least sixteen years of age and such applicant must submit written consent to the issuance of such license by the applicant's parent or guardian. Upon receipt of withdrawal of such consent, any class DJ or MJ license, learner's permit or license application shall be cancelled. No class DJ or MJ license shall be issued unless the applicant presents, at the time of the road test administered pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision four of this section, a written certification by the applicant's parent or guardian that such applicant has operated a motor vehicle for no less than fifty hours, at least fifteen hours of which shall be after sunset, under the immediate supervision of a person as authorized pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of subdivision five of section five hundred one of this article, a driver education teacher pursuant to section eight hundred six-a of the education law or a driving school instructor pursuant to subdivision seven-a of section three hundred ninety-four of this chapter.

  3. Application for learner's permit. An application for a learner's permit shall be included in the application for a license. A learner's permit shall be issued in such form as the commissioner shall determine but shall not be issued unless the applicant has successfully passed the vision test required by this section and the test set forth in paragraph (a) of subdivision four of this section with respect to laws relating to traffic and ability to read and comprehend traffic signs and symbols and has satisfactorily completed any course required pursuant to paragraph (a) of subdivision four of this section. Upon acceptance of an application for a learner's permit the commissioner shall provide the applicant with a driver's manual which includes but is not limited to the laws relating to traffic, the laws relating to and physiological effects of driving while ability impaired and driving while intoxicated, the law for exercising due care to avoid colliding with a parked, stopped or standing vehicle pursuant to section eleven hundred forty-four-a of this chapter, explanations of traffic signs and symbols and such other matters as the commissioner may prescribe.

  4. Examinations. (a) (i) Upon submission of an application for a driver's license, the applicant shall be required to take and pass a test, or submit evidence of passage of a test, with respect to the laws relating to traffic, the laws relating to driving while ability is impaired and while intoxicated, under the overpowering influence of "Road Rage", "Work Zone Safety" awareness and "Motorcycle Safety" awareness as defined by the commissioner, the law relating to exercising due care to avoid colliding with a parked, stopped or standing authorized emergency vehicle or hazard vehicle pursuant to section eleven hundred forty-four-a of this chapter, the ability to read and comprehend traffic signs and symbols and such other matters as the commissioner may prescribe, and to satisfactorily complete a course prescribed by the commissioner of not less than four hours and not more than five hours, consisting of classroom driver training and highway safety instruction or the equivalent thereof. Such test shall include at least seven written questions concerning the effects of consumption of alcohol or drugs on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle and the legal and financial consequences resulting from violations of section eleven hundred ninety-two of this chapter, prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Such test shall include one or more written questions concerning the devastating effects of "Road Rage" on the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle and the legal and financial consequences resulting from assaulting, threatening or interfering with the lawful conduct of another person legally using the roadway. Such test shall include one or more questions concerning the potential dangers to persons and equipment resulting from the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle in a work zone. Such test may include one or more questions concerning motorcycle safety. Such test may include one or more questions concerning the law for exercising due care to avoid colliding with a parked, stopped or standing vehicle pursuant to section eleven hundred forty-four-a of this chapter. Such test shall be administered by the commissioner. The commissioner shall cause the applicant to take a vision test and a test for color blindness. Upon passage of the vision test, the application may be accepted and the application fee shall be payable.

  (ii) The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing eligibility standards for the taking and passing of knowledge tests in other than written form.

  (b) Upon successful completion of the requirements set forth in paragraph (a) of this subdivision which shall include an alcohol and drug education component as described in paragraph (c) of this subdivision, a "Road Rage" awareness component as described in paragraph (c-1) of this subdivision and a "Work Zone Safety" awareness component as described in paragraph (c-2) of this subdivision, and a "Motorcycle Safety" awareness component as described in paragraph (c-3) of this subdivision the commissioner shall cause the applicant to take a road test in a representative vehicle of a type prescribed by the commissioner which shall be appropriate to the type of license for which application is made, except that the commissioner may waive the road test requirements for certain classes of applicants. The commissioner shall have the power to establish a program to allow persons other than employees of the department to conduct road tests in representative vehicles when such tests are required for applicants to obtain a class A, B or C license. If she chooses to do so, she shall set forth her reasons in writing and conduct a public hearing on the matter. She shall only establish such a program after holding the public hearing.

  (c) Alcohol and drug education component. The commissioner shall provide in the pre-licensing course, set forth in paragraph (b) of this subdivision a mandatory component in alcohol and drug education of not less than two hours as a prerequisite for obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle. The purpose of the component is to educate prospective licensees on the effects that ingestion of alcohol and other drugs have on a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle. The commissioner shall establish a curriculum for the alcohol and drug education component which shall include but not be limited to: instruction describing the hazards of driving while impaired or intoxicated; the penalties for alcohol related motor vehicle violations including sanctions set forth in the penal law that apply to homicides and assaults arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated and those sanctions set forth in the vehicle and traffic law relating to driving while intoxicated; and the medical, biological and physiological effects of the consumption of alcohol and their impact on the operation of a motor vehicle.

  (c-1) "Road Rage" awareness component. The commissioner shall provide in the pre-licensing course, set forth in paragraph (b) of this subdivision a mandatory component in "Road Rage" awareness education as a prerequisite for obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle. The purpose of the component is to educate prospective licensees on the effects that the development and expression of "Road Rage", as defined by the commissioner, have on a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle. The commissioner shall establish a curriculum for the "Road Rage" component which shall include but not be limited to: instruction describing the hazards of driving and exiting the vehicle while under the influence of "Road Rage"; the penalties for "Road Rage"-related motor vehicle or other violations including sanctions set forth in the penal law that apply to homicides and assaults arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle while expressing "Road Rage", and any sanctions set forth in law relating to driving while under the influence of "Road Rage"; and the medical, biological and physiological effects of the development and expression of "Road Rage", and their impact on the operation of a motor vehicle. The commissioner is charged with the responsibility for defining the term "Road Rage", as used in this paragraph, in consultation with law enforcement personnel, medical professionals, representatives of the court system, highway safety officials, and any other group that the commissioner believes can contribute to a comprehensive statement of the issue.

  (c-2) "Work Zone Safety" awareness component. (i) The commissioner shall provide in the pre-licensing course, set forth in paragraph (b) of this subdivision, a mandatory component in "Work Zone Safety" awareness education as a prerequisite for obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle. The purpose of the component is to educate prospective licensees on the potential dangers to construction workers, construction equipment operators and operators of motor vehicles in a highway work zone. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "work zone" shall include "work area" as defined by section one hundred sixty of this chapter, and "restricted highway" as authorized in section sixteen hundred twenty-five of this chapter.

  (ii) The commissioner shall establish a curriculum for the "Work Zone Safety" component which shall include but not be limited to: instruction describing the potential hazards of driving through a work zone, whether or not work, maintenance or other related construction is being undertaken therein, and information on the provisions of law relating to driving within a work zone and sanctions for violations of such provisions, including speeding in a work zone.

  (iii) In developing such curriculum, the commissioner shall consult with the commissioner of transportation, the superintendent of the state police, representatives of the highway construction industry, representatives of highway construction workers, highway safety officials, and any other group that the commissioner believes can contribute to a comprehensive presentation of the issue.

  (c-3) "Motorcycle Safety" awareness component. The commissioner shall provide in the pre-licensing course, set forth in paragraph (b) of this subdivision, a mandatory component in "Motorcycle Safety" awareness education as a prerequisite for obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle. The purpose of the component is to educate prospective licensees on the potential dangers to persons operating motorcycles on the roadway.

  (d) The commissioner shall make available for distribution upon registration at each location where the pre-licensing course will be given, instructional handbooks outlining the content of the entire curriculum of the pre-licensing course including the information required to be included in the course pursuant to paragraphs (c), (c-1), (c-2) and (c-3) of this subdivision. The commissioner shall also provide for the additional training of the instructors necessary for the competent instruction of the alcohol and drug education, "Road Rage" awareness, "Work Zone Safety" awareness and "Motorcycle Safety" awareness subject matters of the pre-licensing course.

  (e) The commissioner shall make available to each applicant for a commercial driver's license instructional handbooks outlining the requirements necessary to qualify for such license, and containing a discussion of the offenses which will result in disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle as defined in section five hundred one-a of this chapter. Such handbooks shall be available in both English and Spanish language versions.

  (f) The commissioner shall promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.

  (g) The commissioner may, in his discretion, waive the requirement for passage of a test with respect to the laws relating to traffic, the laws relating to driving while ability is impaired and while intoxicated and the ability to read and comprehend traffic signs and symbols, and the requirement for completion of the course set forth in paragraph (a) of this subdivision for applicants who hold a valid or renewable driver's license issued by another jurisdiction or the United States government.

  (h) Course completion certificate fee. The fee for a course completion certificate provided by the department to an entity that is approved by the commissioner to offer the pre-licensing course, required by this subdivision, for issuance by such entity to students upon their completion of such pre-licensing course shall be one dollar. Such fee shall be paid by such entity and shall not be charged to a person who takes the course in any manner.

  5. Issuance of license. (a) Upon successful completion of the requirements set forth in subdivision four of this section, and upon payment of the fee prescribed by law, the commissioner shall issue an appropriate license to the applicant, except that the commissioner may refuse to issue such license

  (i) if the applicant is the holder of a currently valid or renewable license to drive issued by another state or foreign country unless the applicant surrenders such license, or

  (ii) if such issuance would be inconsistent with the provisions of section five hundred sixteen of this chapter.

  (b) The commissioner shall, with respect to the issuance of a hazardous materials endorsement, comply with the requirements imposed upon states pursuant to sections 383.141 and 1572.13 of title 49 of the code of federal regulations.

  (c) The commissioner shall not issue a commercial driver's license to a person while such person would be subject to disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for any cause set forth in the commercial motor vehicle safety act of nineteen hundred eighty-six, public law 99-570, title XII and regulations promulgated thereunder. In addition, the commissioner shall suspend a commercial driver's license for the period of time in which such driver is determined to constitute an imminent hazard and is disqualified pursuant to 49 C.F.R 383.52.

  6. Renewal of license. (a) A license issued pursuant to subdivision five of this section shall be valid until the expiration date contained thereon, unless such license is suspended, revoked or cancelled. Such license may be renewed by submission of an application for renewal, the fee prescribed by law, proofs of prior licensing, fitness and acceptable vision prescribed by the commissioner, the applicant's social security number, and if required by the commissioner a photo image of the applicant in such numbers and form as the commissioner shall prescribe. In addition, an applicant for renewal of a license containing a hazardous material endorsement shall pass an examination to retain such endorsement. The commissioner shall, with respect to the renewal of a hazardous materials endorsement, comply with the requirements imposed upon states by sections 383.141 and 1572.13 of title 49 of the code of federal regulations. A renewal of such license shall be issued by the commissioner upon approval of such application, except that no such license shall be issued if its issuance would be inconsistent with the provisions of section five hundred sixteen of this title, and except that the commissioner may refuse to renew such license if the applicant is the holder of a currently valid or renewable license to drive issued by another state or foreign country unless the applicant surrenders such license.

  (b) Time for renewal. A renewal license may only be issued if an application for such license is filed within two years from the date of expiration of the prior license. Such application may be filed prior to the expiration of the license being renewed for a period of time as provided by regulation of the commissioner.

  7. Compliance with selective service act required. (a) All persons who are at least eighteen years of age but less than twenty-six years of age who apply to the commissioner for a learner's permit, driver's license, renewal of license, or non-driver's identification card, shall either: (i) be in compliance with the requirements of the military selective service act as provided for pursuant to 50 U.S.C. App 451 et. seq., as amended, or (ii) consent to permit the commissioner to forward such information as is required to register such individual with the selective service system, if such individual must be registered pursuant to such act.

  (b) The commissioner shall forward in an electronic format the necessary personal information required for registration of such individuals specified in paragraph (a) of this subdivision with the selective service system. Such individual's application to the commissioner for a learner's permit, driver's license, renewal of license or non-drivers' identification card shall serve as an indication that the applicant has already registered with the military selective service act or that such individual is authorizing the commissioner to forward to the selective service system the necessary information for such selective service registration. The commissioner shall notify such applicants on the application form that any application for a learner's permit, driver's license, renewal of license or non-driver's identification card shall serve as consent to be registered with the selective service system, if so required by federal law.