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Ask a trooper: Differences between youth driver’s license laws

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By Jesse Grabow, Minnesota state trooper

Question: What are the differences in the new youth driver’s license laws? Fifteen-year-old farm permit user, provisional 16-year-old driver’s license through age 18. Please include how many non-related passengers they can have and what times of the day they can drive. This is a good refresher to the parents with teens this age.

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Answer: This is what Minnesota law says in reference to farm permits: “The commissioner may issue a restricted farm work license to operate a motor vehicle to a person who has attained the age of 15 years and who, except for age, is qualified to hold a driver’s license.”

● The restricted license shall be issued solely for the purpose of authorizing the person to whom the restricted license is issued to assist the person’s parents or guardians with farm work.

● A person holding this restricted license may operate a motor vehicle only during daylight hours and only within a radius of 20 miles of the parent’s or guardian’s farmhouse. However, in no case may a person holding the restricted license operate a motor vehicle in a city of the first class (population more than 100,000).

● A copy of a property tax statement showing that the applicant’s parent or guardian owns land that is classified as agricultural land or a copy of a rental statement or agreement showing that the applicant’s parent or guardian rents land classified as agricultural land. Also, a written verified statement by the applicant’s parent or guardian setting forth the necessity for the license.

As for new drivers with a provisional driver’s license (16-18 years of age), for the first six months of licensure, driving is prohibited from midnight to 5 a.m. The nighttime limitation is lifted after the first six months of licensure.

Exemptions include:

● Driving when accompanied by a licensed driver age 25 or older.

● Driving between home and place of employment.

● Driving to/from home and a school event for which the school has not provided transportation.

● Driving for employment purposes.

Passenger limitations: For the first six months of licensure, only one passenger younger than 20 is permitted, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. For the second six months of licensure, no more than three passengers younger than 20 are permitted, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The exemption is passengers younger than 20 who are members of the driver’s immediate family.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol, at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at jesse.grabow @state.mn.us.

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