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When minimum driving age varies significantly: What teen drivers from South Dakota need to know when moving to New Jersey

Before getting behind the wheel in New Jersey, you need to know that laws in the Garden State are not as favorable to teens as South Dakota's laws. If you have a learner's or restricted license from South Dakota, it may not be legal in New Jersey.

Before getting behind the wheel in New Jersey, you need to know that laws in the Garden State are not as favorable to teens as South Dakota's laws. If you have a learner's or restricted license from South Dakota, it may not be legal in New Jersey.

SD Age Requirements

In South Dakota, you can get your learner's permit at 14. You can get a restricted minor's license at age 14 after the requisite driving requirements. You can get an unrestricted license at 17.

NJ Age Requirements

By contrast, New Jersey residents must be 16 to obtain a learner's permit. You can get a restricted license at 16 after the requisite driving requirements. You can get an unrestricted license at 18.

Moving from SD to NJ

Your South Dakota license may not be valid if you do not meet New Jersey's age requirements. You will need to study the New Jersey driver's manual and take some New Jersey DMV practice tests to get ready. You can read more about New Jersey requirements here.

Why so Different?

With a population of 844,000 residents, South Dakota ranks 47th in total state in population. New Jersey, on the other hand, is the 11th largest state with a population of 8.9 million. With so many more people and much more crowded roads, New Jersey has to keep tighter control over its new drivers.

Other Differences

Unlike South Dakota, New Jersey requires new drivers to show proof that they are enrolled in a driver's course before getting their learner's permit. They must do this in addition to taking the test. Due to the differences between South Dakota laws and New Jersey laws, it is a good idea to take several DMV practice tests before attempting the real thing. Another major difference is that New Jersey requires student and probationary drivers to display a special decal. This alerts other drivers and law enforcement of a teen driver.

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