In New York state, after you complete Driver's education classes, you get a blue card, signifying that you passed the class, all 16 weeks worth of lectures, Ford videotapes, and practice driving.

This card is not really blue, but it used to be, and is now known as an MV-285 student certificate.

Note that this is NOT a license to drive, you have a road test first, even though you passed the class final exam. The NOT part is clearly stated on your card. If you get pulled over, and give that to the officer, he has the right to rip the card up. It's happened, and the driver usually bursts into hysterics, I've been told. Not pretty.

Now, what happens next (in New York) largely depends upon age, and if you've gotten any tickets. If you've gotten traffic tickets with a learner's permit, your license could be delayed until 18 or 21. Either way, you take a road test. This is where you get into a car with an inspector who usually has a clipboard.Lately they're using laptops to grade you and print out your results. Here, you do some driving around the block, pass thru an intersection, stop at a stop sign, execute a three point turn, a parallel park, and if you do this without sharp bumps, jolts, or mistakes, you pass.

If you're 16, your Learner's permit is upgraded into a junior license. With this you can drive to/from work by yourself, to/from college, or technical school (BOCES). Note: You can't go to high school or errands without someone with a full license in the car with you. $75 US fine if caught. When you turn 17, you get a full driver's license mailed to you on your birthday.

If you're 17, then you get a full driver's license on the spot, or at least a temporary card, as good as the real thing until the DMV mails you the plastic one.

One rub, however. You can't drive in any part of New York City or any of the 5 boroughs until you are 18. Yeah, stinks, but they're strict if you get pulled over. The penalty I believe is a ticket.

NOTE: Don't lose it! They do not give out replacements! Ever! I learned that the hard way, and almost had to retake the course.

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