RIDGEWOOD — Police in one Bergen County community have issued a reminder that a learner’s permit does not give teen drivers free reign over roads in New Jersey.

Ridgewood police said there have been multiple incidents of motor vehicle stops for unsafe driving, during which officers have found high school students illegally driving unsupervised, with no license but only a permit.

It’s been considered an acceptable practice by some families, according to police, based on conversations with teens, parents and school officials in the community.

“We cannot stress enough how unsafe and illegal this is,” Ridgewood police said on the department’s Facebook page on Friday, while highlighting potential consequences, both legal and financial.

'We cannot stress enough how unsafe and illegal this is.'

Criminal charges, debt and more

Allowing a minor with just a learner’s permit to drive alone, without a supervising adult statewide leaves them open to a permit suspension up to six months, and a delay in receiving their graduated license on time, police said.

That solo teen driving with just a permit also can be charged criminally under the “joyriding” statute, which means court appearances, a criminal record and possible hefty fines.

A teen driving while unlicensed who gets into a crash means the insurance company will not cover liabilities — so any damage to vehicles, property or people would be paid out of pocket.

An unlicensed driver in a crash that leaves someone hurt also faces additional criminal charges and possibly even jail time, police said.

Statewide special learner's permit driving restrictions

• No driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.
• The driver is not permitted to use a cell phone, handheld video game or any other handheld electronic device.
• There must be an adult supervising driver (who is at least 21 and has been a fully licensed driver for at least 3 years) in the front passenger seat.
• Only one other passenger (in addition to the adult supervising driver) is permitted to be in the vehicle.
• Seatbelts must be worn at all times.

Examination permit restrictions

• The driver must be at least 17-years-old and not in suspension status.
• No driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m.
• The driver is not permitted to use a cell phone, handheld video game or any other handheld electronic device.
• There must be an adult supervising driver (who is at least 21 and has been a fully licensed driver for at least 3 years) in the front passenger seat.
• Other passengers must be from the driver’s household. Only one passenger from outside the driver’s household is permitted in the vehicle.
• Seatbelts must be worn at all times.

Probationary driver's license requirements

• A reflectorized license plate decal must be displayed when the driver has a probationary license.
• No driving between 11:01 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless the driver has a written statement of why they need to be on the road for religious or work reasons.
• The driver’s only passengers are permitted to be the driver’s parents, legal guardians or dependents.
• Parent or guardian supervision is required if there is more than one passenger in the vehicle.

The state Motor Vehicle Commission website also has a rundown of the steps — from applying for a learner's permit, to getting a probationary license and then a graduated driver's license.

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