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  1. Default Teen driver hoping to do New York to West Coast in two weeks

    Hi, I'm new here but I've been trying to research a trip I've been wanting to do. My school has a program called "Senior Options" where seniors get a little bit over a month to do a project, usually an internship. I have already done multiple internships so I was toying with the idea of going on a road trip with a friend of mine. The main goal of the trip would be the documentation of it, as we are both photographers. I know it's a big trip, we'll probably do a small one over spring break to prepare, but we really want to do this and really just want to throw ourselves into it.

    We'd start in New York (just outside of the city) and my dream was to hit Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco (I like to dream big). So now I'm trying to find out what actually is possible within our time contraints and within the law. At the time of the trip we will both be 17, I will have a NYS Senior license and my friend will have a NYS Junior license. I'm not sure which states we would be allowed to drive in, being under 18. We would want to schedule a trip that would be, at most, two weeks one way. So if anyone could help me with ideas of what to do in between, or if I should totally change my idea, or any knowledge of driving laws I would REALLY appreciate it, thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Not legal advice

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    We really aren't in a position to give any legal advice, nor should you really be looking to any internet message board to answer questions of what is or is not legal.

    Each state has their own laws regarding teen/graduated drivers licenses, and I'm not exactly sure how those are handled across state lines. A general rule of thumb is that what you are allowed to do in your home state you can do elsewhere, but that might not apply in this case. I would strongly suggest that you talk to either your drivers ed instructor or a police officer and perhaps they can give you a better understanding of what you would or would not be allowed to do.

    The trip you've laid out could be done, it takes about 1 week to drive coast to coast, so with 2 for each direction you've got some room to work with. Your bigger problems will involve all of the challenges of traveling under age 18. The single biggest one will be lodging, as almost no motels will allow people under 18 to rent a room. Camping would give you some more options, but being in spring, it could still be a pretty cool time of year to camp out every night for a month.

    It sounds like you've got a good head on your shoulders and are being thoughtful about what you want to do. Unfortantly, your ages will be a big roadblock and it will be tough to do as big of a trip as you want.

  3. Default

    Thanks a lot, of course this is not the only place I am doing my research, especially about the law I was just a little curious if anyone who had done something similar would know, my biggest curiosity would be more about what places to visit if anybody had any tips on that front.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-08-2009 at 01:07 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post

    Your bigger problems will involve all of the challenges of traveling under age 18. The single biggest one will be lodging, as almost no motels will allow people under 18 to rent a room.
    The same goes for most campgrounds and just about all hostels.

  5. Default

    Lodging, obviously, is the biggest problem.

    As for legalities, if you have a senior license (IANAL), you should be good to drive across state lines anywhere. As for the Junior license, no clue. One thing I would suggest if you are doing this, is a signed letter from your parent/guardian stating you're allowed to be out there (I doubt, also, the car and insurance would be in your name). If you get pulled over, accident, etc, you would have at least some documentation from your parent(s) that you're allowed to make this trip so they don't think you're running away, etc.


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