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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

171.05 Instruction permit.

Subdivision 1. Person 18 or more years of age. Any person who is 18 or more years of age and who, except for a lack of instruction in operating a motor vehicle, would otherwise be qualified to obtain a class D driver's license under this chapter, may apply for an instruction permit and the department shall issue such permit entitling the applicant, while having such permit in immediate possession, to drive a motor vehicle for which a class D license is valid upon the highways for a period of one year, but such person must be accompanied by an adult licensed driver who is actually occupying a seat beside the driver. Any license of a lower class may be used as an instruction permit for a higher class for a period of six months after passage of the written test or tests required for the higher class and when the licensee is accompanied by and receiving instruction from a holder of the appropriate higher class license. A copy of the record of examination taken for the higher class license must be carried by the driver while using such lower class license as an instruction permit.

Subd. 1a. Minimum period to possess instruction permit. An applicant who is 18 years old and who has applied for and received an instruction permit under subdivision 1 must possess the instruction permit for not less than six months before qualifying for a driver's license, or for not less than three months for an applicant who successfully completes an approved course of behind-the-wheel instruction.

Subd. 2. Person less than 18 years of age. (a) Notwithstanding any provision in subdivision 1 to the contrary, the department, upon application therefor, may issue an instruction permit to an applicant who is 15, 16, or 17 years of age and:

(1) is enrolled in a driver education program including classroom and behind-the-wheel training, which has been approved by the state board of education for courses offered through the public schools, or, in the case of a course offered by a private, commercial driver education school or institute, by the department of public safety; except when the applicant has completed a course of driver education in another state or has a previously issued valid license from another state;

(2) has completed the classroom phase of instruction in the driver education program;

(3) has passed a test of the applicant's eyesight;

(4) has passed a test of the applicant's knowledge of traffic laws, which test must be administered by the department;

(5) has completed the required application, which must be approved by (i) either parent when both reside in the same household as the minor applicant or, if otherwise, then (ii) the parent or spouse of the parent having custody or, in the event there is no court order for custody, then (iii) the parent or spouse of the parent with whom the minor is living or, if items (i) to (iii) do not apply, then (iv) the guardian having custody of the minor or, in the event a person under the age of 18 has no living father, mother, or guardian, then (v) the applicant's employer; provided, that the approval required by this clause contains a verification of the age of the applicant and the identity of the parent, guardian, or employer; and

(6) has paid the fee required in section 171.06, subdivision 2.

(b) The instruction permit is valid for one year from the date of application and may be renewed upon payment of a fee equal to the fee for issuance of an instruction permit under section 171.06, subdivision 2.

Subd. 2a. Permit for six months. (a) An applicant who has applied for and received an instruction permit pursuant to subdivision 2 must possess the instruction permit for not less than six months before qualifying for a driver's license.

(b) Until May 31, 1999, the commissioner may waive the six-month requirement of this subdivision for an applicant for a class D driver's license if:

(1) at least six months has elapsed since the applicant successfully completed the written examination requirement of the approved driver education program pursuant to subdivision 2; and

(2) the applicant subsequently obtained a permit and successfully completed all of the approved driver education program requirements before applying for the class D driver's license.

This paragraph is effective June 4, 1997, and expires June 1, 1999.

Subd. 2b. Instruction permit use by person under age 18. (a) This subdivision applies to persons who have applied for and received an instruction permit under subdivision 2.

(b) The permit holder may, with the permit in possession, operate a motor vehicle, but must be accompanied by and be under the supervision of a certified driver education instructor, the permit holder's parent or guardian, or another licensed driver age 21 or older. The supervisor must occupy the seat beside the permit holder.

(c) The permit holder may operate a motor vehicle only when every occupant under the age of 18 has a seat belt or child passenger restraint system properly fastened. A person who violates this paragraph is subject to a fine of $25. A peace officer may not issue a citation for a violation of this paragraph unless the officer lawfully stopped or detained the driver of the motor vehicle for a moving violation as defined in section 171.04, subdivision 1. The commissioner shall not record a violation of this paragraph on a person's driving record.

(d) The permit holder must maintain a driving record free of convictions for moving violations, as defined in section 171.04, subdivision 1, and free of convictions for violation of section 169.121, 169.1218, 169.122, or 169.123. If the permit holder drives a motor vehicle in violation of the law, the commissioner shall suspend, cancel, or revoke the permit in accordance with the statutory section violated.

Subd. 3. Motorized bicycle. Notwithstanding any provision in subdivision 1 to the contrary, the department, upon application and payment of the fee prescribed in section 171.02, subdivision 3, may issue a motorized bicycle instruction permit to an applicant who is 15 years of age and who has successfully completed the written portion of the examination prescribed by the commissioner. The holder of this instruction permit who has the permit in possession may operate a motorized bicycle within one mile of the holder's residence for the purpose of practicing to take the operator portion of the examination prescribed by the commissioner.

HIST: (2720-144b) 1939 c 401 s 5; 1949 c 91 s 1; 1961 c 33 s 1; 1963 c 382 s 2; 1971 c 644 s 7; 1973 c 95 s 1; 1980 c 446 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 454 s 22; 1987 c 384 art 1 s 19; 1990 c 529 s 6,7; 1996 c 275 s 4; 1996 c 455 art 3 s 25; 1997 c 250 s 8; 1998 c 388 s 10-12