"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Q: My daughter is about to get her driver's license and is looking for clarification on passenger rules. It says only one passenger under 20 with the exception of siblings for the first swix months. Does that mean she can drive 2 siblings AND a friend?

A: The passenger rule you are asking about is one part of the "Graduated Driver's License or GDL system, which was created to ease inexperienced drivers into the driving environment.

First, a driver under the age of 18 must have an instructional permit for at least six months before scheduling a road test. Also, drivers under the age of 18 may NOT use a cellular phone while operating a motor vehicle (this includes even in the hands-free mode).

The second phase of the GDL process is called the "provisional license." If you are at least 16 years of age, submit the required parent driving log and pass the road test, you receive a provisional driver's license.

Provisional licenses are good for a period of two years and have added restrictions that a full driver's license does not have. Restrictions of a provisional license during the first six months include:

1. Provisional drivers may not drive during nighttime hours between midnight and 5 a.m. Exceptions for going from home to work, home to school event when school does not provide transportation, or if accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 25. Driving for employment purposes is also permitted.

2. You also may only have one passenger under the age of 20, unless accompanied by your parent or guardian.

During the second six months of the provisional license (six months - one year from issuance of the provisional license):

1. You may not have more than three passengers under the age of 20, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

NOTE: Passengers under 20 years of age that are members if the provisional driver's immediate family are permitted during both time periods and do not count toward the passenger restrictions.

Lastly, under "Vanessa's Law," a licensed teen driver with a provisional license whose driving privileges were revoked due to a crash-related moving violation or an alcohol/controlled substance-related violation cannot regain a license until age 18.

In addition to the driver's manual, the restrictions are described under Minnesota Statute 171.055 Provisional License.

To clarify the answer to your question, the number of family members is not included in the total count of passengers for provisional drivers. Therefore, you may have three immediate family members and one other passenger under the age of 20. Remember, all passengers and drivers, MUST use the appropriate safety restraints (child safety seats or seat belts) which may affect the number of passengers.



1. Minnesota Drivers Manual, located online at: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/forms-documents/Documents/Minnesota_Dri...

2. Minnesota Statue 171.055, Provisional License, located online at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/171.055