Answered By: Robert Fitzpatrick
Last Updated: Nov 12, 2014     Views: 92

In fact, requiring a driver's license is legal.

"A driver's license is also mandatory in every state." [West's Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed. 2004, vol. 1, page 425]

"Every state requires the owner of a vehicle to possess two documents: a certificate of ownership, or title, and a certificate of registration...." [West's Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed. 2004, vol. 1, page 425]

"The operation of an automobile on a public street or highway is a privilege that can be regulated by motor vehicle laws. The individual states derive authority to control traffic from their police power, but often they delegate this authority to a local police force. On the national level, Congress is empowered to regulate motor vehicles that are engaged in interstate commerce." [West's Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed. 2004, vol. 1, page 424]

So, "Police power describes the basic right of governments to make laws and regulations for the benefit of their communities. Under the system of government in the United States, only states have the right to make laws based on their police power. The lawmaking power of the federal government is limited to the specific grants of power found in the Constitution." [West's Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed. 2004, vol. 8, page 10]

"The right of states to make laws governing safety, health, welfare, and morals is derived from the Tenth Amendment, which states, 'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.' State legislatures exercise their police power by enacting statues, and they also delegate much of their police power to counties, cities, towns, villages, and large boroughs within the state." [West's Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed. 2004, vol. 8, page 10]

The specific New Hampshire statute is: [RSA] 263:1 License Required. –No person, except those expressly exempted under RSA 263:25 or other provisions of this title, shall drive any motor vehicle upon any way in this state unless such person has a valid driver's license, as required under the provisions of this chapter, for the class or type of vehicle being driven. Except as otherwise herein provided, any person who drives a motor vehicle in this state without having a valid driver's license of the appropriate class or type shall be guilty of a violation, provided that any person convicted of such offense for the second time in a 12 month period shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source. 1905, 86:4. 1911, 133:8. 1921, 119:7, 8. PL 101:1, 9. 1927, 11:2. 1937, 69:1. 1939, 103:1. RL 117:1, 9. 1945, 44:3. RSA 261:1, 13; 262:27-a. 1965, 207:1. 1967, 281:1. 1973, 528:138. 1981, 146:1. 1985, 213:15, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

and [RSA] 263:25 Exception for Persons Learning to Drive. –
I. Except as provided in paragraph II, a person who does not possess a driver's license may drive a motor vehicle while being taught to drive, when accompanied by a person holding a driver's license of the appropriate class and type for the vehicle being driven, who is occupying the seat beside, or, in the case of a bus, immediately adjacent to, the person who is being taught to drive. This exception shall not apply to persons whose driving privileges or driver's licenses have been suspended or revoked for cause, persons less than 15- 1/2 years of age, and persons learning to drive commercial motor vehicles unless they meet the requirements of paragraph II. For all unlicensed drivers the person accompanying them shall be a certified driving instructor, parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult who is 25 years of age or older and who is a licensed driver. The person accompanying the unlicensed driver shall be liable for the violation of any provision of this title or rules adopted hereunder committed by such unlicensed driver. A person who is learning to drive pursuant to the provisions of this section shall have in his possession proof of the fact he meets the age requirement.
II. In the case of a person learning to drive a commercial motor vehicle, the person may not drive as provided in paragraph I unless he or she is at least 18 years of age and unless he or she: (a) has a valid noncommercial driver's license; and (b) has been issued a learner permit pursuant to RSA 263:88.

Source. 1905, 86:5. 1911, 133:9. 1913, 81:4. 1921, 119:8. PL 101:10. 1941, 100:1. RL 117:10. 1949, 189:4. RSA 261:14. 1961, 231:1. 1981, 146:1. 1989, 315:1; 319:20. 1990, 262:1, eff. June 27, 1990. 2013, 146:1, eff. Aug. 27, 2013.