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Five of my friends and I are going on a New England roadtrip.

We’re from New Brunswick, Canada and we’ll be using my mom’s 8-passenger SUV.

I know that a notarized letter of permission will be helpful in the border-crossing, but I’ve only recently gotten my driver’s license, meaning that I can only drive with two passengers.

Would it be okay for my mom to give one of my friends permission to drive her car? And would this introduce any issues regarding insurance? Or is it okay for my mom to use my name, even if I’m not the one driving the car across the border?

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  • By recent drivers license, do you mean you don't have a full license? Most Canadian provinces have a graduated drivers license program, I don't think it's a good idea to drive across the border on a less than full license because each state you drive into might treat that license differently. IMHO it would be better for your group of friends to rent a car with someone who has a full unrestricted license renting the said car.
    – nikhil
    Mar 13, 2023 at 3:45
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    They can be quite hard on young folks traveling alone at the border. Be prepared for a serious inspection of the vehicle and a lot of questions. It may not happen, but be prepared. Certainly don't have anything in there that might cause problems. As well as (obviously) contraband that includes anything that might be interpreted as tools of a trade (band instruments or whatever). Mar 13, 2023 at 5:58
  • No, I don’t have my full driver’s license, but three of my friends do. We would like to avoid renting a car (for expense purposes), and that’s why we’re thinking of just using my mom’s car with a notarized letter of permission. As per my question, is it okay for my mom to name me on the document, or would it have to be the person who will be driving across the border? Mar 13, 2023 at 11:41
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    If you have 5 passengers, how are you able to drive at all? If One of your friends will be driving, then the letter and the insurance etc must all be in their name. Mar 13, 2023 at 13:50
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    I forgot to mention that all of us are 21. Mar 14, 2023 at 14:04

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There are multiple levels of learner's permit for New Brunswick, but I'll assume the least restrictive version, the Class 7.

https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/services/services_renderer.200815.Learner_s_Licence_(Class_7).html

This class stipulates that you cannot have more than 3 passengers:

  • Cannot have more than three passengers in their vehicle and no more than one passenger in the front seat.

You also need someone with a Class 5 license and also other conditions:

  • Must be accompanied by only one passenger who has a Class 5 or better licence, at least three years of driving experience and who is seated in the front passenger seat.

Regarding letting one of your friends drive, their name most likely will need to be registered to the insurance. Insurances will absolutely not cover your friends automatically. Some do allow coverage during temporary loans of vehicles, but the conditions of such are per insurer and non-standardized, so your mom will need to call them to figure out if this option is available.

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  • Two of my friends have been driving for more than three years, while another has been driving for almost three. We’re all 21. Mar 14, 2023 at 14:08
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    @MegGuerrero Note that the insurance coverage on the vehicle must extend to anyone who'll drive the vehicle, and do so in both Canada and in the United States, and meet whatever insurance requirements are imposed in any US state where the vehicle will be driven. Mar 16, 2023 at 14:37
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    Most North American auto insurance covers "anyone driving with the permission of the owner". Mar 16, 2023 at 16:47
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    @DJClayworth Do we know if the OP's parents' Canadian insurance policy covers "anyone driving with the permission of the owner?" We do not. Mar 16, 2023 at 21:17
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    @DavidSupportsMonica thank you for the helpful advice. I will make sure to ask my mom about the insurance. Mar 16, 2023 at 23:58

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