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Chapter 02 - Driver's License

Chapter 02 - Driver's License

22.0201 Requirement-Exceptions.


(a) No person may operate any motor vehicle in American Samoa without a valid driver’s license issued by the Commissioner, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

(b) The following persons, if over the age of 18 years, are exempt from the licensing requirements of this section:

(1) a nonresident on active duty in the armed forces of the United States who has a valid license issued by his home state, and such nonresident’s spouse or dependent son or daughter who has a valid license issued by such person’s home state;

(2) a nonresident who has in his possession a valid driver’s license issued to him by another jurisdiction may operate a vehicle in American Samoa for a period not to exceed 30 days.

22.0202 Types of licenses-Learner’s permit.


(a) Only 2 types of driver’s licenses shall be issued in American Samoa: a provisional driver’s license and a private driver’s license.

(b) A learner’s permit shall be considered a driver’s license for purpose of authorizing a person to operate a motor vehicle in American Samoa.

(c) The issuance of any licenses to operate motor vehicles in the Territory of American Samoa other than those specifically authorized in this section is prohibited, except that any government or private enterprise may issue permits for the purpose of allowing their employees to operate motor vehicles owned by the government or private enterprise. Such permit shall contain the following language: “THIS PERMIT IS NOT A DRIVER’S LICENSE. IT DOES NOT SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF 22.0201 REQUIRING THE PERSON TO WHOM THIS PERMIT IS ISSUED TO POSSESS A VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE BEFORE OPERATING ANY MOTOR VEHICLE IN THE TERRITORY OF AMERICAN SAMOA.”

The requirements of this subsection shall apply to commercial driver’s permits.

22.0203 License qualifications-Establishment.


The Commissioner shall establish such qualifications as he believes reasonably necessary for the safe operation of the various types, sizes and combinations of vehicles and shall appropriately examine each applicant to determine his qualifications according to the type of license applied for.

22.0204 Operator’s license.


(a) No person may be permitted to obtain an operator’s license before reaching the age of 18 unless he has successfully completed an approved course in driver’s education. Persons who have successfully completed an approved course in driver’s education may obtain their operator’s license at age 16.

(b) The applicant for an operator’s license must provide legal proof of age and identification such as a birth certificate or passport.

(c) The applicant must pass examinations on the traffic rules and traffic signs of American Samoa, and must pass a vision test with a minimum vision acuity level of 20/40 corrected.

(d) The applicant must pass a road test.

(e) The applicant must pay the required fees.

(f) The parent or guardian of all applicants under the age of 18 shall:

(1) submit written consent to the Office of Motor Vehicles before issuance of an operator s license; and

(2) be financially responsible at all times for the operation of the vehicle by the applicant.

(g) Persons who hold a valid driver’s license from another jurisdiction may be issued an American Samoa operator’s license by producing that license for inspection at the Office of Motor Vehicles or, if the license is not available, then a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles in that jurisdiction stating that the driver’s license has not been canceled and is not currently suspended shall suffice. For purposes of this paragraph, "jurisdiction" means places other than American Samoa.

22.0205 Learner’s permit.


(a) No person may be permitted to obtain a learner’s permit before reaching the age 18 provided that persons enrolled in driver education may obtain their learner’s permit at age 16.

(b) The applicant for a learner’s permit must provide proof of age and identification such as birth certificate or passport.

(c) The applicant must pass examinations on the traffic rules and traffic signs of American Samoa, and must pass a vision test with a minimum vision acuity level of 20/40 corrected.

(d) The applicant must pay the required fees.

(e) While learning to operate a motor vehicle on the public roads, the learner shall be in pos-session of his learner’s permit and shall be accompanied by a competent, licensed driver in the front seat.

(f) The parent or guardian of all learners under the age of 18 shall:

(1) submit written consent to the Office of Motor Vehicles before issuance of a learner’s permit; and

(2) be financially responsible at all times for the operation of the vehicle by the learner.

(g) Any person, regardless of previous driving experience, who does not qualify for a private driver’s license, shall be licensed to drive in American Samoa as a provisional driver; provided, that no provisional driver’s license shall be issued to any person unless he:

(1) is 18 years of age or more;

(2) has successfully completed examinations designed to test his driving skill and knowledge of the provisions of this title;

(3) has paid all driver’s license fees; and

(4) has otherwise complied with the applicable provisions of this title.

22.0206 Qualifications for school bus driver’s permit.


(a) No person under the age of 21 years may drive any school bus transporting school children.

(b) The Commissioner shall not issue a permit for the driving of a school bus carrying children unless the applicant has had at least one year of driving experience prior thereto and the Commissioner is fully satisfied as to the applicant’s good character, competency, and fitness to be so employed.

22.0207 License application-Issuance and contents-Fees.


(a) Application for a driver’s license shall be made to the Commissioner on such forms as are prescribed by the Commissioner.

(b) The Commissioner shall issue to every applicant qualifying there for a driver’s license indicating the type or general class of vehicles the licensee may drive, which license shall bear thereon a distinguishing number assigned to the licensee, the full name, date of birth, residence address and a brief description and a photograph of the licensee, and either a facsimile of the signature of the licensee or a space upon which the licensee shall write his usual signature with pen and ink immediately upon receipt of the license, and such other information as is determined necessary by the Commissioner.

(c) No license may be valid until it has been signed by the licensee.

(d) A license shall be issued to a person only under the name of that person as shown on his social security card.

22.0208 License fees.


(a) The following license fees are established:

(1) 3-year motor vehicle Private driver license, $12.00;

(2) 6-month learner’s permit $5.00; (3) Visitor permit, $9.00; (4) Provisional driver license, $9.00;

(5) Commercial driver license, $8.00;

(6) Renewal of Private driver license, $12.00;

(7) Renewal of Commercial driver license, $8.00;

(8) Duplicate Provisional driver license, $6.00;

(9) Duplicate Private driver license, $6.00;

(10) Duplicate Commercial driver license, $6.00.

(b) For purposes of this section only, a total of $4.00 from each fee paid shall be placed in a revenue fund for the Department of Public Safety for law enforcement costs and maintenance and supplies for production of driver licenses.

(c) For purposes of this section, the definitions in 22.0101 apply.

22.0209 Expiration and renewal of driver’s license.


(a) All private driver’s licenses shall expire 3 years from the date of issue. They shall be renewable on or before their expiration upon application, payment of the required fee, and satisfactory completion of such examinations as may be required by the Commissioner.

(b) A provisional driver’s license shall expire when the licensee has completed 2 years’ experience as a provisional driver, excluding any time during which the license was suspended. At the time of expiration, the provisional licensee shall be eligible for a private driver’s license.

22.0210 Possession and display of license or permit.


Every person shall have a driver’s license or learner’s permit in his immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall display the same upon demand of a police officer. However, no person charged with violating this section may be convicted if he produces in court a driver’s license or learner’s permit theretofore issued to him and valid at the time of his arrest.

22.0211 Suspension or revocation for driving under the influence.


(a) A court shall, upon conviction of driving under the influence under 22.0707 or 22.0708, suspend or revoke a license as follows:

(1) upon first conviction, for a period of 6 months;

(2) upon second conviction, for a period of 2 years;

(3) upon third conviction, permanently;

(4) notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), if the court finds after hearing that a person has demonstrated habitual substance abuse which indicates he cannot safely drive a motor vehicle, the court may permanently revoke his license.

(b) If bodily injury or death of a person is caused by reason of such intoxication, the period of suspension may be doubled by the court.

(c) Periods of suspension or revocation shall be imposed to take effect only after completion of any period of incarceration or detention.

22.0212 Suspension or revocation for careless driving, or fleeing from or attempting to elude police officer.


The court may, upon conviction of careless driving, or fleeing from or attempting to elude a police officer under 22.0701 and 22.0705, suspend or revoke a license as follows:

(1) upon first conviction, for a period of 60 days;

(2) upon second conviction, for a period of 180 days;

(3) upon third and subsequent convictions, for a period of 1 year;

(4) notwithstanding paragraph (3), if the person has 4 or more convictions of serious traffic offenses, his license may be revoked permanently.

22.0213 Suspension or revocation for reckless driving or homicide by vehicle.


(a) The court may, upon conviction of reckless driving or homicide by vehicle under 22.0702 and 22.0706, suspend or revoke a license as follows:

(1) upon first conviction, for a period of 180 days;

(2) upon second and subsequent convictions, for a period of 2 years;

(3) notwithstanding paragraph (2), if the person has 3 convictions of serious traffic offenses within a 10-year period, his license may be revoked permanently.

(b) For conviction of homicide by vehicle, periods of suspension may be double those set out in subsection (a).

22.0214 Suspension or revocation for offenses not specifically provided for.


For all offenses contained in this title for which a suspension or revocation period is not otherwise specified, the court, upon conviction and in addition to other specified penalties, may suspend or revoke a license as follows:

(1) upon the first conviction, for a period not to exceed 14 days:

(2) upon the second conviction, for a period not to exceed 90 days,

(3) upon a third or subsequent conviction, for a period not to exceed 180 days;

(4) notwithstanding paragraph (3), if the person has 4 or more convictions within a period of 2 years for offenses under this title, his license may be suspended for a period of 1 year.

22.0215 Suspension or revocation by discretion of court.


Notwithstanding 22.0211 through 22.0214, a court may, in its discretion, suspend or revoke the license of any driver who has been convicted of any offense under this title and who is shown to the court’s satisfaction to be incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle because of physical or psychological infirmity or impairment, ignorance of safe motor vehicle operation or traffic laws, or gross disregard for the safety of himself and others.

22.0216 Conviction defined.


As used in 22.0211 through 22.0215, “conviction” includes those offenses to which a person pleads guilty by utilizing the procedure set forth in this title for payment of fine in lieu of court appearance.

22.0217 Surrender of suspended or revoked license-Notation on reissued or new license.


A license suspended or revoked pursuant to 22.0211 through 22.0215 shall be surrendered to the Commissioner for the period of the suspension and may not be reissued, nor may any new license be issued without recording thereon the offense for which the license was suspended or revoked.

22.0218 Suspension of provisional driver’s license.


(a) Any holder of a provisional driver’s license who has been issued a uniform traffic complaint-summons must surrender his license to the Commissioner in addition to the payment of the required fine if the complaint-summons charges a moving traffic offense or serious traffic offense and the licensee files a plea of guilty to the charge before the violations bureau, or if the licensee is found guilty of such charge in a proceeding in the district court.

(b) If the offense charged is a moving traffic offense, the period of suspension shall be:

(1) for first offense, 1 month:

(2) for second offense, 3 months;

(3) for third offense, 9 months;

(4) for fourth or subsequent offenses for a period specified by the court, but not less than 1 year.

(c) The period of suspension for serious traffic offenses shall be determined with reference to the schedule for moving traffic offenses except that each serious traffic offense shall count is 2 moving traffic offenses.

22.0219 Driving while license is suspended.


The Clerk of the High Court, upon receiving a record of the conviction of any person upon a charge of driving a vehicle while his provisional or private license is suspended shall extend the period of such suspension for an additional like period unless otherwise directed by the court.

22.0220 Cancellation of license.


The Commissioner may cancel any provisional or private driver’s license upon determining that the licensee was not entitled to the issuance thereof or that the licensee failed to give the required or correct information in his application.

22.0221 Reexamination of licensees.


The Commissioner, having good cause to believe that a licensed driver (provisional or private) is incompetent or is otherwise not qualified to be licensed, may, upon written notice of at least 5 days to the licensee, require him to submit to art examination. Upon the conclusion of such examination, the Commissioner shall take such action as may be appropriate and may suspend or revoke the license of such person, permit him to retain such license, or issue a license subject to physical operational restrictions or restrictions as to the type or class of vehicles that may be driven. Refusal or neglect of the licensee to submit to such examination shall be grounds for suspension or revocation of his license.

22.0222 Misdemeanor.


It is a class B misdemeanor for any person to (1) display, or cause or permit to be displayed, or have in his possession, any canceled, revoked, suspended, fictitious or fraudulently altered driver’s license:

(2) lend his driver’s license to any other person or knowingly permit the use thereof by another;

(3) display or represent as one’s own any driver’s license not issued to him;

(4) fail or refuse to surrender to the commissioner upon lawful demand, any driver’s license which has been suspended, revoked or canceled;

(5) use a false or fictitious name in any application for a driver’s license or to knowingly conceal a material tact or otherwise commit a fraud in any such application;

(6) permit any unlawful use of a driver’s license issued to him;

(7) cause or knowingly permit his child or ward under the age of 18 years to drive a motor vehicle upon any highway when such minor is not authorized to drive under this chapter or is in violation of any provision of this chapter;

(8) authorize or knowingly permit a motor vehicle owned by him or under his control to be driven upon any highway by any person who is not licensed for the type of class of vehicle to be driven, or in violation of any provision of this chapter;

(9) do any act forbidden, or fail to perform any act required, by this chapter.

22.0223 Felony driving while license is suspended.


Any person who drives a motor vehicle while his license is suspended pursuant to 22.0211 shall be guilty of a class D felony and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to serve at least 90 days in custody.