Graduated Driver Licensing Laws

Teenage drivers are twice as likely as adult drivers to be in a fatal
crash. Despite a 53-percent decline in driver fatalities of 15- to
19-year-olds between 2005 and 2014, young drivers are significantly
over-represented in fatal crashes.

Our research tells us that immaturity and inexperience are primary
factors contributing to these deadly crashes. Both lead to high-risk
behavior behind the wheel: driving at nighttime, driving after drinking
any amount of alcohol, and driving distracted by teenage passengers and
electronic devices.
To address these problems, all States and the District of Columbia
have enacted graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws to give young drivers
more time to learn the complex skills required to operate a vehicle
under less risky circumstances.
While driver education classes can teach road rules and safe driving
practices, they’re only part of a GDL program designed to ease teens
onto the roadway by controlling their exposure to progressively more
difficult driving experiences.

How Does the GDL System Work?

GDL laws vary from State to State, but all GDL programs consist of
three stages, identified by the type of license, provisions, and
restrictions. Novice drivers 15 to 18 years old must demonstrate
responsible driving behavior during each stage of licensing before
advancing to the next level.
NHTSA recommends the following provisions and restrictions for each stage:

Stage 1:
Learner’s Permit
– Minimum age
– Minimum duration
– Required supervised driving hours

Stage 2:
Intermediate (Provisional) License
– Minimum age
– Nighttime driving restriction
– Passenger restriction (except for family, unless noted)

Stage 3:
Full Licensure
–  Minimum age.

What are the GDL Laws in My State?

Because the laws vary, it is essential to find out your own State’s GDL laws.
While you’re at it, check out your licensing agency’s Web site for the
driver manual your kids read and a parent guide to supervised driving.
Many States require parents to certify their teens have completed a
certain amount of supervised driving practice – usually 40 to 50 hours –
before they qualify for an intermediate license. Other States require a
6- to 12-month holding period. It’s a good idea to keep a daily log of
your teen’s driving because some States will ask for it.

What Can I Do to Make Sure My Teen Follows the GDL Laws?

While GDL laws have proven effective, they are difficult to enforce.
Imagine the challenges police face determining your teen driver’s age
after 9:00 p.m. That’s why your oversight is so important. Set driving ground rules with your teen and explain the consequences for breaking them; then get it in writing and, most importantly, enforce the rules.

In a Nutshell
  • Learn your State’s GDL laws using this interactive State map.
  • Check out your licensing agency’s Web site for the driver manual your kids read and a parent guide to supervised driving.
  • Keep a daily log of your teen’s driving because some States will ask for it.
  • Set driving ground rules with your teen and explain the
    consequences; then get it in writing and, most importantly, enforce the
    rules.

Read more at: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/TeenDriving/graduated.htm

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