Graduated Driver Licensing Laws

What is Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) Laws?

Graduated licensing is a method of licensing used for granting individuals, typically teens, the privilege to perform a task that takes skill and may put other individuals at risk of harm if not done properly, notably driving.

GDL laws let novice drivers get on-road driving experience gradually and under lower-risk conditions.

Why are young drivers risky drivers?

  • Inexperience
  • Immaturity

Destracted Driving - Friends

Young drivers tend to overestimate their own driving abilities and, at the same time, underestimate the dangers on the road.
Know the Facts:

  • In the US, the crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is 3 times the risk for older drivers.
  • A total of 2,700 teenagers ages 16-19 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010.
  • 83% of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2009 were passenger vehicle occupants.
  • In 2010, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was almost two times that of their female counterparts.
  • States with nighttime driving restrictions show crash reductions of up to 60% during restricted hours.
  • GDL has been shown to reduce crashes by young drivers.
What are the stages of GDL Laws?
    1. Learner Stage: supervised driving, cumulating with a driving test;
    2. Intermediate Stage: limiting unsupervised driving in high risk situations; and
    3. Full Privilege Stage: a standard driver's license.

    Here are some examples:

    Stage 1: Learner’s Permit

  • State sets minimum age for a learner’s permit at no younger than age 16;
  • Pass vision and knowledge tests, including rules of the road, signs, and signals;
  • Completion of basic driver training;
  • Licensed adult (who is at least 21 years old) required in the vehicle at all times;
  • All occupants must wear seat belts;
  • Teenage-passenger restrictions;
  • Zero alcohol while driving;
  • Permit is visually distinctive from other driver licenses;
  • Must remain crash and conviction free for at least six months to advance to next level;
  • Parental certification of 30 to 50 practice hours; and
  • No use of portable electronic communication and entertainment devices.

Stage 2: Intermediate (Provisional) License

  • Completion of Stage 1;
  • State sets minimum age of 16.5;
  • Pass a behind the wheel road test;
  • Completion of advanced driver education training (safe driving decision-making, risk education, etc.)
  • All occupants must wear seat belts;
  • Licensed adult required in the vehicle from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. (e.g., nighttime driving restriction);
  • Zero alcohol while driving;
  • Driver improvement actions are initiated at lower point level than for regular drivers;
  • Provisional license is visually distinctive from a regular license;
  • Teenage-passenger restrictions: not more than one teenage passenger for the first 12 months of intermediate license. Afterward, limit the number of teenage passengers to two until age 18;
  • Must remain crash and conviction free for at least 12 consecutive months to advance to the next stage;
  • Supervised practice; and
  • No use of portable electronic communication and entertainment devices.

Stage 3: Full Licensure

  • Completion of Stage 2;
  • State sets minimum age of 18 for lifting passenger and nighttime restrictions; and
  • Zero alcohol while driving.

Cell Phone and Texting Laws
Printable GDL Laws By State

Sources: NHTSA, IIHS, Allstate Foundation, GHSA

GDL Laws & Teens
What is Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) Laws?
Graduated licensing is a method of licensing used for granting individuals, typically teens, the privilege to perform a task that takes skill and may put other individuals at risk of harm if not done properly, notably driving.
GDL laws let novice drivers get on-road driving experience gradually and under lower-risk conditions.
Why are young drivers risky drivers?
  • Inexperience
  • Immaturity
Young drivers tend to overestimate their own driving abilities and, at the same time, underestimate the dangers on the road.
Know the Facts:
  • In the US, the crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is 3 times the risk for older drivers.
  • In 2011, there were 4,767 fatalities in crashes involving young drivers.  67% were young drivers or passengers of young drivers, 10% were nonoccupants and 23% were occupants of other vehicles.
  • In 2010, 10% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were between 15 and 20 years old.
  • A total of 1,987 young drivers (age 15-20) died in motor vehicle crashes.
  • 180,000 young drivers were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2011.
  • A total of 3,466 teenagers ages 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2009.
  • About 2 out of every 3 teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 were males.
  • States with nighttime driving restrictions show crash reductions of up to 60% during restricted hours.
  • GDL has been shown to reduce crashes by young drivers.

    What are the stages of GDL Laws?

    1. Learner Stage: supervised driving, cumulating with a driving test;
    2. Intermediate Stage: limiting unsupervised driving in high risk situations; and
    3. Full Privilege Stage: a standard driver's license.

    Here are some examples:

    Stage 1: Learner’s Permit

  • State sets minimum age for a learner’s permit at no younger than age 16;
  • Pass vision and knowledge tests, including rules of the road, signs, and signals;
  • Completion of basic driver training;
  • Licensed adult (who is at least 21 years old) required in the vehicle at all times;
  • All occupants must wear seat belts;
  • Teenage-passenger restrictions;
  • Zero alcohol while driving;
  • Permit is visually distinctive from other driver licenses;
  • Must remain crash and conviction free for at least six months to advance to next level;
  • Parental certification of 30 to 50 practice hours; and
  • No use of portable electronic communication and entertainment devices.
Stage 2: Intermediate (Provisional) License
  • Completion of Stage 1;
  • State sets minimum age of 16.5;
  • Pass a behind the wheel road test;
  • Completion of advanced driver education training (safe driving decision-making, risk education, etc.)
  • All occupants must wear seat belts;
  • Licensed adult required in the vehicle from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. (e.g., nighttime driving restriction);
  • Zero alcohol while driving;
  • Driver improvement actions are initiated at lower point level than for regular drivers;
  • Provisional license is visually distinctive from a regular license;
  • Teenage-passenger restrictions: not more than one teenage passenger for the first 12 months of intermediate license. Afterward, limit the number of teenage passengers to two until age 18;
  • Must remain crash and conviction free for at least 12 consecutive months to advance to the next stage;
  • Supervised practice; and
  • No use of portable electronic communication and entertainment devices.
Stage 3: Full Licensure
  • Completion of Stage 2;
  • State sets minimum age of 18 for lifting passenger and nighttime restrictions; and
  • Zero alcohol while driving.
Sources: NHTSA, IIHS, Allstate Foundation, GHSA