How Does a Graduated License Work?

By December 6, 2016Safety

How Does a Graduated License Work?

According to the Governors Highway Association report in December 2016, Novice drivers have higher crash rates. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs allow young drivers to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges.

Most GDL programs include three stages:

Learner Stage: Supervised driving, cumulating with a driving test
Intermediate Stage: Limiting unsupervised driving in high-risk situations
Full Privilege Stage: A standard driver’s license

GDL driving restrictions for novice drivers vary from state to state, the three below are the most common:

  1. Cell Phones/Texting: 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. (See GHSA’s Cell Phone laws page for more information.)
  2. Nighttime Driving Restriction: 48 states and D.C. restrict nighttime driving during the intermediate stage.
  3. Passenger Restriction: 46 states and D.C. restrict the number of passengers during the intermediate stage.

Curious about the GDL Laws in Your State?

Click here to find out your own State’s GDL laws. You can also check out your licensing agency’s Web site for the driver manual your teen can read and a parent guide to supervised driving.

Most States require parents to certify their teen has completed the required amount of supervised driving practice – ranging anywhere from 30 to 50 hours – before your new driver can qualify for their intermediate license. Some States also require a 6 to 12-month waiting period.

A very simplistic Teen, Parent driving log is available here for download. More examples are available here.

A Parent’s engagement and oversight are crucial in enforcing their teen follow the GDL laws. 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.

Available for download is a sample parent/teen driving contract. Additional examples are available here.

December 2016 Proposed GDL Updates

In a report released December 1, 2016, by the National Safety Council (NSC) and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) both organizations are calling for a three-step, multi-year licensing system that applies to all new drivers younger than 21 (rather than the current law that only applies to drivers age 18 or younger).

Recommended requirements would include:

  1. A mandatory in-vehicle technology to track practice hours
  2. A full-year ban on carrying passengers and driving at night
  3. Decals to aid identification
  4. On-going driver’s education classes
  5. Parents would also be required to spend at least 50 hours supervising their teens driving
Heather White

Author Heather White

Communications professional with 15+ years’ experience in the hi-tech industry interfacing with executive-level members, technical staff, sales and the valued end-client.

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