Graduated Driver Licensing Made Simple | Allstate Foundation
So kids getting a driver’s license huh? Yeah, clear the roads. Seriously though, it can be a little intimidating to put your new driver behind the wheel. Just look at the statistics. Teens between the ages of 15 and 19 are much more likely than experienced drivers to be in a crash. In fact about half of new teen drivers will be involved in a crash before they graduate from high school. States nationwide have been taking note of this trend and have committed to doing something about it. That’s why many states have adopted Graduated Driver Licensing regulations. Graduated Driver Licensing is a system that is proven effective at reducing teen drivers’ high crash risk, by 20 to 40 percent. Some of these regulations may seem complicated at first but don’t worry I am here to help. Welcome to Graduated Driver Licensing made simple. Each state has it’s own specific rules and requirements. But here is where you would find a general overview of what just the Graduated Driver Licensing program or GDL looks like and how it works. You can check with your motor vehicle department for details specific to your state. Meet Daniel and his mom Kay. They are about to start on the great adventure of the GDL, as soon as Daniel reaches his state’s driving age limit he is ready for Graduated Driver Licensing. Step 1. Applying for his learner permit. In most states he will first need to complete or be enrolled in driver training or education in order to start this step. Next, he and his parent or guardian would head to a state’s motor vehicle department where he’ll take a written exam and a vision test. If he passes he’ll receive a learner’s permit. That’s where the fun part begins. During this phase Daniel will spent a set number of practice hours behind the wheel with a parent, guardian or a qualified adult. Most states require daytime and night time hours. And some also call for practice during differing weather and road conditions. The supervised driving period is really important because it gives experienced drivers a chance to make sure that their protégé is learning excellent safety practices behind the wheel. Meet Amanda and her uncle Jason. Amanda has just completed her practice hours and her learner’s permit phase of the GDL. She’s now ready for the second phase, which begins with a road test. To take the test she and Jason head to their local motor vehicle department where Amada will showoff her shiny new driving skills. With a passing score here, she’ll enter the intermediate stage of the GDL. Now she can finally drive unsupervised. During the intermediate phase there are safety regulations in place to keep Amanda safe while she continues to learn. Each state has a specific number of months or age at which the intermediate phase ends. Until then there will be restrictions on when, why and with whom Amanda can drive. These restrictions are in place to minimize risk and distractions and maximize the experience [music playing in car] Amanda knows it’s important to stay alert and aware while she’s driving, because in every state the law has specific provisions for intermediate drivers. Repeated accidents or injuries caused by drivers with an intermediate license carry fines and can even result in their license being suspended. Of course, although Amanda can drive un-supervised during this period, research shows that the more hours a parent spends with their teen behind the wheel the better a driver they become. After completing her state’s intermediate license period all GDL safety restrictions will be lifted. At this point Amanda is a fully licensed, unrestricted, ready-to-go driving machine. But a parent’s role is hardly done. In fact the first year after a teen is fully licensed is one of most dangerous for them on the road. So parents should plan on riding in the car with a teen, whether to the mall or a sporting event frequently. And of course through the entire process parents can serve as role models for their teens by using safe driving practices when their teens are in the car. That includes wearing seat belts, following speed limits and avoiding distractions. Hopefully this handy guide has helped you made sense of the ins and outs of Graduated Driver Licensing and why it’s so important. For more information and specific rules for your own state and cool resources, check out allstatefoundation.org/teen-driving. Happy and safe driving.