Teen and Novice Drivers

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs allow young drivers to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges. Most programs include three stages:

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

During the 1990s, many states began enacting GDL laws. The programs and types of restrictions vary from state to state. Below are some highlights:

  • 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.)
  • Nighttime Driving Restriction: All states except Vermont restrict nighttime driving during the intermediate stage.
  • Passenger Restriction: 46 states and D.C. restrict the number of passengers during the intermediate stage.
  • Novice Driver Decal: New Jersey is the only state with a measure requiring those younger than 21 without full-privilege licenses to display a decal on their vehicle identifying them as new drivers.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on GDL laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.

Short Term Description
Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs allow young drivers to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges.

Ford DSFL and NRSF Grant Results: Montana

In 2018, Montana’s State Highway Traffic Safety Office (SHTSS) was awarded grants by both Ford Driving Skills for Life and The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc.'s partnerships with GHSA. With these funds, SHTSS launched a statewide contest between Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapters to create peer-to-peer teen safe driving campaigns, with an emphasis on drowsy driving.

White Lake High School receives $10K from 'Lesson Learned SD' Program

The South Dakota Office of Highway Safety has completed another year of its "Lessons Learned SD" campaign, which encourages young drivers to watch and respond to safe driving videos. Office of Highway Safety Director and GHSA Treasurer Lee Axdahl comments on the campaign.

White Lake High School receives $10K from 'Lesson Learned SD' Program

September 19, 2018

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