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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: 37 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: 47 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.
Enforcement of laws against texting while driving sharply reduces fatalities among teenage drivers, according to a new analysis.
Story by Nicholas Bakalar
June 2, 2020
Closed schools, fewer activities, less opportunity for summer jobs and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions could prove dangerous for the nation’s teens as they take to the roads this summer.
Story by Tanya Mohn
May 30, 2020
In a finding that illustrates how distracted driving laws are saving lives, researchers report that car crash deaths among teens plunged by one-third during a period when the number of U.S. states with such laws on the books tripled.
Story by Alan Mozes
May 15, 2020
As news of coronavirus (COVID-19) sweeps the planet, a recently published analysis draws attention to another global public health issue: dangerous roads.
Story by Tanya Mohn
March 19, 2020
Ford has partnered with the Governors Highway Safety Association to create the Ford Driving Skills for Life tour. This 18-city tour will include 80 completely free hands-on safe driving clinics for teens and their parents.
Story by Jared Rosenholtz
January 24, 2020
Through a grant from Ford Driving Skills for Life and GHSA, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) challenged five high schools across the state during the 2018-2019 school year to develop a three-minute educational video about Tennessee's Graduated Driver License (GDL) laws and regulations. Each of the five schools received $2,500 in equipment to create the video.
In April of 2019, through a grant from Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) and GHSA, the Nebraska Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office (NDOT-HSO) educated 16 teen drivers about the importance of safe driving.
Through a grant from Ford Driving Skills for Life and GHSA, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission partnered with the Cascade Pacific Action Alliance's (CPAA's) Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program (YMPEP) for a campaign warning teens about the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving.
Ford Driving Skills for Life hosted four sessions of its teen driver safety training in Columbus, Ohio. The program, founded by Ford Motor Company Fund and GHSA, helps young drivers improve their skills in hazard recognition, vehicle handling, and speed and space management.
Story by Danielle Grossman
June 9, 2019