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.

National Organizations Bring State-Level Recognition to Student Traffic Safety Projects

March 2, 2017

Contact: Ashley Pournaras, apournaras@fcclainc.org


Ford Driving Skills for Life and Governors Highway Safety Association Join Family, Career and Community Leaders of America in Connecting Students to State Representatives to Increase Traffic Safety Awareness

Ford Driving Skills for Life

Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) teaches teens the skills they need to be safe on the roads. The program features a website, hands-on driving events, and other materials – focusing on these key skill areas: driver distraction, speed and space management, vehicle handling, and hazard recognition.

See below for the latest activities.

Teen Driver Safety

Teen and new driver inexperience, coupled with immaturity, often results in risk-taking behaviors such as speeding, alcohol use and not wearing a seat belt—all of which contribute to an increased death rate. In fact, teen drivers have crash rates three times those of drivers age 20 and older per mile driven. And the problem continues to grow.1 In 2016, the number of young drivers 16 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes increased by 3.6 percent.2

Ford Motor Company Fund/Ford Driving Skills for Life

Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) is one of the nation's most comprehensive, award-winning, teen driver safety programs. It was developed by Ford Motor Company Fund in partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts in 2003 and has grown to operate in 33 countries. Ford DSFL teaches newly licensed drivers necessary skills for safe driving through behind-the-wheel training, online learning through The Academy, innovative classroom curriculums, peer-to-peer school programming and awareness campaigns.


Allstate is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance. The company has a long history of promoting safety on America’s roadways. This effort dates back to the 1950s, when Allstate stood at the forefront of driver education nationwide. Other noteworthy efforts include airbag and passive restraint advocacy, tougher DUI laws, bumper improvements and theft prevention.

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