Graduated Drivers Licenses

What You Should Know About: 

Driver education and graduated licensing for teen drivers

Graduated Drivers License (GDL) Laws are improving safety - expanding driving privileges as teen drivers gain needed experience

Three things you should know:

  1. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have three-stage Graduated Drivers License (GDL) systems in place, but the systems vary according to each state.
  2. Research by the IIHS has shown that states with the strongest laws have seen greater reductions in teen driver deaths.
  3. Graduated licensing has reduced teen crashes 10-30 percent on average, according to IIHS.

Young drivers tend to overestimate their driving abilities and underestimate the dangers of the road, which is why motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the United States. To address the high fatality rate among teenage drivers, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have adopted three-stage Graduated Drivers License (GDL) programs. The GDL program allows teenagers to gradually receive full driving privileges and gain experience behind the wheel during reduced-risk conditions.

Every state has some form of restriction on young drivers. The three phases of GDLs require:

  • A learner’s permit for a minimum period, usually six months, followed by;
  • An intermediate license, which allows unsupervised driving with some restrictions, such as no nighttime driving for 12 months or until the driver reaches the age of 18, and/or no passengers in the vehicle (other than family members) for six months, followed by;
  • A full privileges license with no restrictions.

To learn more about the GDL program in your state, visit the IIHS website for details or visit the Keys2Drive page on AAA’s website about teen driver safety and licensing for each state.

Information about when and how to enroll your teen in a GDL program in Washington, Oregon or Idaho can be found at these links: