Graduated Driver Licensing (+Infographic)
Graduated Driver Licensing
What is the graduated driver licensing system and why is it important?
All 50 states have implemented some sort of Graduated Driver Licensing system (GDL) to help make sure that new young drivers go through a process that makes them gain valuable experience on the roads. A GDL system is designed to gradually give a driver access to more freedom over time as they become more familiar with the ways of driving.
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 16-19. This is often associated with teenagers’ lack of driving experience, and their higher likelihood to take risks and be distracted. Requiring new inexperienced drivers to start small and work their way up to a full driver’s license helps make sure that they have important skills that will be with them throughout their life.
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Stages of Graduated Driver Licensing
A graduated driver licensing system is a lot like taking a class at school. You begin with introductory information to establish a foundation, then you use that knowledge and practice it. At the end of the class, you have a final exam to make sure that you understand how to use and implement your new knowledge! When it comes to driving, teens usually begin with a learner’s permit or temporary license, then move to some sort of intermediate stage where there are fewer restrictions and rules. After enough time passes and the driver has had enough practice, they can then get their official state driver’s license.
When someone holds a learner’s permit, they have the most restrictions on their driving ability. During this time, the biggest requirement is that a parent or guardian (21 or older) sits in the front passenger seat anytime the teen is driving. During this time, there are usually other restrictions in place too. For example, the hours that a driver is allowed to be driving.
After new drivers have had some time to get acclimated to the driving environment, they can move into an intermediate stage. During this stage, they will still have restrictions and limitations on their driving ability, but less than when they were in the learner’s permit stage.
Official Driver’s License
The time when someone can graduate to a driver’s license varies, but usually happens after you have had a permit for a certain amount of time or once you reach a specific age. Once you have the official license, all of the restrictions that were placed on new drivers are lifted.