Driving a vehicle for the first time can be challenging – for teens and their parents. To assist ease that fear, many states have brought a graduated driver’s license (GDL). A GDL makes young drivers to develop good driving habits through three stages:
- Learner’s permit, which needs up to 50 hours of driving with an experienced driver
- Intermediate license, which limits nighttime driving and driving with other teens in the vehicle
- Full license, which includes all driving privileges
Night driving restrictions
Nighttime driving is same thing as high-risk driving. Besides fatigue, factors adding to nighttime crashes include:
- Inexperience with night driving (and driving in general)
- Lower visibility, including too the glare of oncoming headlights
- Driving with teen passengers who create distractions and may encourage risk-taking behaviors
In many states, restricted hours are in operation in the early morning hours, such as between midnight and 6 a.m. Check in with your state’s DMV or BMV for specific laws around GDL restrictions. Depending on where your location is, your teen may be able to get a restricted license that limits unsupervised night driving, if they’ve had a learner’s permit for at least six months. It’s also a good idea to set personal expectations with your teen about when they should and shouldn’t drive, and make them aware of the risks of nighttime driving.
What are GDL Passenger Restrictions?
Passenger restrictions restrict the number of passengers teen drivers may have in their vehicle. Why limit passengers?
- A decade’s worth of national travel data indicates that fatal accidents increase by 30% when other teens are in the car
- Passengers may influence risk-taking behaviors
- Alcohol and other drug use may be more likely to affect decision-making when one or more passengers are present
Graduated Driver’s License Levels
In some states, advancing to the next licensing level depends on having a violation-free driving record. Become familiar with your state’s laws, offered on the Governors Highway Safety Association’s website. You may also include parts of a GDL in a parent/teen driving agreement.