Graduated Drivers License System

The Graduated Drivers License system is designed to ensure teen drivers gain more experience before driving independently. This Graduated Drivers License System has been proved to work in keeping teens safer on the road and improving their driving skills. Young drivers using the Graduated Drivers License System can qualify for car insurance discounts and reduce their car insurance costs. Start comparing teen driver car insurance quotes online now with our comparison tool below.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 30, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The Graduated Drivers License System is designed to ensure teens drivers gain experience before they can drive independently
  • There are three steps in this system
  • Does Graduated Licensing work? This system has been proven to work in keeping teens safer on the road

The Graduated Drivers License System is a process in which new, teenage drivers can gradually earn their drivers license. A three-stage process, the Graduated Drivers License System allows teenagers to learn how to drive in a controlled and slower-paced environment.

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The facts are clear that young and new drivers will usually have a much higher crash rate than other drivers. Due to a lack of experience and overall immaturity compared to the other drivers on the road, teenagers are at more of a risk when behind the wheel.

Goals of the Graduated Drivers License System

 

What is the purpose of Graduated Driver Licensing? The Graduated Drivers License System is different in every state, in that there are different age restrictions.

However, the Graduated Drivers License System is implemented in all 50 states, and has proven, over time, to be a beneficial way to teach teenagers how to drive and to be safe doing it.

Because many of the states are changing overall restrictions for teenage drivers, most drivers turning the legal age to drive cannot earn their permanent license until meeting several new requirements.

By going through the Graduated Drivers License System, drivers are able to receive the additional training and practice they require to develop into safe drivers.

The main goal of the Graduated Drivers License System is simply to delay the drivers getting their full license until they have logged many hours behind the wheel with proper adult supervision under different driving conditions.

No matter the state, all beginning drivers have to stay in stages one and two for a minimum amount of time. While all the states, as well as the District of Columbia, have a total of three stages each, the total time periods of the three stages are all different in length.

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Stage One of the Graduated Drivers License System

The first stage of the three-stage process is known as a learner’s period, where the new driver has to drive a minimum amount of hours during the first six months of becoming the proper age to drive.

The minimum ages vary from 14 to 16 depending on the state, but all states require the six-month minimum training period.

During these six months, the new driver must accomplish between 30 and 50 hours of supervised driving.

In addition, some states require that a portion of the driving take place at night. Drivers at this stage can never drive alone and must always have a licensed driver age 21 or older with them at all times when driving.

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Stage Two of the Graduated Drivers License System

The second stage is considered the intermediate license stage. This stage can only be reached once the actual driving test is passed, and allows driving in certain situations but still restricts any high-risk driving situations.

The minimum age for this stage is six months older than the minimum stage one age, so it ranges from 14 years, 6 months old to 16 years, 6 months old depending on the state.

The high-risk situations teen drivers are not allowed to participate in include:

  • Driving unsupervised during nighttime hours, which are between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Having more than one other teenage passenger in the car with them when driving
  • Having alcohol in the vehicle

Stage Three of the Graduated Drivers License System

Once a driver has successfully completed the first two stages, they are able to earn full driver license privileges. The nighttime restriction on the driver and all passenger restrictions are lifted at age 18.

At no point in any of the stages is a driver permitted to have alcohol in the vehicle while they are driving, even if an adult of legal drinking age is in the car with them.

This can result in a loss of license.

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The Bottom Line

As mentioned earlier, the Graduated Drivers License System is currently offered in all 50 states. In addition, many of the provinces in Canada offer a form of the Graduated Drivers License System, and several research studies have shown that the program does, in fact, save lives.

Since 2005, every state has implemented a form of the Graduated Drivers License System into their licensing procedures.

Although most teenagers will most likely not agree with the new requirements, the bottom line is creating a safer environment for the young driver and everyone else that shares the road. This reduces the number of accidents and deaths caused by inexperienced drivers.

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