The Allstate Foundation
Graduated Driver License
Graduated driver licensing (GDL) is a system used to slowly expose teens to the driving experience and phase them into full driving privileges.
There have been over 70 scientific studies evaluating GDL that prove its effectiveness at reducing teen driving crashes and fatalities, which continues to be the number one killer of America’s teens.
The GDL concept arose in the early 1970s and was based on three key factors in teen-driver crashes: nighttime driving, the presence of other teens in the car, and the youth and inexperience of the driver.
Every single State has some form of GDL from texting bans to nighttime driving restrictions. However, research has proven that these seven elements are the most effective in reducing teen driving crashes and protecting teens on the road:
1. Minimum Age 16 for Learner's Permit
A beginning teen driver is prohibited from obtaining a learner's permit until the age of 16.
2. Six (6)-Month Holding Period
Most graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs include a 6-month holding period during which an adult licensed driver must supervise a new driver at all times. If the new driver remains citation free for 6 months, s/he may progress to the intermediate stage.
3. 30-50 Hours of Supervised Driving
A key requirement of GDL programs requires a new driver to complete 30-50 hours of behind-the-wheel training with an adult licensed driver.
4. Nighttime Restriction
An additional element of a GDL program restricts teen driving at night. Under this program, unsupervised driving is prohibited from at least 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
5. Passenger Restriction
A passenger restriction under an optimal GDL program limits the number of teenage passengers that may accompany a teen driver without adult supervision to one non-familial teenage passenger.
6. Cell Phone Restriction
A cell phone restriction is essential to any GDL program and prohibits the use of any cellular device, including text messaging, by the teenager while driving for the entire duration of the GDL program.
7. Age 18 for Unrestricted License
A teen driver is prohibited from obtaining an unrestricted license until the age of 18, and one or both of the nighttime and passenger restrictions must last until age 18