Many states have what’s referred to as a “Graduated Driver Licensing” (GDL) program. GDL programs are meant to ease young drivers into the privileges
and responsibilities of driving by creating a series of stages they must go through to gain their full driver license. Most GDL programs contain three
The first stage in the process is the learner permit stage. In this stage, beginning drivers are granted a learner permit after passing a vision test
and knowledge test on traffic laws and signs. Some GDL programs require that students be enrolled in or have partially completed a driver education
requirement before they get their learner permit, while others allow teens to get their learner permit without it.
During this stage, beginning drivers are permitted to practice driving under the supervision of an older licensed driver. States have different
requirements for how long young drivers must hold their learner permit before they can apply for their provisional license.
In order to graduate to the next stage in the GDL program, young drivers usually have to hold their learner permit for a certain period of time,
complete a driver education requirement, and pass a driving skills exam. Once the young driver earns their provisional license, they may drive
without the supervision of an older licensed driver seated in the front passenger seat. Generally, there are restrictions on how many passengers
the driver can carry as well as what time of day they can drive. Many states also restrict drivers with a provisional license from using a wireless
device while driving.
Most GDL programs will grant full license privileges to provisional license holders automatically when they turn 18. Some GDL programs will grant
full license privileges to provisional license holders earlier if they hold their provisional license for a specified period of time. Once a young
driver graduates to this stage, they no longer have passenger restrictions or restrictions on what time of day they can drive.
Most states require some form of driver education for drivers under age 18 to get their license. There are usually two parts to driver education:
the classroom/theory portion and the behind-the-wheel training portion. The classroom/theory portion of driver education covers subjects such as
traffic laws, traffic signals, traffic signs, pavement markings, right-of-way, and defensive driving techniques. This portion of driver education
may range from 5 to 32 hours, depending on the state. The behind-the-wheel training portion of driver education must be done with a licensed driving
instructor. He or she will teach the teen how to perform basic vehicle maneuvers such as backing, turning, maintaining good lane positioning, and
parallel parking. Generally, 6 hours is required for this portion of driver education, though this may vary from state to state. Some states may
also require an additional set number of hours of practice driving to be done. These practice hours can be done with a parent or guardian.
Some states also have driver education requirements for adults. These courses are generally much shorter (around 5-6 hours) and often do not have
a behind-the-wheel component.
Even if your state does not require driver education, driver education courses are a great way to become familiar with the rules of the road and
defensive driving techniques. Studies show that drivers who take driver education courses are less likely to be involved in collisions or to have
traffic violations than those without driver education.
Safe2Drive offers driver education courses in several states. Click the "View Driver Ed Courses" button below to see if we have a Driver Ed course in your