Laws

Information below courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Teenage drivers have the highest crash risk per mile traveled, compared with drivers in other age groups. Young drivers tend to overestimate their driving abilities and underestimate the dangers on the road. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws reduce this risk by making sure teens gradually build up driving experience under lower-risk conditions as they mature and develop skills. That means limiting nighttime driving, restricting teen passengers and making sure teens get lots of supervised practice. Graduated licensing has reduced teen crashes 10-30 percent on average.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have a three-stage GDL system. The United States doesn't have a national GDL law. State lawmakers decide what provisions to adopt and how to enforce them. Institute research has show that states with the strongest laws enjoy bigger reductions in teen driver deaths than states with weak laws. Some states make teens wait a little longer before they get their learner permits and full-privilege licenses. This also saves lives.

State

Learner stage Intermediate stage:
restrictions on driving
while unsupervised
Unrestricted stage:
minimum age at
which restrictions
may be lifted
  Minimum
entry
age
Mandatory
holding
period
Minimum amount
of supervised
driving
Minimum
age
Unsupervised
driving
prohibited
Restriction on passengers
(family members excepted
unless otherwise noted)
Nighttime
restrictions
Passenger
restrictions
AL 151 6 months1 30 hours1 (none with driver education) 16 midnight-6 a.m. secondary enforcement no more than 1 passenger secondary enforcement 172 172
AK 14 6 months 40 hours, 10 of which must be at night or in inclement weather 16 1 a.m.-5 a.m. first 6 months—no passengers 16, 6 months 16, 6 months
AZ 15, 6 months3 6 months 30 hours, 10 of which must be at night (none with driver education) 16 midnight-5 a.m. secondary enforcement first 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 18 secondary enforcement 16, 6 months 16, 6 months
AR 144 6 months4 none 165 11 p.m.-4 a.m. no more than 1 passenger 18 18
CA 15, 6 months6 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 166 11 p.m.-5 a.m. secondary enforcement first 12 months—no passengers younger than 20 (limited exception for immediate family) secondary enforcement 17 17
CO 157 12 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 16 midnight-5 a.m. secondary enforcement first 6 months—no passengers; second 6 months—no more than 1 passenger secondary enforcement 17 17
CT 168 6 months8 (4 months with driver education) 40 hours8 16, 4 months8 11 p.m. - 5 a.m. first 6 months—no passengers other than parents or a driving instructor; second 6 months—no passengers other than parents, driving instructor, or members of the immediate family 18 17, 4 months
DE 169 6 months9 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night9 16, 6 months9 10 p.m.-6 a.m.9 no more than 1 passenger9 17 17
DC 1610 6 months 40 hours in learner’s stage; 10 hours at night in intermediate stage 16, 6 months11 September–June: 11 p.m.-6 a.m. Sun.–Thur., 12:01 a.m.-6 a.m. Sat.–Sun.; July–August: 12:01 a.m.-6 a.m. first 6 months—no passengers; thereafter, no more than 2 passengers 18 18
FL 1512 12 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 16 11 p.m.-6 a.m. (age 16); 1 a.m.-5 a.m. (age 17) none 18 no
GA 15 12 months 40 hours, 6 of which must be at night 1613 midnight-6 a.m. secondary enforcement first 6 months—no passengers; second 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 21; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers secondary enforcement 18 18
HI 15, 6 months 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1614 11 p.m.-5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger younger than 18 (household members excepted) 17 17
ID 14, 6 months15 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1515 sunset to sunrise first 6 months—licensees 16 and younger can have no more than 1 passenger younger than 17 16 15, 6 months
IL 1516 9 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1617 starts 10 p.m. Sun.-Thur., 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., ends 6 a.m. first 12 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 20 18 17
IN 1518 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 16, 6 months (16, 9 months without driver education)18 First 180 days, 10 p.m.-5 a.m.; thereafter, 11 p.m.-5 a.m. Sun.–Fri.; 1 a.m.-5 a.m. Sat.–Sun. first 180 days-no passengers 18 17 (17, 3 months without driver education)
IA 14 12 months (effective 01/01/14) 20 hours, 2 of which must be at night19 1620,19 12:30 a.m.-5 a.m. parental discretion 21 (effective 01/01/14) 1722 no
KS 1423 12 months 25 hours, in learner phase; 25 hours before age 16; 10 of the 50 hours must be at night23 1623 9 p.m. - 5 a.m. first 6 months - no more than one passenger younger than 18 16, 6 months 16, 6 months
KY 1624 6 months24 60 hours, 10 of which must be at night24 16, 6 months25 midnight-6 a.m. no more than 1 passenger younger than 20 unless supervised by a driving instructor secondary enforcement 17 17
LA 1526 6 months 50 hours, 15 of which must be at night 1626 11 p.m.-5 a.m. no more than one passenger younger than 21 between the hours of 6 pm-5 am; no passenger restriction from 5 am-6 pm 17 17
ME 1527 6 months27 70 hours, 10 of which must be at night (effective 10/07/13) 1627 midnight-5 a.m.27 first 9 months—no passengers27 16, 9 months 16, 9 months
MD 15, 9 months 9 months28 60 hours, 10 of which must be at night 16, 6 months midnight-5 a.m.29 first 5 months—no passengers younger than 18 secondary enforcement 18 16, 11 months
MA 1630 6 months30 40 hours31 16, 6 months32 12:30 a.m.-5 a.m. (between 12:30 a.m.-1 a.m. and 4 a.m.-5 a.m. the night driving and passenger restrictions are subject to secondary enforcement; enforcement is primary at all other times) first 6 months—no passengers younger than 18 (between 12:30 am–1 am and 4 am–5 am the night driving and passenger restrictions are secondarily enforced; enforcement is primary at all other times) 18 17
MI 14, 9 months33 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1634 10 p.m.-5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger younger than 21 17 17
MN 1535 6 months36 30 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1637 midnight-5 a.m. first 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 20; second 6 months—no more than 3 passengers younger than 20 16, 6 months 17
MS 15 12 months38 none 1639 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Sun.-Thur., 11:30 p.m.-6 a.m. Fri.-Sat. none 16, 6 months no
MO 15 6 months 40 hours, 10 of which must be at night 16 1 a.m.-5 a.m. first 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 19; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers younger than 19 17, 11 months 17, 11 months
MT 14, 6 months40 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1541 11 p.m.-5 a.m. first 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 18; second 6 months—no more than 3 passengers younger than 18 16 16
NE 1542 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night (none with driver education) 16 midnight-6 a.m. secondary enforcement first 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 19 secondary enforcement 17 16, 6 months
NV 15, 6 months 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1643 10 p.m.-5 a.m. secondary enforcement first 6 months—no passengers younger than 18 secondary enforcement 18 16, 6 months
NH 15, 6 months44 none 40 hours, 10 of which must be at night 16 1 a.m.-4 a.m. first 6 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 25 18 16, 6 months
NJ 1645 6 months45 none 1745 11 p.m. - 5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger (exception is limited to drivers' dependents) 18 18
NM 1546 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 15, 6 months47 midnight-5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger younger than 21 16, 6 months 16, 6 months
NY 1648 6 months 50 hours, 15 of which must be at night 16, 6 months48 prohibited at all times in NYC (five boroughs); all times in Nassau and Suffolk Counties except for limited (5 a.m.-9 p.m.) travel to work, school and driver’s education, proof required; otherwise 9 p.m.-5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger younger than 2148 17 (18 without driver education)48 17 (18 without driver education)48
NC 1549,50 12 months50 60 hours, 10 of which must be at night, learner phase; 12 hours, 6 of which must be at night, intermediate phase 1651,52 9 p.m.-5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger younger than 21; if a family member younger than 21 is already a passenger then no other passengers younger than 21 who are not family members 16, 6 months 16, 6 months
ND 14 <16: 12 months; 16: 6 months or until age 18, whichever comes first <16: 50 hours; ≥ 16: none 16; 15 for a parent requested restricted license The holder of a restricted license may only drive a car belonging to a parent or guardian and may not drive between the later of sunset or 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. none 16 none
OH 15, 6 months 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1653 midnight-6 a.m. (age 16), 1 a.m.-5 a.m. (age 17) secondary enforcement no more than 1 passenger unless supervised 18 17
OK 15, 6 months54 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night55 16 10 p.m.-5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger56 16, 6 months (17 without driver education) 16, 6 months (17 without driver education)
OR 15 6 months 50 hours57(100 hours without driver education) 1657 midnight-5 a.m. first 6 months–no passengers younger than 20; second 6 months–no more than 3 passengers younger than 20 17 17
PA 16 6 months 65 hours, 10 of which must be at night and 5 of which must be in inclement weather 16, 6 months 11 p.m.-5 a.m. first 6 months— no more than 1 passenger younger than 18; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers 17 17
RI 1658 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 16, 6 months59 1 a.m.-5 a.m. first 12 months–no more than 1 passenger younger than 21 17, 6 months 17, 6 months
SC 15 6 months 40 hours, 10 of which must be at night 15, 6 months 6 p.m.-6 a.m. EST; 8 p.m.-6 a.m. EDT no more than 2 passengers younger than 21 unless transporting students to and from school 16, 6 months 16, 6 months
SD 1460 6 months (3 months with driver education) none60 14, 6 months (14, 3 months with driver education) 10 p.m.-6 a.m. none 16 no
TN 1561 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night61 16 11 p.m.-6 a.m. no more than 1 passenger 17 17
TX 1562 6 months 30 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1663 midnight-5 a.m. secondary enforcement no more than 1 passenger younger than 21 secondary enforcement 18 18
UT 1564 6 months 40 hours, 10 of which must be at night64,65 1666 midnight-5 a.m. first 6 months—no passengers67 secondary enforcement 17 16, 6 months67
VT 15 12 months 40 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1668 none first 3 months—no passengers without exception; second 3 months—no passengers secondary enforcement no 16, 6 months
VA 15, 6 months69 9 months69 45 hours, 15 of which must be at night 16, 3 months70 midnight-4 a.m. 69 secondary enforcement first 12 months—no more than 1 passenger younger than 21; thereafter, no more than 3 passengers younger than 21 secondary enforcement 18 18
WA 1571 6 months 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1672 1 a.m.-5 a.m. secondary enforcement first 6 months—no passengers younger than 20; second 6 months—no more than 3 passengers younger than 20 secondary enforcement 1773 1773
WV 1574 6 months74 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night (none with driver education) 16 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. first 6 months—no passengers younger than 20; second 6 months–no more than 1 passenger younger than 20 17 17
WI 15, 6 months75 6 months75 30 hours, 10 of which must be at night75 1676 midnight-5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger 16, 9 months 16, 9 months
WY 15 10 days 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night 1677 11 p.m.-5 a.m. no more than 1 passenger younger than 18 16, 6 months77 16, 6 months77

NOTE: Passenger restrictions vary with regard to their durations, the ages of passengers to whom they apply, and the availability of exceptions. Most states have exceptions for passengers who are related to the driver or are members of the driver's household, and there are exceptions when a supervising driver is in the vehicle.


1 In Alabama, the supervising driver must be a parent, guardian or driving instructor. At age 16, permit holders may drive with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.

2 In Alabama, restrictions end after the driver has held the intermediate license for at least six months and has reached age 17.

3 In Arizona, a driver education instructor can authorize an enrolled student who is 15 to drive only while supervised by the authorizing instructor.

4 In Arkansas, 14 year-olds can drive with an instruction permit after passing a written test. After passing a road test they are eligible for a learner's license. Unsupervised driving is not permitted by holders of either the instruction permit or learner's license. The combined holding period for the permit and learner's license is six months.

5 In Arkansas, applicants for an intermediate license must be 16 and must be crash/violation-free for six months. Licensees younger than 18 are prohibited from transporting passengers who are unrestrained.

6 In California, students enrolled in driver education may drive while supervised by an instructor. License applicants who do not take driver education must wait until age 18 for a license. They are not required to go through an intermediate license stage.

7 In Colorado, the minimum permit age varies. Fifteen year-olds who are enrolled in driver education may apply for an instruction permit. Their supervising driver must be a parent, stepparent, grandparent, guardian, or driving instructor. At age 15, 6 months, driver education is no longer required, but applicants for this permit must have completed a four hour driver awareness program. At 16, young drivers may apply for a permit that allows driving while supervised by a licensed driver age 21 or older.

8 In Connecticut, either driver education or home training is required for license applicants younger than 18. Permit holders may not carry any passengers aside from the person providing instruction, parents or guardians. Time spent practice driving with a professional instructor counts toward the 40-hour certification requirement. Before an applicant who under 18 may take the driver’s test, parents or guardians must attend two hours of instruction regarding teen driving laws and related issues with such applicant. Anyone 18 years of age or older must hold an adult learner’s permit for three months before obtaining a driver's license.

9 In Delaware, a driver education student does not need a permit to drive with a driver education instructor. After completing the on-road requirements of driver education, a driver education student who is at least 15 years, 10 months may apply for a Driver Education Learner's Permit, which allows the student to drive while supervised by an experienced driver. Upon completion of driver education, and if the student passes both the road and written tests, the student receives a Level 1 permit that for the first six months allows driving only while supervised. There also is a passenger restriction during the first six months of the Level 1 permit. No more than one passenger (family members excepted) is permitted in addition to the supervising driver. The Level 1 permit for the second six months is the equivalent of an intermediate license. During that period, holders may drive unsupervised between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and may only carry one passenger. Applicants for a driver's license who are younger than 18 must have held a Driver Education Learner's Permit and/or a Level 1 permit for at least 12 months. Driver education is required for all license applicants younger than 18.

10 In the District of Columbia, the learner's stage is mandatory for all license applicants, regardless of age. A nighttime restriction (9 p.m.-6 a.m.) applies in the learner stage.

11 In the District of Columbia, license applicants younger than 21 must go through the intermediate stage until they have completed it or until they turn 21.

12 In Florida, learners permit holders may not drive after sunset for the first three months and thereafter may not drive after 10 p.m.

13 In Georgia, license applicants younger than 17 must have completed driver education.

14 In Hawaii, license applicants younger than 18 must have completed driver education.

15 In Idaho, license applicants younger than 17 must have completed driver education. There are three classes of learner's permits — a training instruction permit for people 14, 6 months taking driver education; a supervised instruction permit for practice driving with a nonprofessional supervisor; and an instruction permit for people younger than 17 who have completed driver education and supervised driving or for people 17 and older without either driver education or supervised driving.

16 In Illinois, enrollment in driver education is required for permit applicants.

17 In Illinois, license applicants 18 through 20 years of age who did not take driver's education in school must complete a 6 hour adult driver education course.

18 In Indiana, driver education determines the minimum age for permits and the intermediate license. People enrolled in or who have completed driver education must be age 15 to have a permit; otherwise, they must be age 16. The minimum age for an intermediate license is 16, 6 months with driver education and 16, 9 months, without.

19 Iowa requires a certification of 10 additional hours of supervised driving during the intermediate stage, two of which must be at night.

20 In Iowa, driver education is required for an intermediate license and for an unrestricted license if the applicant is younger than 18.

21 In Iowa, parents are permitted to waive at the time of licensure a discretionary six-month passenger limit of no more than one unrelated passenger younger than 18, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

22 In Iowa, restrictions end after holding an intermediate license for at least one year and reaching age 17.

23 In Kansas, drivers age 15 but not yet 16 may be granted a restricted license if they have completed driver training. Restricted license holders younger than 16 may not drive unless supervised other than to and from school or work via the most direct route and may not carry minor passengers other than siblings. To get a restricted license, applicants must have driven at least 25 of the 50 hours required for a full license and must have held an instruction permit for 12 months.

24 Kentucky law prohibits learner's permit holders from driving between midnight and 6 a.m. or from carrying more than one passenger younger than 20 unless supervised by a driving instructor.

25 In Kentucky, license holders younger than 18 must complete a driver education course or a state-sponsored traffic school.

26 In Louisiana, driver education is required for a permit and an intermediate license if the applicant is younger than 18. People 18 and older must have completed a prelicensing training course including a minimum of 8 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.

27 In Maine, driver education is required for a permit and a license if the applicant is younger than 18. The learner's permit holding period and the certification of practice driving applies to license applicants younger than 21. The period of license restrictions may extend beyond the person's 18th birthday.

28 In Maryland, all license applicants younger than 25 must hold a learner's permit for nine months before taking the road test and all applicants 25 and older must hold the permit for 45 days.

29 In Maryland, the nighttime driving restriction only applies to intermediate license holders younger than 18.

30 In Massachusetts, the night driving restriction for permit holders younger than 18 is midnight to 5 a.m., unless they are accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian.

31 In Massachusetts, the requirement for supervised driving is 30 hours for applicants who have successfully completed a driver skills development program in a closed, off-road course licensed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

32 In Massachusetts, driver education is required of license applicants younger than 18.

33 In Michigan, permit applicants younger than 18 must have completed the first segment of driver education.

34 In Michigan, license applicants younger than 18 must have completed the second segment of driver education. Neither driver education nor an intermediate license is required for license applicants 18 and older.

35 In Minnesota, permit applicants younger than 18 must be enrolled in driver education.

36 In Minnesota, the permit holding period also applies to license applicants 18 and older unless they have completed driver education.

37 In Minnesota, license applicants younger than 18 must have completed driver education. Provisional license holders must be crash-free to qualify for a full license.

38 In Mississippi, license applicants 17 and older are exempt from the 12-month learner’s permit holding period.

39 In Mississippi, license applicants 17 and older are exempt from the requirement to get an intermediate license.

40 In Montana, enrollment in or completion of driver education is required for permit applicants younger than 15.

41 In Montana, license applicants younger than 16 must have completed driver education.

42 In Nebraska, 14 year-olds who live 1.5 miles or more from school and who either live outside or attend school outside a metropolitan area may be issued a learner’s permit (called an “LPE permit”) and a limited license (called a “school permit”). The LPE permit authorizes supervised driving for the purpose of preparing for the school permit, which allows driving to and from school independently or anyplace else while supervised by a parent or guardian.

43 In Nevada, driver education is required of all license applicants younger than 18 unless there is no driver education program offered within a 30-mile radius of the applicant's residence.

44 New Hampshire does not issue learner's permits. At age 15, 6 months a person can drive while supervised by a licensed driver 25 or older. License applicants who are younger than 18 must take driver education.

45 In New Jersey, the permit becomes an intermediate license after six months for drivers younger than 21 and after 3 months for drivers 21 and older. The graduated licensing law applies to adults, except that the night driving and passenger restrictions are waived for new drivers 21 and older. If the applicant has not completed driver education, the minimum permit age is 17 and the minimum intermediate license age is 17, 6 months. Learner's permit holders may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and may carry only one passenger in addition to the supervising driver or any parent, guardian or dependant.

46 In New Mexico, permit applicants younger than 18 must be enrolled in driver education.

47 In New Mexico, license applicants younger than 18 must have completed driver education.

48 In New York, the minimum age for an unrestricted driver's license is 18 (17 if the applicant has completed driver education). New York has a passenger restriction that applies to permit holders and license holders younger than 18 (17 if the applicant has completed driver education).

49 In North Carolina, driver education is required for permit applicants younger than 18.

50 In North Carolina, learner’s permit holders may not drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the first six months.

51 In North Carolina, driver education is required for license applicants younger than 18.

52 In North Carolina, a person who is at least 16 but younger than 18 must complete a minimum of 12 additional hours (six of which must be at night) of supervised driving to obtain a full provisional license.

53 In Ohio, driver education is required of license applicants younger than 18.

54 In Oklahoma, 15 year-olds may drive, but only while supervised by an instructor.

55 In Oklahoma, learner's permit holders may only operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.

56 In Oklahoma, a person who has been issued an intermediate Class D license shall not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger unless all passengers live in the same household as the custodial legal parent or legal guardian or a licensed driver at least 21 years of age is actually occupying a seat beside the intermediate Class D licensee.

57 In Oregon, driver education is required of license applicants younger than 18. However, it is waived for applicants who certify an additional 50 hours of supervised driving. The night and passenger restrictions do not apply to the holder of a provisional driver license who is 18 or older.

58 In Rhode Island, driver education is required of permit applicants younger than 18.

59 In Rhode Island, driver education is required of license applicants younger than 18.

60 In South Dakota, learner's permit holders may not drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless under the supervision of a parent or guardian.

61 Learner’s permit holders in Tennessee may not drive from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

62 In Texas, people who are 15 or older but under 18 must satisfactorily complete and pass the classroom phase of an approved driver education course to be issued a permit.

63 In Texas, the minimum license age is 18 for applicants who have not completed driver education.

64 In Utah, permit holders younger than 18 may only drive under the supervision of a driving instructor, a parent or guardian, or a responsible adult who has accepted liability for the permit holder's driving by signing the permit application. Permit applicants younger than 19 must be enrolled in driver education.

65 In Utah, supervised driving in the learner stage may include up to five hours in a driving simulator.

66 In Utah license applicants who are younger than 19 must have completed driver education.

67 In Utah, passenger restrictions end when a driver has been licensed for six months or when the driver turns 18, whichever occurs first.

68 In Vermont, driver education is required for license applicants younger than 18.

69 In Virginia, the night driving restriction and passenger restrictions apply to learner's permit holders.

70 In Virginia, driver education is required for license applicants younger than 19 (18 if applicant holds a valid license from another state). Northern Virginia and nearby counties have implemented a 90-minute segment for parents of driver education students.

71 In Washington, permit applicants must be enrolled in driver education; otherwise, the minimum permit age is 15, 6 months.

72 In Washington, driver education is required for license applicants younger than 18.

73 In Washington, intermediate license holders with a crash or violation history are ineligible for an unrestricted license until age 18.

74 In West Virginia, learner’s permit holders younger than 18 may not drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and may not carry more than two passengers in addition to the supervising driver.

75 In Wisconsin, enrollment in driver education is required for permit applicants younger than 18. During the learner’s stage, permit holders may carry three passengers if supervised by a driving instructor in a dual-control vehicle. Permit holders 16 and older may carry one passenger 25 or older who has been licensed at least two years.

76 In Wisconsin driver education is required for license applicants younger than 18.

77 In Wyoming, all applicants for an unrestricted license who are younger than 17 must have completed driver education and must have held an intermediate license for at least six months.