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GDL picIn the past, we have posted information about teen driving safety, and more recently about teens and winter driving. Teaching teens safe driving practices is important. The Michigan Graduated Driver Licensing program for new drivers is an essential part of preparing teens for the road. The program works best when parents and teens are aware of, and abide by, the restrictions imposed on Level 1 and Level 2 drivers.

A Level 1 license, commonly known as a “learner’s permit,” is issued after completing Driver Education Segment 1. A Level 1 license allows you to drive with a parent or designated licensed person at least 21 years old, and it must be held for at least 6 months. You must be accident and violation free for 90 days before applying for a Level 2 license. Level 2 licenses are issued to drivers after completing Driver Education Segment 2, a written test and a driving skills test, and also must be held for at least 6 months. You must be accident and violation free for one year before applying for a Level 3 license (full driving privileges with no restrictions).

Level 1 and Level 2 license holders cannot use cell phones while driving (text or call) unless they are using a voice-operated system. Level 2 license holders cannot drive between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. or with more than 1 passenger under 21 years old, except when accompanied by a parent, guardian, or a designated licensed person at least 21 years old, or are driving to or from work, school-sanctioned events, vocational instruction, religious events, or transporting someone in an emergency situation to a hospital or other public safety location.

The Graduated License restrictions were enacted for good reason. In 2014, 50% of teen deaths from automobile accidents occurred between 3:00 p.m. and midnight, and the presence of teen passengers increased the accident risk for teen drivers. Accident risk was also high during the first months of licensure. Graduated Driver’s License programs have been enacted in many states, resulting in a reductions of both fatal and overall accidents among 16-year-old drivers. You can find more facts about teen drivers here.

Parents and guardians should make sure their teen drivers follow the restrictions based on their license level. License levels are printed in bold red lettering on the driver’s license. You can learn more about Michigan Graduated Driver’s Licenses here.