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Federal Support for GDL

Federal support for Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is growing. On July 6, 2012 President Obama signed into law Map-21 (the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act), a two-year reauthorization of surface transportation programs. This bill was the first multi-year transportation authorization enacted since 2005, and it provided more than $105 billion to fund surface transportation programs in 2013 and 2014.  The passage of MAP-21 reaffirmed the government’s dedication to keep our country’s roadways safer. It includes various incentives for states that strengthen existing GDL programs to meet federal requirements and incentives for states that pass distracted driving legislation. Here's what you need to know to help your state take advantage of MAP-21 to protect young drivers:

Read NHTSA's Interim Final Rule that was published to the Federal Registry in January 2013. The relevant information begins on page 63.

Evidence-based Provisions Recommended in MAP-21

Learner Stage

  • Applicable to any novice driver under 21 years of age
  • Minimum 6 month holding period; not to expire before age 16
  • Pass vision and knowledge tests
  • Adult licensed driver must supervise new driver at all times
  • Minimum of 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training, including 10 hours at night (with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age)
  • Driver Ed/training course requirement (NHTSA urges states to integrate driver education (DE) into GDL and driver testing to meet National Administrative Standards (NTDETAS), including a parent orientation)
  • No in-car cell phone use

Intermediate Stage

  • Completed a learner's permit stage and passed an on-road driving skills test and is conviction-free for the prior 6 months
  • Minimum 6 month holding period and not expire before age 18 years
  • No more than one non-sibling passenger younger than 21 for the first 6 months and no more than one non-sibling teen passenger for the next 6 months (unless supervised by a licensed driver at least 21 years old)
  • No nighttime driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • No in-car cell phone use

Full License

  • Is conviction-free for the prior 6 months
  • Must obey jurisdiction's traffic laws and have clean driving record
  • No in-car cell phone use


Federal Support for GDL is growing.

Boost Your State's GDL

If your state doesn’t meet the requirements of MAP-21, write to your state lawmakers expressing support and asking them to strengthen your state’s existing GDL programs. Download and share these fact sheets with policymakers. 

Access a recent webinar on GDL Decal Research to Advocacy.

Click here for more information on MAP-21.

Further reading:

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