Learning To Drive: The Graduated Driver’s License (GDL)

Almost every teenager in the Dallas-Fort Worth area looks forward to the day they turn 15 years old, so that they can apply for an instructional driving permit. However, given that teen drivers are the group most at risk from being seriously injured or killed in a traffic accident, it is extremely important that teen drivers are aware both of the risks involved when driving and also of their responsibilities as a Texas motorist. As a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer since 1991, I know that teen drivers make up 20 percent of all auto crash fatalities, despite that fact that teen drivers make up only 7 percent of all licensed drivers.

In order to ensure that new drivers are as safe as possible, Texas has a tiered multi-step licensing program called the Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) which is designed to ensure that teen drivers are introduce to only minimal risks in the initial stages of learning, and getting as much experience as possible before they are allowed in the driver's seat alone without adult supervision. This is achieved by gradually exposing teen drivers to increasingly complex and challenging driving conditions over an extended period.

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore conducted an in-depth study into the value of the Graduated Drivers Licensing program and found that it could reduce the possibilities of fatal collisions among students who completed the program by 38 percent.

The Licensing Process In Texas
Texas teens are allowed to apply for a learner's permit at the age of 15. They must pass a written test at their local DMV office which allows them to begin driving under the supervision of a parent/guardian or other qualified driving instructor. Before they are allowed to advance to the next stage they are legally required to have completed a minimum of 20 hours of driving practice (with a minimum of 10 hours at night), although 50 hours total is preferred. AAA recommends that teen drivers complete 100 hours before advancing.

Once a teen driver has completed the requirement in the instructional phase of the GDL, they are able to apply for their intermediate or probationary license at age 16. In order to qualify for this license, they must pass a behind-the-wheel driving test with a DMV examiner. If they pass, they are allowed to drive unsupervised although there are some restrictions such as driving at night or driving with passengers. If a teenager is involved in a wreck or earns a conviction at any point during their probationary phase, they may be required to take a refresher driving course and restarting this phase of the GDL program.

Assuming your teen successfully completes the probationary stage, they are eligible for a provisional license at age 17. Once they turn 18, this will be replaced by a full unrestricted driver's license.

Dallas-Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer

If your teen in injured in a car crash which isn't their fault, or is injured in a wreck where they are a passenger, it is advisable to consult with a board certified personal injury attorney to discuss your claim and understand your rights and responsibilities. You may be entitled to compensation. To schedule a free, no obligation consultation, call the Anderson Law Firm toll free at 800-354-6275 or contact us online.


Other Articles You Might Be Interested In:

Road Safety For Teens

Auto Accidents Involving Teenagers

Making A Claim Against Someone You Know
Car Insurance 101
Injuries and Death Caused By Texting While Driving

Mark A. Anderson
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Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas