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How Baltimore’s Graduated Driver Licensing Program Affects New Teen Drivers

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Car Accidents

Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for many teenagers. It’s a transition point that marks a teenager’s newfound independence and growing responsibilities.

To ensure the safety of both teen drivers and everybody else on the road, Maryland has implemented a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program, or the “Rookie Driver” program.

Teens have to be 18 or older to get a full license, but they can start driving earlier

The GDL is basically an effort by the state to make sure that new drivers get the experience they need to be good drivers while still managing the risk that they’ll end up in an accident. With that in mind, teens can acquire their license in stages.

Learner’s Permit

Once a teen is 15 years and nine months of age, they can apply for a Learner’s Permit (although they have to wait until they’re 16 if they don’t have a Learner’s Permit School Attendance Certification) with parental consent. Plus:

· They must have a qualified supervising driver with them at all times

· The supervising driver must complete a Practice Log showing the teen’s time behind the wheel

A teen under 18 years of age (or 18 without a high school diploma or equivalent ) cannot proceed to the next step in the process for a minimum of nine months, while teens 18 and older may be able to move on in three months.

Provisional License

Once a teen is a minimum of 16 years and six months of age, they become eligible for a Provisional License. To obtain this, they must:

· Complete 60 hours of supervised driving, 10 of those at night

· Complete 30 hours of classwork in a driver’s education course, and an additional six hours behind the wheel

The Provisional License only permits the driver to be behind the wheel without supervision during certain hours and it puts restrictions on their ability to have passengers. It also comes with additional responsibilities when it comes to seat belt use and unique prohibitions against the use of cellular devices.

It’s important to note that traffic violations and violations of the restrictions on either a Learner’s Permit or a Provisional License can lead to a mandatory driver improvement program, a suspended license and an additional wait before a full driver’s license is granted. It’s also vital to realize that even though the GDL program helps manage risks, it cannot eliminate them. If you or your teen is involved in a crash, it’s wise to get experienced legal counsel to explain any options and defend the teen in court, if necessary.

  • AABA