Teen driver law changes take effect in the new year

Published 7:59 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles wants to remind teen drivers and their parents of changes to the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system made by the legislature that will go into effect in the new year.

Beginning Jan. 1, teen drivers will need to have their Level 1 Limited Learner Permit for nine months instead of the current six months before being able to get their Level 2 Limited Provisional License.

DMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said, “The law doesn’t allow for grandfathering anyone in, so if someone has their six months of Level 1 in before the end of the year but doesn’t get in to take their road test by Dec. 29, they will have to wait until they hit nine months to take the road test and get their Level 2. Anyone who got their Level 1 after June 30 must have nine months.”

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The requirement to advance to Level 2 had been 12 months for most of the past 25 years since the GDL system was put into place in 1997. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislature temporarily shortened this requirement to six months.

That provision lapsed at the end of 2022 until a new law was enacted May 8 which extended the six-month provision again through 2023. Beginning Jan. 1, the provision will permanently change to nine months.

Teen drivers seeking a Level 2 license are required to: be at least 16 years old; log 60 hours of driving time; pass a road test; and show printed proof of insurance in the teen driver’s name.