Teenage drivers have the highest crash risk per mile traveled, compared with drivers in other age groups. Young drivers tend to overestimate their driving abilities and underestimate the dangers on the road. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws reduce this risk by making sure teens gradually build up driving experience under lower-risk conditions as they mature and develop skills. That means limiting nighttime driving, restricting teen passengers and making sure teens get lots of supervised practice. Graduated licensing has reduced teen crashes 10-30 percent on average.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have a three-stage GDL system. The United States doesn't have a national GDL law. State lawmakers decide what provisions to adopt and how to enforce them. Institute research has show that states with the strongest laws enjoy bigger reductions in teen driver deaths than states with weak laws. Some states make teens wait a little longer before they get their learner permits and full-privilege licenses. This also saves lives.

The table and maps below show licensing requirements and restrictions on intermediate license holders for every state and D.C. In many states, the law doesn't set a specific age at which restrictions are lifted. In those cases, the table reflects the lowest possible age at which someone could hold an unrestricted license, given the minimum time periods required for the learner's permit and intermediate stages. To look up a specific state's requirements, use the "By state" tab above.

Use the "Calculator" tab above to see the estimated effects of strengthening or weakening five key GDL provisions in any state or D.C. The projections are based on research showing what matters most when it comes to preventing fatal crashes and collision claims among teen drivers.

Effective dates of graduated driver licensing law components in every state and D.C.

In most states, the initial license issued at this age is probationary with restrictions limiting unsupervised driving in high-risk situations (e.g., at night or with teen passengers). In some cases the minimum age is statutory; in others it is derived from the minimum learner's permit age and associated the minimum requirements.

Click on map for more detail.