Since teenage drivers are inexperienced and just learning the rules of the road, Tennessee has incorporated a graduated driver’s license program to gently ease teens into the world of driving. It is important to know the rules of the program in order to ensure teens are on the right track to receiving their driver’s licenses. Furthermore, teens can reduce their risk of becoming injured or killed in a serious car accident by adhering to the program regulations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that GDL laws can reduce teenage motor vehicle accident fatalities by up to 50 percent.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there are three phases that teens must pass through in order to receive their driver’s license. These include the following:
- Learners permit
- Intermediate restricted license
- Intermediate unrestricted license
Each phase has specific restrictions regarding how many passengers the teen can have in the vehicle with them while they are driving, the ages of the passengers as well as the time of day in which the teen can be on the road.
At the age of 15, teens can begin driving with a learners permit, but only with when accompanied by a driver who is 21 years of age or older. Once a teenager reaches the age of 16 and has had a permit for at least 180 days, he or she can apply for an intermediate restricted license. If a teen has more than one seat belt violation or causes a car accident, he or she may not be eligible to move to the next phase. At 17 years old, a teen may obtain an unrestricted driver’s license, after they have had a restricted license for at least one year and have met all other requirements.