Musings

June 2012

How have your jurisdictions' Driver's Education programs changed over the years to accommodate GDL programs?

Tom Jacobs
Chief Public Information Officer, Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles

”In 2005, new laws went into effect in Nevada that essentially created a graduated license for teens. The new laws require teens to log 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience in addition to driver’s training. The new laws also require a teen to hold a permit for a minimum of six months, be at least 16, and restricts passengers under 18 after licensing to immediate family members for the first three months. It also restricts driving from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until the teen is 18 unless the teen is driving to a scheduled event like school or work.”

Don Hoechst, Driver Education Coordinator, Minnesota Driver & Vehicle Services

”Minnesota’s first GDL was implemented in 1999. It only added the six-month instruction permit time and 30 hours (10 at night) of practice driving time before taking the road test.

On August 1, 2008, the GDL was enhanced to include passenger restrictions for the first year, nighttime restrictions, and no cell phone use. Driver education programs have added much more information in their classroom instruction to include how dangerous distracted driving can be for teens. Many programs have implemented parent seminars so parents are familiar with the new laws and the importance of enforcing those laws and having their teens practice driving as much as they can. Hang up and drive. Talk/Txt L8R.“

Doug MacEwen
Safety Coordinator, Highway Safety Division, Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal, Canada

”The Province implemented the GDL Program in the spring of 2007. The Driver Education Schools were advised and educated on the components of the GDL Program and this aspect was immediately included in the classroom training portion. The driving schools were very supportive of the GDL Program which led to a comprehensive approach to educate students on this system. The implementation of the Graduated Driver Licensing Program included a public education component that was cost-shared between the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.“

Caryn Coyle
Manager of Communications, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration

”One of the first in the country to require graduated licensing for new drivers, Maryland’s Rookie Driver Program has reduced the number of teen crashes since it was introduced in 1999. Maryland continues to strengthen its program and was the first to complete a driver education assessment, supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Before the Rookie Driver Program was enacted, a Maryland learner’s permit was only needed for two weeks and driver’s education was not required for anyone older than 18 years of age. In 2005, Maryland lengthened the learning periods for new drivers, restricted cell phones and limited the number of passengers that drivers with learner’s permits could carry. In 2009, Maryland again lengthened the time for practice driving; learner’s permits are now held for nine months. A Marylander must now be 18 years of age before he or she can obtain a full driver’s license and this past year, Maryland completely changed its testing and screening of new drivers, requiring ‘on-the-road’ tests.“