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Efforts such as the state-required Graduated Driver License (GDL) restrictions for new drivers have helped cut down on teen driver fatalities since the law passed in 2000.
“Inexperience behind the wheel is a major cause of many teen vehicle deaths,” said Debra Kraemer, supervisor, Bureau of Driver Services. “GDL restrictions are in place to help keep young drivers out of high risk driving situations while giving them the opportunity to develop driving skills in lower-risk situations. It’s saving lives.”
Wisconsin’s GDL laws phase in driving privileges over a period of months for anyone under 18 years. The goal is to ensure new teen drivers gain experience before earning full driving privileges. Under the GDL law, teens who get their learner’s permit must log 30 hours of behind-the-wheel experience and have that learner’s permit for six months with no traffic tickets in order to receive their probationary license.
Probably the most talked-about GDL restriction states that the new driver with a probationary license can have no more than one teen passenger who is not an immediate family member in the vehicle while driving.
“This requirement is an important enhancement to safety,” said Kraemer. “We know that the more teens who are in the car can cause more distractions and potentially more crashes. Statistics bear that out, unfortunately.”
GDL restrictions can be extended if the driver receives a traffic citation or violates the restrictions. All restrictions end at age 18.
For a full explanation of Wisconsin’s GDL requirements, visit the official DMV website (www.wisconsindmv.gov) and check out the teen driver portal. It includes information for parents and sponsors of teen drivers, a parent-teen safe driving contract and a link to a mobile app to practice driver’s test.