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What Parents Need To Know

Learner’s Permit
Junior Operator’s License
Recalls Explained
Driver Education
Other Ways to Help Assure Teen Driving Safety

 

Graduated Driver Licensing and Your Teen

What is graduated driver licensing?

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) requires teens 15 to 18 years old to learn to drive in 3 stages.  Driving privileges increase gradually as teens successfully pass through each stage of the licensing program.

  1. A supervised Learner's Permit
  2. A Junior Operator's License
  3. A full Operator's License ---issued after successful completion of all previous driving stages

It's required by law.

The GDL exists to save teen lives and reduce injuries.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for teenagers.

Major factors that place teens at risk include:

  • Age and lack of driving experience
  • Passengers and other distractions

However, the GDL alone cannot prevent all teen crashes.

What can you do?

As a parent or guardian, you have a critical role in influencing your child's safe driving habits.  The information provided here is meant to help you better understand and reinforce positive teen driving behaviors required by Vermont's GDL law.

Learner’s Permit

Who

  • Must be at least 15 years old
  • Must have no violations on record at DMV in the previous two years to take the Learner’s Permit test
  • Must provide an application signed by a parent or legal guardian

How long

  • Must hold Learner’s Permit for at least one year before applying for a Junior Operator’s License. Exception: If 18 before this time, may apply for Operator’s License

Conditions/Restrictions

Throughout the Learner’s Permit phase, drivers:

  • May only operate a motor vehicle if accompanied by one of the following people who is riding beside him/her in the front seat:

♦ A licensed and unimpaired parent or guardian
♦ A licensed or certified and unimpaired driver education instructor
♦ A licensed and unimpaired individual at least 25 years of age

  • May not use a cell phone or other portable electronic device (drivers 18 and older are prohibited from texting, but may use cell phones and other portable electronic devices)
  • Must wear seatbelt

Consequences of violations

A 90 day recall will occur for any of the following:

  • Points – a single 3 point speeding violation
  • Points – accumulation of a 6 point total
  • Driving without one of the individuals as described above

While a recall is in effect, the individual is not permitted to drive (at all).

Fines and other penalties:

  • $156 fine for using a cell phone or other portable electronic device, two points plus a 30-day recall
  • $329 fine for the second offense and five points
  • $25 fine for failure to wear seatbelt

Junior Operator’s License

Who

Issued only to a person 16 or 17 years old who meets the following:

  • Possesses a Learner’s Permit for at least one year
  • Passes an approved driver education course (see Driver Education information) and obtains a Driver Education Completion Certificate
  • Completes an additional forty (40) hours of practice behind the wheel, with at least ten (10) of those hours being nighttime driving, while accompanied by one of the individuals as described above

♦ Proof of this additional practice must be submitted at the time of the application for a Junior Operator’s License

  • Maintains a “clean” driving record without any recalls, suspensions or revocations for the preceding six months
  • Provides an application signed by a parent or legal guardian
  • Passes the required road examination

How long

  • Until the age of 18, then may apply for Operator’s License (if have held their Junior Operator License for at least six months and have maintained a record without any suspensions, revocation, or recalls for the preceding six-month period)

Conditions/Restrictions

Throughout the Junior Operator’s License phase, drivers:

  • May not carry passengers for hire (such as taxis or shuttles)
  • May not carry more passengers than there are seatbelts
  • May not operate a vehicle in the course of employment (for example, a pizza delivery driver) unless license has been held for one year or driver reaches age 18
  • May not use a cell phone or other portable electronic device (drivers 18 and older are prohibited from texting, but are not prohibited from using cell phones and other portable electronic devices)
  • Must wear seatbelt

Additional restrictions apply

First three months:

  • Must drive alone or with one of the individuals described above
  • May transport any number of passengers (as long as there are enough seatbelts for everyone) if one of the individuals as described above is in the front seat of the vehicle with the teen driver

Second three months:

  • May begin transporting properly restrained family members only without being accompanied by one of the individuals as described above

Consequences of violations

A 90 day recall will occur for any of the following:

  • Driving for employer/employment within first year
  • Carrying passengers for hire (such as taxis or shuttles)
  • Points – a single 3 point speeding violation
  • Points – accumulation of a 6 point total
  • Violation of passenger restriction

Fines and other penalties:

  • $156 fine for using a cell phone or other portable electronic device, two points plus a 30-day recall
  • $329 fine for the second offense and five points
  • $25 fine for failure to wear seatbelt
Parents or other drivers who permit teenagers to violate GDL restrictions may themselves be ticketed for allowing “illegal operation.” For example, allowing the transportation of passengers other than family members during the second three months of driving with a Junior Operator’s License under GDL.


Recalls Explained

What happens when your teen’s permit or license is recalled?

  • When a recall is issued, the individual has the right to a hearing
  • While a recall is in effect, the individual is not permitted to drive (at all)

NOTE:  Both the Learner’s Permit and the Junior Operator’s License are “provisional” and can be recalled.

♦As a parent or legal guardian, you may request your child’s provisional license be recalled by contacting the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, 802-828-2011.

♦A recommendation from a Diversion/Reparative Board may result in a 30 day recall.

Driver Education

Vermont high schools offer driver education as part of the regular curriculum. The Vermont Department of Education oversees driver education in the state’s public and approved independent schools. More information: 802-828-0559.

Vermont Commercial Driver Training Schools also offer driver training courses (see “Driving Instruction” in the phone book or visit the driver training page of the DMV web site: dmv.vermont.gov/safety/training/drivers). A wallet-sized certificate will be issued to those who pass the course.

Other training and/or educational tools provided on this web site are:

Other Ways to Help Assure Teen Driving Safety

  • Assure your teen has plenty of chances to practice supervised driving – even more than the required 40 hours.
  • Set a good example as a safe, responsible, and law-abiding driver.
  • Set and discuss family rules for maintaining driving privileges based on known risk factors for teen drivers. Such rules could address:

♦ Lack of safety belt use
♦ Speeding
♦ Nighttime driving (after 9 pm)
♦ Using a cell phone, electronic devices, or other distractions
♦ Multiple teen passengers
♦ Drowsy driving
♦ Impaired driving

  • Help your teen understand the risks associated with riding with another teen driver, particularly those who choose to drive dangerously and/or violate the laws.
  • Communicate with your child and other parents to help everyone, both drivers and passengers, to follow the Junior Operator License restrictions. This will help all teens stay safe and within the GDL law.
  • Encourage your teen to speak up for safety when riding with other drivers.
  • Choose a safe, reliable, well-maintained vehicle for your teen driver. Visit www.iihs.org for crash ratings of vehicles and other information about choosing safe vehicles for teens.