California Graduated Driver Licensing

Because teen drivers lack a significant amount of driving experience and exhibit risky driving behavior, their risk as a group is higher than drivers of any other age group who have more experience behind the wheel.

In an effort to reduce the number of teen drivers and passengers involved in auto accidents, California passed a provisional license law that went into effect in July 1998.  Commonly referred to as the Graduated Drivers License law, the law revised licensing procedures for teen drivers.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, California witnessed a 23 percent reduction in 16 year-old drivers involved in crashes, or more than 8,000 accidents prevented between 1998 through 2006.  The IIHS estimates that without the Graduated Driver License law, more than 35,000 16 year-old drivers would have been involved in crashes during the eight year span.

California’s Graduated Driver License law is a two-step, phased-in approach beginning when the driver is at least 15 ½ years old.

The first phase of the program is the instructional permit.  With an instructional permit:

  • The driver may drive any vehicle other than a motorcycle or moped while accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian or a licensed California driver over age 25.
  • The driver must have the instructional permit for at least six months before applying for a provisional permit.
  • The driver must have successfully completed one of the following:
     -- A course in automobile driver education and driver training in any secondary school in California;
     -- A course in driver education and training program that is approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles and conducted by a licensed driving instructor.  Instruction must include behind-the-wheel training and a minimum of 30 hours of classroom instruction;
     -- Six hours of behind-the-wheel training in high school or at an approved driver instruction school and driver education instruction at any secondary school or from an approved professional instructor; 
     -- A student may not take driver training instruction without first successfully completing a driver education course.
  • The student must also complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice prior to receiving the provisional license.  No less than 10 hours must be at night.
  • After successfully completing the above, the driver is allowed to take the DMV written and driving test for the provisional license.  If the driver fails either of these segments, the driver must wait a minimum of one week before retaking the written test and two weeks before retaking the driving test.

The second phase of the program is the provisional license phase.  During the 12 month provisional phase, the driver may not:

  • Drive between the hours of 11:00pm and 5:00am.  Exceptions include medical emergencies, school-related activities for which alternative transportation is not provided and job requirements.
  • Drive passengers younger than 20 years old.

A driver could face fines and penalties if any of the restrictions are broken during the provisional licensing phase.  Penalties include:

  • Community service for no less than eight hours and up to 16 hours for a first offense, and between 16 and 24 hours for any subsequent offense; and
  • A minimum fine of $35 for a first offense and $50 thereafter.

During the provisional phase, certain penalties will be levied if receiving moving (point) violations.  These penalties include:

  • A 30-day period during which the restricted driver must be accompanied by a licensed driver 25 years or older.
  • A suspension from driving for six months and a one year probation if the driver receives 3 or more points during a 12 month period.

After completing 12 months of successful driving with no violations, the driver will graduate to a full-privilege license, provided they are at least 17 years old.
What is California Graduated Driver Licensing?

What is California GDL? California Graduated Driver Licensing is a system for phasing in on-road driving, allowing beginners to get their initial experience under conditions that involve lower risk and introducing them in stages to more complex driving situations.

Take some time to watch the Young Drivers video here. See if your teen likes this video. If they do, they will love our California graduated driver licensing program.

  • We begin with combining the in-class with the behind-the-wheel training process concurrent with one another.
  • Then we add more hours behind-the-wheel to give the new drivers an opportunity to experience all four seasons and weather conditions under a controlled risk factor.
  • We take away the 6 hour driver training clock and base achievement and graduation on performance, skill and experience.

Remember when we were trying to teach our new teenagers as if we were traveling on a two-lane dirt road at 35 MPH, when our average traveled speed in California exceeds 55 MPH on a six-lane highway? Most families had a single vehicle in the fifties and sixties, and then to two vehicles in the seventies. The days of driving on weekends with mom and dad for the first year or two is over. In today’s hectic schedules, we are not allowing ourselves time to protect our California teens and teach them to drive as we should be. Parents need to realize that as the times change we must keep pace with that change.

Our driving generation, 35 to 50 years old, will be remembered as the worse driving generation in the history of the vehicle. We average 40,000 fatalities per year. Our generation needs to change the way we think and teach California graduated driver licensing.

If you look closely, you'll realize we spend about 12 years on basic education, reading writing, math, history and physical education…and only 6 hours behind the wheel training in a vehicle.

We need to be remembered as the generation that created the best California drivers in history. The generation that did something about the way we think and teach driver training. We need help from every mom and dad to complete this goal. We need to invest our time in our teenagers and take the time needed to teach our children to drive better.

This could mean as much as 1 or two years of guidance. And to do this you will need the very best California curriculum and training videos available. You will need to allow California graduated driver licensing to become part of your families dinner conversation and sharing experiences on new intersections, changes on the interstate on ramps or maybe a lost of a fellow student friend.

California Driver education and training is no longer a project to hire out to the local driving school. Parents need to get involved and stay involved for at least two or three years. Placing driving restrictions and hours on when a new driver is allowed to drive and with whom. This, in essence, is California Graduated Driver Licensing.


Online Video Library

As soon as you enroll, the student will have access to over 7 hours of excellent quality video content at the click of the button. All graduated driver licensing videos are also available on our Video Library DVD featured below. The online program is easy to follow, and provides over 100 video clips throughout the course to guide the teen driver along the way. A high speed internet access is required.

What is Graduated Driver Licensing?

Essentially an apprentice system, graduated driver licensing utilizes three stages. the first is a supervised learner's period, lasting a minimum of 6 months in optimal systems, then an intermediate licensing phase that allows unsupervised driving, but only in less risky situations, and finally a full-privilege license becomes available when requirements of the first two stages have been met.

Within this framework, substantial variation is possible in terms of the provisions of the stages and their duration. This variation often has created difficulty for jurisdictions that are producing a graduated driver licensing system. Lawmakers need to know what sections their system should include and what the features should be.

About Us About Us

NDT's foundational curriculum combines the at-home or classroom study with hands-on activities, focusing on all parts of the mind while examing the young driver's grasp of the lesson. Not only does this make concepts easier to learn and remember, it’s a blast!

There are seven levels to the curriculum, providing over 30 hours of accreditation. Each lesson ends with a written exam, which can be taken repeatedly if necessary to achieve the desired score.