What You Should Know About the Tennessee Graduated Driver’s License System
The aim of the GDL system is to reduce fatal traffic accidents involving teens and new drivers, and it has proven to be quite effective. The system simply extends the age at which an unrestricted license can be obtained so that teens have more time to develop safe skills and learn how to be defensive drivers.
Teens start the program at age 15 by taking the written test for a learner’s permit. While operating on a permit, you are strictly prohibited from texting or using a cell phone in any way. You must also accumulate at least 50 practice driving hours, and ten of them must be driven at night. Your parent or guardian must supervise your driving anytime you are behind the wheel. You must not get more than 5 points on your permit, or you will not be able to apply for the next phase.
When you turn 16, you are eligible for your intermediate license if you have had your permit for at least six months and fulfilled its requirements. You will have nighttime and passenger restrictions that you must obey including –
- Not driving after 11:00 p.m. or before 6:00 a.m. unless your parent or guardian is with you or a licensed driver over the age of 21 who your parents designated to be your driving supervisor is with you.
- Not having more than one passenger unless the passengers are your siblings or they are over age 21 and have valid, unrestricted licenses.
If you have just moved to Tennessee and you had a permit for at least 180 days in the state you moved from, you can apply for this restricted license.
When you turn age 17, if you have had your intermediate license for at least 12 months and you have not contributed to an accident or received 6 or more points on your record, you are eligible for full driving privileges and an unrestricted license.