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Changes to state GDL law will benefit teen driver safety

January 24, 2011

The Michigan legislature recently approved changes to the state law addressing graduated driver licensing, placing new restrictions on novice teen drivers.

Effective March 30, the nighttime driving restriction for new drivers with a level 2 graduated drivers license (GDL) is 10 p.m. In addition, drivers with a level 2 GDL cannot have more than one passenger under the age of 21, except if the passengers are members of the driver's immediate family, or if the trip being taken is to or from school or a school-sponsored event.

Research professor Ray Bingham, head of UMTRI's Young Driver Behavior and Injury Prevention Group, gave testimony last June in support of the changes (summarized in House Bill 4493).

"Driving with a teenage passenger and driving at night are two of the most dangerous conditions teens face in the first months of learning to drive," said Bingham. "By placing limits on the number of passengers teens can carry, this revised GDL law will, without a doubt, reduce crashes and save lives in Michigan."

The three levels of a graduated drivers license include learner (driving only with supervision), intermediate (driving unsupervised with restrictions), and full (no restrictions).