Helping young drivers become safe drivers
Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the nation¹. But with the right training and education, you can help lower your teen's risk. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws, like learner's permits, exist to help teen drivers develop skills and experience before receiving their official license. Allstate is committed to protecting your young driver and encourages Graduated Driver Licensing programs.
What is GDL?
All states in the U.S. and Washington D.C. have adopted a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program to teach newer drivers better habits. These programs limit high-risk driving situations for teens and have shown to reduce teen accidents by as much as 50 percent, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In all states, there are 3 stages of the program according to the Insurance Information Institute (III):
- Learner's permit: Requires up to 50 hours of driving practice with an experienced driver.
- Intermediate license: Allows for driving with restrictions like nighttime driving or driving with other teens in the car.
- Full license: Earns the driver full road privileges.
Types of GDL restrictions
The U.S. began enacting GDL laws starting in the 1990s, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Although laws do vary for certain states, most include restrictions for drivers in the intermediate stage around:
- Nighttime driving – has restrictions in all states except Vermont.
- Passengers – 47 states and Washington D.C. restrict the number of passengers under 21 in the vehicle
- Cell phones & electronics – use is not allowed during the first two phases of a GDL program, according to the GHSA
To learn more about GDL laws specific to Iowa, review the table below.
14 years old²
Learner stage duration
Required supervised driving hours
Learner's stage: 20 hours, 2 of which must be at night Intermediate stage: 10 hours, 2 of which must be at night²
Nighttime driving restriction
12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.
(family members are exempt unless otherwise noted)
No more than one younger than 18 for first 6 months unless passenger restriction is waived by a parent
Minimum age for full-privilege driving
12 months licensed and 17 years old, or until 18 years old (whichever comes first)
Cell phone or electronics usage
Not permitted before full driver's license
Selecting a car with teen safety in mind
GDL laws are a great way to prepare young drivers for the road, but you can do even more to keep your teen safe. If you're looking for a car fit for your teen, make sure to consider things like:
- vehicle type
- vehicle size
- safety ratings
- safety features
You can find information on vehicle safety ratings and features from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) vehicle ratings page.
Get quality coverage for young drivers with good discounts
We require that all licensed drivers in the household be added to the policy, but teens with a learner's permit don't need to be added. However, if your young driver is in any stage of the GDL program (or has a learner’s permit), it may be a good idea to add them to your car insurance policy. That way, you have protection on your vehicle if the unexpected happens.* Allstate constantly works to help you find new ways to save. When adding a young driver to your policy, there are many discounts you and your family can benefit from.