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):

  1. Learner's permit: Requires up to 50 hours of driving practice with an experienced driver.
  2. Intermediate license: Allows for driving with restrictions like nighttime driving or driving with other teens in the car.
  3. Full license: Earns the driver full road privileges.

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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 West Virginia, review the table below.

West Virginia Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws

Minimum age
15 years old²
Learner stage duration
6 months²
Required supervised driving hours
50 hours, 10 of which must be at night without driver's ed.;
0 hours with driver's ed.
Nighttime driving restriction
10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Passenger restriction
(family members are exempt unless otherwise noted)

No passengers under 20 years old during the first 6 months; No more than 1 passenger under 20 years old during the second 6 months
Minimum age for full-privilege driving
12 months and age 17 or until age 18, whichever occurs first
Cell phone or electronics usage
Not permitted before full driver's license

Driving in another state? View other state GDL laws.

Learn more about teen driving and GDL laws from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's GDL laws. Have questions about your state? Get info on West Virginia licensing requirements and teen driving in West Virginia.

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.

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