SafetySock Blog - How Does Graduated Driver Licensing Work?

How Does Graduated Driver Licensing Work?

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) are programs designed to educate and train new drivers of motor vehicles.  They vary from country to country and according to type of vehicle.

In the United States, its individual states govern GDL programs.  The federal government does support such a driver training project, but only recently (2011) has US Congress attempted to pass legislation mandating basic requirements for these programs.  So far nothing of substance has been enacted.

Regardless of the federal situation, state-level programs were established to protect new drivers from endangering themselves as well as their fellow drivers on the road.  When one talks about new drivers, one usually means teenage drivers.  Sadly, the leading cause of teenage deaths in America motor vehicle accidents—comprising over ONE-THIRD of all teenage deaths.  (

For this reason, most GDL programs recommend that teenage drivers remain in their vehicles should their vehicles become incapacitated, whether they are still on the road or have managed to pull over onto the roadside.  If they have cell phones, great—call for help, but still stay put inside their vehicles.

Of course, their vehicles come with various safety accessories and equipment to tell the world that they need help.  Turning on their blinkers is an obvious first action to take.  Usually, vehicles come with safety kits, oftentimes including such equipment as flares and reflective plastic triangles, but these objects require people to get out of their vehicles to use.

So, it would be advisable for drivers to add another type of safety equipment:  a reflective piece of material that can be easily stored inside the vehicle.  When needed, it can be installed on the outside of the vehicle while the driver or passenger remains inside.  Sure, the blinking lights also do the same job. However, should those lights become inoperative, that piece of reflective material could make the difference between life and death.

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