Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws

Unlike other states, New Hampshire does not have Learner’s Permits. Instead, teenagers and young adults get their driver licenses through an approved driver education program, supervised driving time, and several tests.

Read last month’s teen driving blog to learn more about “What to Expect When Getting a License.”

Youth Operator License

When you finally get your “Youth Operator License,” you will not have all the privileges of a regular New Hampshire driver license. In New Hampshire, all drivers over 16 years and under 21 years of age who meet the requirements for a driver license will get a vertical license with certain restrictions.

Individuals who are under 18 years of age and hold a Youth Operator License cannot:

  • Drive between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Drive with more than one passenger under 25 years of age*
  • Operate a motor vehicle with more passengers than seat belts or safety restraints

*You may drive more than one passenger under 25 years of age if the other passengers are members of your family. You can also drive multiple people under 25 when you have a responsible adult who is at least 25 in the car with you. This restriction applies for your first six (6) months of holding a Youth Operator License. At age 18, New Hampshire lifts nighttime and passenger driving restrictions.

If you get a speeding ticket or a traffic offense while holding a Youth Operator License, you can also have your license revoked or suspended for 20 to 90 days. If you get two (2) or more speeding tickets, you may also have to carry special insurance.

What Are Graduating Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws?

Per mile driven, teen drivers have crash rates nearly 4 times as high as adult drivers (over age 20). Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens nationwide.

GDL laws exist in all states to reduce teens’ driving risk. This kind of licensing allows teens to practice driving with supervision and restricts them from entering some unsafe driving situations once they can drive on their own. You may be surprised to learn that New Hampshire’s GDL laws are less strict than those in other states. Most safety organizations recommend teens start learning at age 16 and get an intermediate license at 17, but New Hampshire drivers can start learning at 15 ½ and get Youth Operator Licenses at 16.

In addition to adhering to GDL laws in your state, you can reduce your risk of traffic accidents by avoiding other dangerous driving behaviors.

Tune in next month to learn more about distracted driving and DUIs.

Drive Carefully

When you are behind the wheel, follow all traffic laws, including any restrictions that come with your license. Pay attention to the road at all times and always drive sober.

Keep an eye out for careless drivers, as well. You cannot control the behavior of others, so you should always have an emergency plan. If you are harmed by someone else’s negligence, for example, you and your family can always call Gottesman & Hollis, P.A. at (603) 506-4600 or contact our attorneys online.

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