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Young Drivers

The #1 killer of teens.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death for North Dakota teens. Teen driver inexperience, coupled with immaturity, often results in risk-taking behaviors such as speeding, alcohol use, and not wearing a seat belt – all of which contribute to an increased death rate. In North Dakota, teen drivers age 14-19 account for 5% of all licensed drivers, but are behind the wheel in nearly 20% of all crashes.
Teen drivers were involved in 12% of fatal crashes in North Dakota in 2017. And, over the past 5 years in North Dakota, 53 teens have died in vehicle crashes.

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL)

  • GDL is a three-stage approach to granting young drivers full license privileges. All states have some form of GDL laws in place, which has shown an overall crash reduction of 10-30% nationwide. The three stages of GDL are:
    • Permit phase - Driving under supervision of an experienced driver
    • Intermediate license - No longer needs supervision to drive, but subject to short-term restrictions, such as night driving or number of passengers
    • Unrestricted/full license
  • North Dakota
    • GDL only applies to teens who obtain a permit at age 14
    • After permit, teens are issued an intermediate license until age 16
      • No driving between 9 p.m., or sunset (whichever is later) and 5 a.m.
    • North Dakota is one of only 5 states that does not have a limit on passengers during the intermediate phase of license

Current North Dakota Policy:

  • Learner's Permit
    • At least 14 years old.
    • The holding period is 6 to 12 months. For example, a driver that starts the process at age 15 years old and 6 months only holds the permit for 6 months. In contrast, a driver that starts the process at 14 years old will hold the permit for 12 months.
    • Driver education is required if under age 16.
    • Minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice.
    • Must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least age 18.
  • Intermediate License
    • The holding period is up to 12 months (until teen reaches 16 years old). For example, a driver who receives their intermediate license at 15 holds it until they reach 16 years old. In contrast, a driver who receives their intermediate license at 15 years and 11 months will only hold it for 1 month.
    • Night driving restricted between 9 p.m. or sunset, whichever is later, and 5 a.m. for 6 months (with exceptions).
    • No policy on number of teen passengers.
    • No cell phone use.
    • No requirement to remain crash or conviction free.
  • Standard License
    • Minimum age of 16.

Lead Agencies:

ND State Highway Patrol
ND DOT
ND Department of Health