Graduated Driver Licensing

Health Promotion
Public Health

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​​Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL)

GDL allows young drivers to safely gain experience before obtaining full driving privileges (GHSA*).  GDL laws reduce teen-related motor vehicle crashes because they keep teens out of high risk situations like those listed below.  Since the implementation of the Nebraska GDL law in 1998, teen crashes have been reduced by at least 60 percent.

A teen's crash risk is affected by brain development, personality, level of experience and driving in high-risk driving situations.  GDL provisions work to reduce a teen's exposure to high risk situations in order to reduce the likelihood of involvement in a crash.

The following are Nebraska's GDL driving restrictions and why they are important for a teen's safety.

Nighttime Driving

Holder of a POP (Provisional Operator Permit) shall not drive from midnight to 6 AM unless to or from school activities or work.

  • Per mile driven, the fatal crash rate of 16-19 year-olds i​s about 4 times as high at night as it is during day. (IIHS)
  • States with nighttime restrictions in place have reported up to a 60 percent reduction in crashes during the restricted hours. (CHOP)



For the first 6 months, holder of a POP is limited to one passenger younger than 19 who is not an immediate family member.

  • The crash risk doubles when teens drive one peer passenger and triples with two or more teen passengers. (CHOP)
  • With peer passengers in the car, male teen drivers were almost six times more likely to perform an illegal maneuver and twice more likely to act aggressively before crashing than when driving alone. (CHOP)


Cell Phones

Holder of a School Learners Permit (LPE), School Permit (SCP), Learners Permit (LPD) or Provisional Operators Permit (POP) shall not use any type of interactive wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

  • Teens are four times more likely to crash while using a cell phone, whether or not it's hands free. (NSC)
  • Text messaging increases the risk of a crash or near crash by two times. (VTTI)


Seat Belts

All persons being transported, including the driver, must use a seat belt.

  • Teens, as both passengers and drivers, have the lowest seat belt use of any age group. (CDC)
  • In Nebraska in 2020, 78% of the 18 teen traffic fatalities (drivers and passengers, ages 13 -19) were NOT wearing seat belts. (NDOTHSO)
  • Seat belts reduce fatal injury by 45 percent. (NHTSA)



Anyone under age 21 is prohibited from driving with any measureable amount of alcohol in their body, zero tolerance.

  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers. (CDC​)