What does GDL mean?

Graduated drivers license. Most states now restrict your first drivers license or learner's permit until certain education and training requirements have been met.

In Florida, for example, a teen driver between the ages of 15 and 17 begins the licensing process by taking a drivers education class, and then applies for a learner's license. This license is restricted to daylight hours with a fully licensed adult driver alongside in the front seat. After three months of incident-free driving, you can drive legally until 10 p.m. After 50 hours of documented and approved practice driving, you are then encouraged but not required to take a professional drivers training class, which then waives the need for a driving test. After holding the restricted license for one year, apply for your operator's license, which also carries hour restrictions for unsupervised driving. Another year without incident, and you have graduated to your unrestricted drivers license, typically at age 18.

As more and more states get more and more serious about road safety, DMV regulations are leaning more heavily toward GDL programs. Expect a different process from the one your parents might be familiar with, but one that still requires some patience and preparation to weather. It's always a good idea to study your driver handbook, take some practice tests, and obey all of the education and training requirements necessary to obtain your full freedoms on the road.

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