General Assembly Loosens Requirements for Teen Licensure

Twenty five years ago, North Carolina adopted graduated licensing for young drivers, a system founded on the principle that “[s]afe driving requires instruction in driving and experience.” G.S. 20-11(a). The statutory scheme implementing this program grants driving privileges on a limited basis and expands those privileges over time and upon the satisfaction of additional requirements. Id. Accordingly, to receive the first level of a driver’s license – termed a limited provisional license – a driver must have held a limited learner’s permit for at least 12 months. The holder of a limited provisional license generally may not drive unsupervised after 9 p.m. and may not have more than one passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle. Last month, the General Assembly ratified legislation that loosens these requirements.

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