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What It Is

The Graduated Driver License (GDL) law is the single most effective tool in reducing teen driver crashes. The Missouri GDL law is a three-step licensing system designed to help reduce the causes that pose the greatest risk to new drivers.

Some of the highest driving risk factors for teens include driving at night, with multiple passengers, distracted and unbelted. Parents can make the First Impact by limiting exposure to high-risk situations. GDL works! Make it work for your teen.

Learn more about the Missouri Graduated Driver License Law .

Why It Works

Research confirms that graduated driver licensing, or GDL laws, have been instrumental in reducing teen crashes by 20 to 40%.

The leading causes of teen deaths in Missouri are inexperience, nighttime driving and driving with passengers. The highest risk is at age 16, during the first year of independent driving.

GDL works because it gets to the heart of why teens crash and die on our roadways. It limits the number of passengers teens may have in their vehicles, prohibits late night driving and cell phone use, and requires everyone to buckle up.

 

3 Steps

 

The Graduated Driver License (GDL) system is designed to help teen drivers receive the education and guidance necessary to help reduce the causes that pose the greatest risks to new drivers.

The Missouri GDL law is broken down into three steps.

1. Instruction Permit

Eligibility

  • Eligible at age 15 and valid for 12 months
  • Teens must pass the vision, road sign and written tests to obtain

Rules and Restrictions

  • Teens must practice for at least 6 months or 182 days
  • Teens must log a minimum of 40 hours of supervised practice driving with 10 of those hours occurring at night
  • Under age 16, teens may drive only when accompanied in the front seat by a qualified person at least 25 years of age who has been licensed for a minimum of 3 years and received written permission from a parent
  • At age 16, teens may drive only when accompanied in the front seat by a qualified person at least 21 years of age and holds a valid driver’s license
  • Qualified person is a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or certified driving instructor
  • No texting. Missouri law prohibits drivers 21 years of age and younger from sending, reading or writing an electronic message while behind the wheel, including while stopped in traffic. The fine for texting and driving is $200.00. Two points will be assessed on the driving record for each conviction
  • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a safety belt
2. Intermediate License

Eligibility

  • Eligible at age 16 after completing all the requirements of the instruction permit phase
  • Driving privilege cannot have been suspended, revoked or denied during the instruction permit phase
  • No alcohol-related convictions within the last 12 months
  • No traffic convictions within the last 6 months
  • Teens must pass the vision, road sign recognition and driving tests

Rules and Restrictions

  • No texting. Missouri law prohibits drivers 21 years of age and younger from sending, reading or writing an electronic message while behind the wheel, including while stopped in traffic. The fine for texting and driving is $200.00. Two points will be assessed on the driving record for each conviction
  • During the first 6 months, your teen may operate a motor vehicle with no more than one passenger who is under 19 years old and not a member of your immediate family
  • After the first 6 months, your teen may operate a motor vehicle with no more than three passengers who are under 19 years old and not members of your immediate family
  • Your teen may not drive alone between 1 AM and 5 AM except to and from a school activity, job or for an emergency, unless accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years or older
  • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a safety belt
3. Under 21 Full Driver License

Eligibility

  • Eligible at age 18
  • Must have a valid intermediate license
  • Must pass the vision and road sign recognition tests
  • No crash-related or alcohol/drug violations within the last 12 months
  • Driving privilege cannot have been suspended, revoked or denied during the intermediary phase

 

Keep in mind….

The terms of the MO GDL law are considered to be the minimum, NOT maximum standard for teen driving safety. When training a new driver, the goal should be to exceed the terms of Missouri GDL law in order to keep teens as safe as possible during their most dangerous driving years.

The two GDL restrictions that have the most lifesaving potential:

  1. Limits on nighttime driving
  2. Limits on passengers