Teen Driver Laws

About Teen Driver Laws

Tennessee’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program is a multi-tiered program designed to ease young novice drivers into full driving privileges as they become more mature and develop their driving skills. By requiring more supervised practice, the State of Tennessee hopes to save lives and prevent tragic injuries. Tennessee’s GDL Program started on July 1, 2001.  It places certain restrictions on teens under the age of 18 who have learner permits and driver licenses. The program requires parent/legal guardian involvement, and emphasizes the importance of a good driving record.

Level 1: Learner Permit (PD)
 
Requirements:
 
15 years old
 
Vision Exam
 
Knowledge Test
 
SF-1010 School Form
 
Parent Signature
 
Proof of U.S. Citizenship/Lawful Permanent Residency
 
Issued For:
 
12 months*
 
Restrictions:
 
Accompanied by licensed driver 21+ in front seat
 
No driving between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
 
Seatbelts mandatory for driver, front seat occupants, and passengers under 18 (child restraint devices for 9 & under)
 
All cell phone use prohibited
 
Level 2: Intermediate Restricted (IR)*
 

Requirements:

16 years old

Valid PD held for 180 days

SF-1256 Form certifying 50 hours driving experience (must include 10 hours at night)

Pass Driving Test

Cannot have 6 or more points in last 180 days

Issued For:

Until age 21

Restrictions:

One passenger in car*

No driving between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Seatbelts mandatory for driver, front seat occupants, and passengers under 18 (child restraint devices for 9 & under)

All cell phone use prohibited

Level 3: Intermediate Unrestricted (IU)*

Requirements:

17 years old

Valid IR for 1 year 

Must not have accumulated 6 or more points on driving record, an at-fault accident or a 2nd seat belt conviction (Note: Conviction of 2nd seat belt violation adds 90 days waiting to the IR).

Issued For:

Until age 21

Restrictions:

Seatbelts mandatory for driver, front seat occupants, and passengers under 18 (child restraint devices for 9 & under)

All cell phone use prohibited 

Level 4: Regular Class D Driver License*

Requirements:

18 years old

Issued For:

Until age 21 ("Under 21" indicator will remain)

Restrictions:

Seatbelts mandatory for driver, front seat occupants, and passengers under 18 (child restraint devices for 9 & under)

All cell phone use prohibited

The procedures for obtaining a driver license for those under the age of 18 are covered in Section A-3 of the Comprehensive Driver Manual on the State Department of Safety website.  Review Section A-3 of the Comprehensive Driver Manual for additional information on the Graduated Driver License Program. 

Teen Risk Factors

Belt Up

In 2010, the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved 12,546 lives.

Slow Down in Work Zones

Work-zone crashes kill a teenager every 3 days.

Don't Text & Drive

Distracted-driving crashes kill 8 people every day.

Helpful Links