Going from provisional to full license in Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) means that teens have successfully completed the first two phases of GDL: learner's permit and provisional (also known as intermediate). To earn a full license, teens must also be conviction free for the prior consecutive six months, obey their jurisdiction's traffic laws, and have a clean driving record.
When going from provisional to full license, teens have passed the behind-the-wheel driving test and have practiced independently for several months. It's important for families to understand that full license only means that teens have met the minimum requirements to drive on their own.
The majority of newly licensed teen drivers exit the learner's permit period with significant skill deficits, leading to a much higher risk of crashing than more experienced drivers. Driving is a complex skill that takes years of practice and experience to master. Teens should be encouraged when going from provisional to full license to continue practicing and to avoid risky driving behaviors.
Parents can promote safe driving behaviors by modeling them for their teens and agreeing on house rules to enforce safe driving practices:
- Use seat belts on every trip, as a driver and as a passenger
- Follow all driving laws, including no speeding and no in-car cell phone use
- Don't speed
- No driving while impaired (drugged, drunk, or drowsy)
When going from provisional to full license, teens should also look to their parents for support. Parents can still ride along as passengers to provide guidance in difficult situations like in heavy city traffic and in construction zones. They can also provide alternatives, like rides, to avoid unsafe driving situations.