Teen Driving In North Carolina

Teen drivers in North Carolina have to complete a graduated licensing program, which includes driver's education, restrictions on time of driving, number of passengers and cell phone use.

The highway patrol reports the teen driver in Thursday's tragic crash had a full provisional license, with no driving curfew or restrictions on the number of passengers in the vehicle. That means the driver had successfully completed the first several steps in North Carolina's graduated licensing program.

Under the program, teenagers in North Carolina can take driver's education when they are 14 and a half years old. All teenagers must pass a driver's education course.

At age 15, they can apply for a Level One Limited Learner's Permit.

With the permit, teens can drive between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. for the first six months, with adult supervision by a driver who has had their license for at least five years. No cell phone use is allowed, except in an emergency. For the second six months, the teen can drive any time with adult supervision.

Once a teen driver completes 12 months of driving with permit, he or she can then apply for the next license, which is a Level Two Limited Provisional License. The teen can't apply if he or she has had any moving convictions within the 12-month period, or any cell phone violations or seat belt violations within the past six months.

To get the provisional license, the teen must pass a road skills test. Once that is successfully completed, the teen may drive without supervision between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. A teen can drive without supervision outside that window if they work or volunteer for emergency services. A teen can also drive outside that window for any other reason with adult supervision.

When an adult supervisor is not in the vehicle, only one passenger younger than 21 can be in the vehicle. There are some exceptions to this rule. According to the NC DMV, this "limit does not apply to passengers who are members of the license holder’s immediate family or whose primary residence is the same household as the license holder. However, if a family member or member of the same household as the license holder who is younger than 21 years of age is a passenger in the vehicle, no other passengers under 21 years of age who are not members of the license holder’s immediate family or members of the license holder’s household may be in the vehicle."

Cell phone use is still prohibited, except in an emergency.

After six months with a Level Two Provisional License, with no convictions for moving vehicle violations, seat belt violations or cell phone violations, the driver can apply for a Level Three Full Provisional License.

With this license, there are no restrictions about time of driving, adult supervision and number of passengers. No cell phone use by a driver under the age of 18 is permitted, except in an emergency.

The DMV also has a rule called "Lose Control, Lose Your License."

The DMV will suspend a teenager's license if the student receives a suspension of more than 10 consecutive days or is assigned to an alternative school for more than 10 consecutive days because of discipline problems.

Once a driver turns 18, he or she then obtains a regular driver's license.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by A Teen Driver on Nov 22, 2010 at 07:30 AM
    I read these comments and can't help but feel some people are making us teen drivers sound as if we ALL are stupid or irresponsible or that NONE of us care at all. But I am almost 18 years old, I have been in the work force since I was 16. So first of all...me working has helped support my family, I could not have done that without a license. Second, I know the dangers of texting while driving and it does not kill me to wait a few min. until I am not driving to read my text messages. And my friends are the same way. My point is this...before anyone starts accusing ALL teens of being dangerous drivers, think about the mother who has lost her daughter not because she was texting but because a drunk driver hit her. Think of the father that will never see his son play college football not because he was showing off but because he just didn't know how sharp that curve was and he over corrected (a mistake made by many adult drivers) and think of us teens who get blamed for others mistakes
  • by summer Location: Bath on Nov 22, 2010 at 05:27 AM
    Wilma, you talk in circles, no wonder it does not make sense! I did not put words in your submission, show me where?! I don't really care about your perspective on life, that is up to you!! I do find that alot of your comments are heartless toward people that have lost a loved one, just remember when you point one finger there are three pointing back at you!!!! I am not going to TRY to convince you of anything, you stick with your goals of perfection, but keep in mind you are not God, ONLY HE sets the goals for perfection! Back at you :( !
  • by Wilma Location: Greenville on Nov 20, 2010 at 12:19 PM
    Summer, start reading my posts about all of that other stuff you talked about. I certainly don't live in a perfect world, but I have a perspective on life that people like you don't have. There is nothing wrong with setting goals of perfection, as I know full well they will never be attained. I never said that kids should not drive. Don't put words into my submission please. I never had anything but the basic essentials provided for me. Most kids when they are younger do stupid things and live to tell about it, but you cannot convince me that the number of deaths by teenagers driving has in fact decreased with all of this new technology that they cannot live without. If i'm a sad person with unreasonable information, you are an apologist with rose colored glasses on. :(
  • by summer Location: Bath on Nov 20, 2010 at 09:10 AM
    Oh me, oh my, Wilma not everyone lives in a perfect space like you seem to. There are kids that need their license because they have jobs or maybe they have a parent that has disabilities and the kid has to help, not all families have everything given to them. I know speaking from personal experience, my dad was disabled, He tried to make a living the best he could, but was so thankful when i got my license so i could help him. There are alot of circumstances that should be considered. But some people have tunnel vision and only see things one way. By the way everyone road in my old car to school and we graduated and lived through it!!! Have you given any thought about the drunk drivers that kill, bet they didn't even have a license to begin with! How about illegals??? You and alot of others are sad people to be so full of unreasonable information. :(
  • by Tee Location: Greenville on Nov 20, 2010 at 06:23 AM
    Words can not express the sadness I feel in my heart over the lost of yet another teenager to a motor vehicle accident involving a young driver. I have a teenager who is just learning to drive, not yer having a license but just the thought of this happening really scares me. WITN reported the driver was 16, is this correct, because this article reads he wasn't under any restrictions. How is this? You can't get your license until 16, then you have to drive for a year under restriction without any moving violations or other stipulations. What happened here?
  • by Wilma Location: Greenville on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:02 PM
    To Sad 11/19 @ 10:37 pm: Many words of wisdom you typed there. Again though, most posters on here just want to pray when accidents happen rather than try to get their children to learn from these tragic events. If you in fact have children, you have a great mindset to produce safe, responsible kids to this complicated world we live in. I couldn't have said it better myself. Great post. Word of warning though, posters may not like your well thought out comments and "report abuse" just because they don't agree with you. WITN will then delete your post. Trust me, I know.
  • by Wilma Location: Greenville on Nov 19, 2010 at 10:56 PM
    To S 11/19 @ 7:24pm; You said "...and parents should NEVER NEVER let a teen driver drive around with a bunch of other teens...there is just too much temptation to show off....". I completely agree. Keep those comments here though because your posts will get deleted if you speak educated information like that in other stories on here. WITN does not adhere to their own rules and deletes posts just because someone doesn't agree with what was said, and decides to "report abuse" even though the posts did not bash anyone, but merely stated facts. Freedom of speech on this website as long as it agrees with moderators' agendas.
  • by Sad Location: BC on Nov 19, 2010 at 07:37 PM
    The reality of this story is that kids these days do not have the parental guidance they so desperately need...Parents are too busy trying to be their children's "buddy" and buying them anything they ask for to get them out of their hair,instead of being a "parent"...I see kids every day telling their parents what to do & how to do it instead of the other way around...I see parents too occupied with their own lives to spend quality time teaching their children responsibility & how to be a productive citizen...I also blame parents for letting their teens go anywhere at anytime in a vehicle without knowing or caring who the driver is...When a child is behind the wheel,he is in control of a lethal weapon that can terminate anothers life in the blink of an eye...It sometimes takes a senseless tragedy to show parents & kids the reality of the road.
  • by BC Mom Location: NHS on Nov 19, 2010 at 07:13 PM
    I now have my second teenager driving with her Level 2 license; she's 16. Please read the article: a driver must be at least 15 before they can get their learner's permit. They must be at least 14 1/2 to take driver's ed. Please believe me this is a very complicated system, with multiple rules and regulations. More rules will not solve the problem of car accidents. More rules will simply put young drivers and their parents in the position of either following the rules or doing what they believe is the reasonable thing. Just one example: 16 yr old who does not yet have her "after nines" is participating in a school function (practice) from 7-10. She can drive the 10 minutes home or both parents have to drive to the school so that one can drive her (and her car) home and the other follows. So please, no more rules. Let parents be the parent.
  • by S Location: ENC on Nov 19, 2010 at 04:24 PM
    Folks,take it from someone who has worked with DMV and done thousands of road tests for teens,it DOESN'T MATTER how good they do on a road test...teens still feel like they are invincible no matter what you say to them and that something like a crash could never happen to them...My concern is with the parents...I have had many teens show up for a road test in a brand new sports car that their parents have already bought them...how DUMB CAN YOU GET! These kids need to start their driving career in a beat up old 4 cylinder vehicle that can't go but so fast so that they can get some experience...and parents should NEVER NEVER let a teen driver drive around with a bunch of other teens...there is just too much temptation to show off....I don't care how caring & mature they may seem to their parents,they are still teens & the are going to act like it....No matter how unpopular a parent may seem to their kids,the kids need more restrictions than they are getting these days.
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