North Carolina State License Law

By Chris Gore

I am a transplant to North Carolina.  I grew up in the great state of Alabama. (Roll Tide)  Since moving here, I have made friends with people who have teenagers, and I’ve watched them go through what seemed to be a very confusing process.  So I decided to research it and I wanted to share my findings.

In Alabama you can get your learner’s permit on Monday, and then Tuesday take the driver’s test. (At least that’s how it worked when I was in high school.)  Here in North Carolina it’s a bit more involved.  I personally believe the graduated system that NC has is a fantastic idea.  The more someone drives with a responsible driver, the better they will get.  The graduated system is broken down into the levels.  Limited Learner Permit, Limited Provisional License and Full Provisional License.  Personally, I believe this is an excellent way to help young drivers.

The first level is for anyone between the ages of 15 and 18.  According to the website, for someone to get their permit, a Driving Eligibility Certificate must be issued by a school district. The certificate is valid for 30 days, and a student must successfully complete a Driver Education Program.  After the teen driver has received their permit, for the first 6 months a supervising driver has to be in the front seat.  The teen is also only allowed to drive from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM. After the first six months they can drive any time as long as the supervising driver is present.

  The second level allows new drivers to drive by themselves from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM unsupervised, and may only have one person under the age of 21 who is not immediate family.  To me, this is an extra safety feature that North Carolina added to all vehicles.  According to a study on the AAA website, 15 percent of teen crashes occur because of passenger distraction.  

The third and final level does not have the restrictions placed on the driver in the first two levels.  Even though the restrictions have been lifted, there is still a need to maintain responsible driving habits.  Our vehicles have high safety ratings and features that are designed to keep you and your children safe.  However, you should never rely on just the vehicle features alone.  

 For more information contact the local DMV or check out the state website.