Every month brings a new wave of teens anxious to pass their driving test and get their license. However, Alabama has a three-stage program new drivers must follow in order to obtain full driving privileges. Failing to follow this program can result in delay or suspension of their license.

Alabama’s graduated driver’s license (GDL) program consists of three parts: learner’s permit, restricted license, and unrestricted license. The GDL program stipulates and determines whether and when a person is ready and allowed to operate a motorized vehicle. The restrictions placed on each license are different.

What happens if you break the rules?

If a person commits a traffic offense while in the GDL program, they can face an extended restriction/license suspension until six months have passed or until their 18th birthday. Traffic offenses mean the driver won’t face criminal penalties, court expenses, or get a citation. In addition, they generally will not lose GDL program points for breaking GDL rules.

However, new drivers, just like everyone else, will receive a ticket if the police stop them for a violation like speeding, using a cellphone while driving, or being drunk behind the wheel. GDL participants also face a two-month license suspension if convicted of:

  • A second violation
  • Racing
  • Fleeing from the police
  • Driving recklessly
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Failing to provide required information to police

Why did Alabama develop a program for graduated licenses?

The GDL program aims to help young and inexperienced drivers learn to drive safely before they start driving on their own. By limiting the number of hours a young person can drive, as well as the number of people in the car and the hours during which the vehicle can be operated, the state hopes to limit the number of car accidents involving teen drivers each year.

How can parents help keep their teen drivers safe?

There are many actions that parents can take to keep their teenaged drivers safe. The most important action, perhaps, is to lead by example. You should follow the speed limits, wear your seatbelts, put your phone away, and never get behind the wheel of a car after you’ve been drinking. By modeling good behavior for your teenagers, you can help keep them safer – and keep yourself safer, too.

Another thing you can do is let them practice as much as possible. Sure, it can be a little stressful to let your child get behind the wheel, but practice makes perfect. You can also enroll your teen driver in lessons with a professional company, too, which may even save you money on your car insurance.

Finally, talk to your kids about their responsibility to other drivers and passengers. Remind them that when they are behind the wheel, it is their job to ensure that everyone gets home safely.

What should I do if my child gets into a car accident?

First, take a deep breath.

Second, make sure to call the police, an ambulance (if needed), and then your insurance company to report the incident. Next, ensure you’re present when the police question your child, and encourage them to answer honestly and truthfully, but without admitting any fault outright.

Then, schedule an appointment with your family doctor within the week, if possible, for a check-up. Not all injuries will be apparent at the time of the crash, and it is important that your child’s medical records be up-to-date. If your teen driver was injured enough to go to a hospital at the time of the collision, make sure that he or she attends all follow-up appointments and takes any prescribed medication. File away all medical paperwork in a safe place.

And, call your Alabama car accident lawyer and talk to us about what happened. The consultation is free, and we work on contingency, so it won’t cost you anything to learn more about your rights.

Drivers’ license laws and rules in Alabama can be tricky. Ensure you and your teen understand their rights in the event of an accident. Talk to the experienced auto accident attorneys from the Mezrano Law Firm. We have offices located in Birmingham, Florence, Gadsden, Mobile, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa to better serve our clients. Call our office at 205-649-3552 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation today.