Reactions to GDL

A large majority of adults and teens believe that graduated driver licensing is a good idea. More than 95 percent of North Carolina parents — regardless of whether they lived in an urban or rural area — either “highly approved” or “somewhat approved” of GDL, according a survey conducted by HSRC researchers. Similarly, 80 percent of North Carolina teens, regardless of where they live, were found to either highly approve or somewhat approve of the system.

HSRC researchers have also examined the extent to which critical restrictions in North Carolina's graduated driver licensing (GDL) system are known, adhered to, and enforced. After conducting telephone interviews among 900 teens and their parents, HSRC discovered that awareness of North Carolina's night and passenger restrictions was very high among both groups.

Highlights of the findings include:

  • Ten percent of teenagers reported violating the night restriction without their parents' knowledge, and 15 percent had done so with their parents' approval.
  • Only 4 percent of parents reported allowing their teenagers to drive with more than one teenage passenger, but 19 percent of teenagers reported that they were allowed to do this.
  • Violations of the passenger restriction without parental knowledge were more common than violations of the night restriction (22 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively).
  • Among teenagers who violated restrictions without their parents' knowledge, most reported doing so only once or a few times.
  • There was very low awareness of the seat belt requirement.

HSRC also gathered information on teens’ and parents’ perception of the enforcement of GDL restrictions. Teens expressed little concern about detection, although a majority reported driving more carefully to avoid police notice. Neither parents nor teens knew much about police enforcement of GDL restrictions.