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Vermont Graduated License Program - VT Graduated Drivers License Requirements

Vermont Graduated Drivers License

Most of the states have some form of a graduated drivers license program and Vermont is no exception to this rule. The graduated driver's license program in Vermont contains the same key elements as similar programs in others states, such as a learners permit stage, a restricted license stage and mandatory drivers education classes for teenage drivers. The Vermont graduate drivers license law applies only to drivers under the age of 18 and is aimed at reducing the number of casualties on the road. Failure to observe all Vermont graduated driver license restrictions may result in your driving privilege being suspended or cancelled altogether.

Here is what the official Vermont driver's handbook tells us about the state graduated driver's license law:

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for teenagers. As a parent or guardian, you have a critical role in influencing your child's safe driving habits. The graduated driver's license law requires teens 15 to 18 years old learn to drive in stages. Restrictions on young drivers are based on scientific findings and some of the major factors that place teens at risk: age, lack of driving experience, passengers and other distractions. The GDL exists to save teen lives and reduce injuries.

This description of the Vermont graduated driver's license program is very concise and to the point. The program was developed in order to save lives. It does so by eliminating some of the risk factors faced by teenagers who are just starting to drive. But what are these risk factors and why does the program apply only to teenagers, not everyone who wants to obtain a Vermont drivers license?

If you look at statistics, you will notice that teenagers have the highest crash rates when compared to drivers of other age groups. There are a few things that could explain this and lack of driving experience is probably the most influential one. Quite often, a teenage driver simply does not know how to deal with a traffic situation he/she encounters on the road and fails to take adequate actions, which may lead to drastic results. While this statement is also true for drivers of other ages who just got licensed, the crash rates for them are significantly lower due to the fact that older drivers usually drive slower and take various safety precautions while doing so. On the contrary, teens frequently overestimate their own driving skills and ignore the basic safety procedures, such as wearing a seat belt.

All these factors led to the fact that a set of laws was designed to address the issue of teenage driving. These laws came to be known as the Vermont graduated drivers license program and they affect the licensing procedure for everyone who is under 18 years of age.

Graduated License Stages

It was found that dividing the licensing process into a number of separate steps of phases could allow teenagers to slowly submerge into the world of driving and significantly reduce the risks of a teen driver being involved in a traffic accident. At the moment, the graduated license program in Vermont has the following key stages:

  1. Learners permit
  2. Junior drivers license
  3. Operator's license

If you are at least 18 years of age, the Vermont graduated driver's license program does not apply to you and you can obtain a drivers license through a simplified application procedure. However, the testing procedures you have to go through are the same no matter how old you are and you must take a Vermont permit test and a driving skills test before you can be issued with a driver license. If you want to see whether you are ready for the real permit test, you may take a free Vermont practice permit test that covers the same rules and signs.

Vermont Learners Permit

The minimum age for applying for a Vermont learner's permit is 15 years. At this age, you can schedule an appointment at one of the Vermont DMV testing centers, take a permit test and receive a drivers permit. Your learners permit entitles you to start the driving practice, but it only grants you limited driving privileges and you have to observe the following Vermont permit restrictions while driving:

  • No driving alone. You must have a supervising driver accompany you at all times. The supervising driver must be seated in the front seat next to you, must possess a valid Vermont drivers license and be your parent, legal guardian, a professional drivers ed instructor or any other adult at least 25 years of age.
  • Seat belts. Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
  • Cell phones. You cannot use any communication or entertainment devices while driving.

The learners permit must be help for at least 12 months before you can take a Vermont drivers test and receive a drivers license. Within this period, you must complete at least 40 hours of supervised driving, with at least 10 of them done at nighttime. These hours must be logged into a Driving Practice Log Sheet, TA-VN-210, which is available at the DMV drivers manual or can be picked up at one of the DMV offices.

In addition to completing 40 hours of supervised driving, the graduated license law requires you to participate in a Vermont drivers education course. The course must be approved by the DMV and the Department of Education. It consist of 30 hours of classroom instruction, 6 hours of behind the wheel practice and 6 hours of in car observation. Driving hours completed as part of your drivers education course do not count towards the supervised driving requirement and may not be logged into the practice log sheet.

During the last six months of the permit holding period, the Vermont graduated license rules mandate that you cannot receive any traffic violations. If you are convicted of a moving violation or breaking the graduated license restrictions, the permit holding period is automatically extended by another six months.

Once the above graduated drivers license requirements are met, you can take a driving skills test and receive a Junior Drivers License.

Vermont Junior Drivers License

The minimum age for applying for a junior driver's license is 16 and you must fulfill all learner's permit requirements prior to the application. Your junior driver's license is the second step of he Vermont graduated license system and it allows you to start driving unsupervised, provided you observe the following restrictions:

  • Passenger restrictions. You cannot carry any passengers during the first three months following the issuance of the junior license. For the second three months, you can carry your family members only. Passenger restrictions do not apply if you have a supervising driver at least 25 years of age or a professional driving instructor seated in the front seat next to you.
  • Employment. During the first year, you cannot operate a vehicle in the course of your employment. This means that you cannot operate as a pizza delivery driver or carry passengers for hire.
  • Cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone or any other communication device while driving.
  • Seat belts. Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.

Since the Vermont graduated driver's license program applies only to those who are under 18 years of age, your junior license will be upgraded to a full unrestricted Vermont driver's license on your 18th birthday.

Please keep in mind that the state takes the graduated drivers license law very seriously and failure to observe the GDL requirements may cost you your driving privilege.