Michigan's Graduated Licensing


Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is a driver licensing system designed to teach teens to drive by gradually increasing their driving privileges as they advance through the system. GDL consists of two segments of driver education instruction and three licensing levels.


The three licensing levels in GDL are: a supervised learner's license (Level 1 License), an intermediate license that limits passengers and unsupervised nighttime driving (Level 2 License), and a full-privilege driver's license (Level 3 License) issued after a teen driver has successfully completed all previous instruction and driving requirements.

GDL license levels 1 and 2 have certain restrictions to limit teens' driving exposure to high-risk situations and help protect them while they are learning to drive.


The GDL Timeline shows how graduated driver licensing and driver education are  intertwined. The Michigan's Graduated Driver Licensing: A Guide for Parents contains valuable information on graduated driver licensing, driver education, coaching tips for parents and more. Parents and teens are encouraged to read this publication.



A teen driver's first year behind the wheel is critical. That's why Michigan - and other states across the country - have adopted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws for teen drivers. 


Michigan's laws are designed to help teens gradually - and safely - build their skills and experience behind the wheel.

  • Crashes are the leading cause of death for teens across the United States.
  • Teens face the greatest risk of crashing during their first year of driving.  One out of every five licensed 16-year-olds will be in a vehicle crash.
  • Teens are less likely than adults to understand the risks of driving because they lack experience.  Also, their brains are still developing well into their 20s, affecting their judgment while driving.

Graduated Driver's License Level 2 Restrictions


Graduated Driver License Level 2 restrictions have changed. Michigan Public Act 124 of 2011 amends the changes that were made in March 2011 and makes these new restrictions effective July 20, 2011. Under the recent changes, GDL Level 2 licensed drivers:

 Shall not operate a motor vehicle between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. except when:

  • driving to or from or in the course of employment;
  • driving to or from an authorized activity; or
  • accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or a licensed driver 21 years of age or older designated by the parent or legal guardian.
2. Shall not operate a motor vehicle at any time with more than 1 passenger in the vehicle who is less than 21 years of age except:
  • when the additional passengers are immediate family members;
  • when driving to or from or in the course of employment;
  • while going to or from an authorized activity; or
  • when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or a licensed driver 21 years of age or older designated by the parent or legal guardian.
Authorized activity means any of the following:
(a) A school or a school-sanctioned event or activity. School means a public or private school, including a home school.
(b) A sporting event or activity, or extracurricular event or activity, that is not school-sanctioned but that is part of an official sports league or association or an official extracurricular club, or that is paid for as a service offered by a business specializing in those events or activities or training for those events or activities.
(c) A class or program of vocational instruction offered by a college, community college, nonprofit association, or unit of government or by a business specializing in vocational training.
(d) An event or activity sponsored by a religious organization that is tax-exempt under federal law.
(e) Transporting an individual in need of immediate emergency care or personal protection to a health care professional, hospital, police station, domestic violence shelter, or public safety location.