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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Starting next year, new drivers will have a 9-month wait to achieve level 2 permit

A law for new drivers is changing, effective May 8.

Upon passage of a bill by the North Carolina General Assembly, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles is announcing changes to the graduated driver licensing program for teens.

New drivers, starting at age 16, will need to have their level 1 limited permit for six months before earning their level 2 limited provisional license. Applicants will still be required to log 60 hours of driving time, pass a road test, and show printed proof of insurance.

For the last 25 years, teens were required to wait 12 months before advancing to a level 2 license, aq rule put in place in 1997. During the pandemic, the legislature temporarily shortened this requirement to six months, but the provision lapsed at the end of 2022.

The six-month provision will expire at the end of 2023. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, the permanent change will be a nine-month period.

Also, level 2 permit holders will be allowed to drive on passenger under 21 who is not a family member, if being driven directly to and from school. To achieve a level 2 permit, drivers must pass a road test, which is not available at DMVs until after 4 p.m.

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