Graduated Driver License (GDL)
The Graduated Driver License (GDL) program is available for any person seeking a driver license who is at least age 16 or under age 18 or who is under age 22 and is receiving special education services under an active Individualized Education Program (IEP).
The GDL program was designed to reduce the high accident and fatality rate among young drivers. Eligible GDL participants will receive additional supervised driving experience and reduced exposure to high-risk driving situations. The required signatory parent or sponsor will actively participant is capable of increased driving authority.
NOTE: TParticipation in the GDL program is optional for any person who is 18 years of age or older. If opting out of the GDL program requirements, no sponsor is needed and an eye, knowledge, and road skills exam will be required at DMV.
For additional information visit our teen driver website at teendriving.dmv.de.gov
GDL: Level One Learner’s Permit
Applicant's eligibility requirements:
- Must be at least 16 years old, and less than 18 years old - OR – on an active IEP who is at least 16 years old and less than 22 years old.
- Must present a Delaware Driver Education Certificate (Blue/White Certificate) as proof that you passed a certified Delaware Driver Education Course. If you passed a course in another state, your out-of-state course and/or driver license must be approved by the Department of Education; this approval must be presented to the Division of Motor Vehicles.
- For approval send the necessary documentation to Department of Education, Attn: Mr. Michael Wagner, Education Associate Driver Education, Collette Education Resource Center, 35 Commerce Way, Suite 1, Dover, Delaware 19904, or fax to 302.739.1770 (Telephone 302.857.3320). For more information visit their website at www.doe.k12.de.us
- Must provide documentation proving the applicant’s identity, legal presence, social security number, if eligible and two proofs of Delaware residency (the two proofs of Delaware residency requirement will be waived if the sponsor is a licensed Delaware driver and lives at the same address as the applicant). A list of approved documents are contained in the Required Documentation Table in this chapter.
- All GDL program applications must be signed by a sponsor. The sponsor is held jointly liable with the GDL applicant for any damages resulting from the GDL applicant’s negligence. The sponsor has the final authority to determine if the GDL applicant is capable of handling the responsibility of operating a motor vehicle and the authority to designate who may supervise the GDL driver. The sponsor may withdraw his/her endorsement at any time until the minor reaches the age 18 or the IEP GDL applicant has completed 12 months of the GDL program, thereby canceling any valid driving privileges. The following sponsors are listed in order of preference:
- Either father or mother of the GDL applicant if both parents are living together within this State and the minor resides with both parents. (Note: Parents are verified by using the GDL applicant's original or certified copy of their birth certificate which must include mother and/or father's name. Step-parent cannot act as a sponsor unless the GDL applicant is adopted or appointed his/her guardian.) - OR -
- Father of the GDL applicant, if the father is living within this State, and the GDL applicant resides with the father only. Mother of the GDL applicant, if the mother is living within this State and the GDL applicant resides with the mother only. Father or mother, if the father or mother lives within this State, and the GDL applicant resides with neither parent, and the GDL applicant has no legal guardian within this State. (Note: Parents are verified by using the GDL applicant's original or certified copy of their birth certificate which must include mother and/or father's name. Step-parents cannot act as a sponsor unless the GDL applicant is adopted or appointed his/her guardian.) - OR -
- Legal guardian or court-appointed custodian of the GDL applicant, duly appointed as such under the laws of this State. - OR -
- By any suitable person acceptable to the Secretary of Transportation or the Chief of Driver Services, firstname.lastname@example.org Click here for requirements
- The sponsor must sign the GDL applicant's driver license application in the presence of a Division licensing employee.
- The sponsor who signs the GDL program application has final authority over the GDL applicant's driving privileges and may withdraw their endorsement at any time during the 12 month GDL program. In the case of minors, after program completion, the sponsor may withdraw their endorsement until the minor reaches age 18.
- The applicant must pay a $40.00 class D license fee and pass an eye screening at the time of application. All new licenses will be 8 year licenses.
- GDL applicants who require specialized evaluation, training or equipment to operate a motor vehicle because of a physical or mental disability will be identified by the driver education teacher, may be referred to a rehabilitation facility and tested by the Division.
GDL: Level One Learner's Permit Restrictions:
- Permit must be in the possession of the permit holder when driving a motor vehicle.
- The permit holder and all passengers, must wear a safety belt or be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat while the vehicle is in motion.
- The permit holder shall not operate a motor vehicle while using a cellular telephone, text messaging device, or similar electronic device.
- No passengers other than an adult supervisor and one other passenger can be in the vehicle during the entire first 12 months of valid driving authority. However, the passenger restrictions of this paragraph do not apply to immediate members of the driver's family as long as the adult supervisor is in the car.
- When the permit holder is under mandatory supervision, the supervisor must be a properly licensed parent, guardian or licensed driver (approved by the sponsor) who is at least 25 years of age and has held a Class D license for at least 5 years. The supervising driver must be seated beside the permit holder in the front seat of the vehicle when it is in motion. No person other than the supervising driver can be in the front seat.
- For the first six months after issuance of a Level One Learner's Permit:
- The permit holder must be supervised at all times.
- The sponsor shall certify that the permit holder has driven for 50 hours; 10 of which includes night-time driving. The certification is to be turned into the Department of Education after the first six months of valid driving authority
- After the first six months of valid Level One Learner's Permit driving authority,:
- The permit holder may drive unsupervised between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
- The permit holder may drive between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. only when under supervision. Exception: The permit holder may travel without supervision during those hours when going directly to and from church activities, work activities, and the permit holder's school activities on school property.
- No passengers other than the adult supervisor and one other passenger can be in the vehicle with the exception of immediate members of the driver's family provided the adult supervisor is in the car. During the second six month period of unsupervised driving, when a supervisor is not present, only one other passenger in addition to the driver can be in the vehicle.
- Persons who violate the Level One Learner's Permit restrictions are considered as driving without a license which will result in a two-month suspension for the first offense and a four-month suspension for subsequent offenses.
Eligibility for a Class D Operator's License
A GDL Level One Learner’s permit holder who is under age 18 may obtain a Class D operator’s license when he/she successfully completes the 12 month GDL program, provided the sponsor has not withdrawn his/her endorsement and the applicant’s driving privileges are not currently suspended, revoked, canceled, denied or surrendered. If a GDL Level One Learner’s permit holder is age 18 or older, they may also obtain a Class D operator’s license by completing the 12 month GDL program as stated above - or – may choose to take the eye, written and road skills exam a the DMV.
NOTE: The GDL Level One Learner's Permit will automatically convert to a Class D license once the permit holder has completed a full 12 months of valid driving authority. The time used to compute the 12 months of required driving experience shall not include any period of time when the permit holder's driving privilege has been suspended, revoked, canceled, denied, or surrendered. A period of additional driving experience equivalent to that of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, denial, or surrender will be added to the end of the original 12 month period and the permit holder must undergo complete testing. This will ensure that the permit holder has fully complied with the required full 12 months of valid driving authority.