Graduated Driver License Laws

Research has identified situations that are particularly hazardous for new drivers. Two of these circumstances, distractions caused by youth passengers and nighttime driving, are being addressed through California's Graduated Driver License (GDL) Laws. For full details see California Vehicle Code section 12814.6. Important highlights of this section can be found below.

Passenger Limitations

For the 1st year (not 6 months like some teens may try and tell you) drivers under provisional restrictions may not transport passengers under the age of 20 unless accompanied and supervised by a licensed driver over the age of 25. There are a few exceptions but only for "immediate family members." These exceptions include:

  • Employment necessity (note required)
  • Medical necessity when reasonable transportation facilities are inadequate
  • Schooling or school-authorized activities (note required)
  • Other necessity with note from parent or legal guardian (immediate family only)

Driving Time Restrictions

Except under 1 of the above noted exceptions, teens driving under provisional license restrictions may not drive between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. The instance of fatal collisions involving teens is exceptionally high during this time period. Teens may drive during these restricted hours under the supervision of a licensed driver who is 25 years of age or older.

To Whom These Restrictions Apply

Provisional license restrictions apply to any driver who receives his or her driver license before their 18th birthday. The restrictions are in effect until either:

  • The driver's 18th birthday
  • 1 year from the date the driver license is issued


The current bail amount for a violation of this section is $124. The violator may also be sentenced to up to 16 hours of community service. The fine and community service time can be higher for subsequent offenses. Note: bail amounts and other penalties are not under the control of law enforcement agencies and may change without notice.