The North Carolina Graduated Licensing System
The graduated licensing system in North Carolina gives teen drivers the opportunity to practice their driving skills while minimizing high risk driving situations. The system also increases adult supervision and mandates education and experience as part of the criteria to move forward in the licensing system. The goal is to keep teen drivers safe through restrictions, education and experience.
The Supervising Driver
Teen drivers that hold a Level 1 learner permit or a Level 2 limited provisional license must drive with a supervising driver. The supervising driver must be the parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or person responsible that has been approved by the parent or legal guardian. The supervising driver must have held a valid driver license for a minimum of 5 years.
The North Carolina Limited Learner Permit
The applicant for a limited learner's permit must be a minimum of 15 years of age, and less than 18 years of age. Minors must have a parent or legal guardian sign the application. Applicants must have completed a North Carolina approved driver education course and be issued a Driving Eligibility Certificate by the school district. Applicants may also present a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Teen drivers that apply for the limited learner's permit must present proof of residency and their social security card. If the applicant is not eligible for a social security number, the applicant must provide federal government documents stating that they are in the United States legally. All applicants for a learner permit must pass a vision screening and a written signs test.
Once the teen driver has received a learner permit, only the supervising driver is allowed in the front seat. The driver and all passengers in the vehicle must wear safety belts or be restrained in a child safety seat. During the first 6 months a level one learner permit holder may only drive with a supervising driver between the hours of 5:00 AM and 9:00 PM. After 6 months the teen driver may drive at any time while accompanied by the supervising driver.
Learner's permit holders are not allowed to use electronic devices such as a cell-phone, text messaging devices, personal digital assistants (PDA's) or any associated device while driving unless it is an emergency situation. Prior to graduating to a Level 2 provisional license the learner permit must be held for 1 year without a conviction for a moving violation, seat belt infraction or cell-phone violation for the most recent 6 months before application.
The North Carolina Level Two Limited Provisional License
Teen drivers that apply for the Level 2 limited provisional license must be a minimum of 16 years of age and less than 18 years of age. All passengers in the vehicle driven by the provisional license holder must wear safety belts or be restrained in a child safety seat. Teen drivers that hold the limited provisional license may drive unsupervised from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM. The provisional license holder may drive outside of these hours if they are driving to or from a place of employment or any volunteer fire, rescue or EMS service. When a supervising driver is required, they must sit in the front passenger seat next to the teen driver.
When the provisional license holder is driving without a supervising driver there may only be 1 person under the age of 21 that is not an immediate family member in the vehicle. If there are immediate family members of the same household as the teen driver under the age of 21 in the vehicle, no other passengers under the age of 21 are allowed.
Provisional license holders are not allowed to use electronic devices such as a cell-phone, text messaging devices, personal digital assistants (PDA's) or any associated device while driving unless it is an emergency situation. Teen drivers that wish to graduate to a Level 3 license must hold the provisional license for a minimum of 6 months prior to application without a conviction for a moving violation, seat belt infraction or cell phone violation.
The North Carolina Level Three Full Provisional License
The time limitation, supervising driver and passenger restrictions that applied to Level 1 and Level 2 licenses are not in effect for drivers that hold the Level 3 full provisional license. However, the use of a cell-phone, text-messaging device and other related electronic devices is still prohibited except in emergency situations.
North Carolina Insurance Requirements
All vehicles registered in the State of North Carolina must maintain continuous liability insurance. If your insurance is cancelled or you are changing insurance companies you must notify the Division of Motor Vehicles within 10 days. You may be fined and lose your license plate if you fail to renew your insurance.
The amounts listed below reflect the minimum requirement for liability insurance in the State of North Carolina :
- $30,000 Bodily Injury of One Person
- $60,000 Bodily Injury of Two or More Persons
- $25,000 Property Damage per Accident
These are minimum requirements; please see your insurance agent regarding coverage above and beyond these amounts. For more information on the Insurance requirements in the State of North Carolina , please use the links below to the State of Carolina Website.
Other North Carolina Information
Follow the links below to get additional information on this site regarding North Carolina driving laws.