On April 30, 2010, Governor Bob Riley signed into law enhancements of the existing Graduated License Law, which places certain restrictions on newly licensed drivers. According to the Alabama Department of Public Safety and the actual text of the law, the law went into effect on July 1, 2010.
Here are the fundamental provisions of the law, in question and answer format. This is an abbreviated, informal summary and is not a substitute for understanding the full law.
What does the law do?
It establishes three levels of license instead of two. The two-level system provided for (1) the learner’s permit and (2) the full, unrestricted license. The new 3-level system provides for (1) the learner’s permit, (2) the restricted license, and (3) the full, unrestricted license. So, what’s new is the restricted license, an intermediate step between the learner’s permit and the full license. The restricted license is, basically, a drivers license with some additional restrictions on the driver.
Who has a “restricted license”?
First, all 16-year-olds, as long as they are 16. (The only exception is 16-year-olds who have been legally emancipated by the courts.) The restricted license would also be held by any 17-year-old who has been licensed for less than six months. For example, if an individual goes and passes the driving test when she is 16 years, 10 months old, she will still have a restricted license until some months after turning 17.
What are the restrictions on these drivers?
1. There is a curfew.
2. There are limits on the number of non-family passengers they may have with them when they are driving.
3. There are restrictions on the use of hand-held communication devices while driving.
What is the curfew for 16-year-old (and some 17-year-old) drivers?
These young drivers may not drive between midnight and 6 a.m. However, there are a number of exceptions. They may drive during these hours if they are: