As of January 1st, North Carolina teenage drivers will have some changes made to their rules and requirements. The law that is set to go into effect in the new year increases the amount of time teen drivers must have their learner permit before they can move onto their driver’s license. Currently, teen drivers can move from the Level 1 Limited Learner Permit to the Level 2 Limited Provisional License, provided they pass the driving test, after six months. With the new law, teens will have to wait nine months from the day they get their Level 1 Permit before they can test for the Level 2 License.
This increase in time comes after they decreased the length of time just a few years ago.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina teens had to have their Level 1 Limited Learner Permit for 12 months. When the pandemic hit, lawmakers decided to make a temporary change, allowing teen drivers to test for their Level 2 License after six months. At the end of 2022, the temporary law ended but received an indefinite extension. In May of 2023, the increased time law was passed with the first day of 2024 as the date set to take effect.
This time requirement change sets new restrictions around a teen driver moving on to a fully licensed driver and onto the Level 2 License. To start, drivers must be at least 16 years old, have logged at least 60 hours of behind the wheel driving time, pass the driver road test, and provide proof of insurance in the teenager’s name.
Another noteworthy piece to know is that the rule change does not have anyone grandfathered into the six month rule.
This means that no matter what, as of January 1, 2024, all teenage drivers who have the Level 1 Limited Learner Permit must wait until the nine month mark from when they got the permit before they test for their license. This is to say all drivers who got their permit after June 30th must wait nine months before they can test. If a driver has their permit and has surpassed their six month mark but not yet tested for the license, for example if they have had the permit for seven months, if they do not test by December 29th, they too will have to wait the full nine month period.