New law requires teen drivers to log time behind wheel

Posted December 28, 2011

Student driver, driver's education class
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— Young drivers who apply for learner's permits in North Carolina will have a little more paperwork to deal with, starting next week.

A state law that takes effect Sunday requires them to turn in a paper record of their driving time before they can move up to the next level of the graduated licensing system.

"The General Assembly wanted to make sure that drivers – young drivers – on our highways were getting more practice time behind the wheel, and so that was the impetus behind starting these logs," said Marge Howell, spokeswoman for the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

Fifteen- to 17-year-olds with a learner's permit will need 60 hours of supervised driving, including night driving, to get their limited license. Then they will need 12 more hours over the following six months to qualify for a full license.

North Carolina doesn't require anyone 18 or older who is getting a driver's license for the first time to go through the graduated license program.

The new law was set to take effect earlier this year, but it was postponed a few months to give the DMV time to implement the changes.

The delay was good for 17-year-old Mitchell Hintz, who got his license without having to turn in any logs. He said he would have qualified for his license even with the new requirements.

Logs now needed for teen drivers in NC

"Most kids my age probably have more than 12 (hours of driving)," he said.

Parents or guardians will have to certify the driving logs.

Howell said the logs will be scanned in and attached to the new driver's record. Cheating is not recommended, she said.

"Anytime we feel the logs are not being filled out properly, you will have to go back to step one and start over with your six months of driving," she said. "So, if you're looking to get your driver's license quickly, that is not the thing to do."

Hintz's mother said the new law might be good for some teens, but she's glad she didn't have to deal with a driving log.

"Some (young drivers) are a little more timid, but overall, most of the students are working and really not needing to" track their time behind the wheel, Missy Hintz said. "If they have (the log) in the car and stuff, (it would be easier), but to go back and log all that in (later) would be a little tough for parents."

Teens who already have their limited licenses by January 1, 2012 won't have to complete a log to get their full licenses. Teens who have their learner's permits by Jan. 1, 2012 won't have to submit a Level 2 log to get their limited license, but they will have to complete the Level 3 log before they can get their full licenses.

You can find more information on the new law, plus copies of the logs required for a limited license and a full license, at the DMV website.


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  • fayncmike Dec 30, 2011

    Sorry, purposely should read purposefully. Darn spell checker will get you every time:)

  • fayncmike Dec 30, 2011

    "I agree 101% fayncmike...most drivers either don't know the law or just don't care. it is illegal to drive in the passing lane in North Carolina--hence the name "passing lane"

    There is an upside to living with the rotten NC drivers. While they're plodding along in the passing lane, the right hand lane is often empty or populated by non natives and we can zip along at our usual speed limit plus pace. Also at red lights the passing lane often has a huge number of purposely plodding pachyderms while again the right lane is empty. It's fun watching them take off from a red light. By the time they've figured out that the light is green considerable time has passed. Than the first elephant begins to, slowly, move. The next sits there till there is ten car lengths in front of him. This process repeats it's self till the light turns red again. Than the whole process repeats it's self, again having only a few vehicles making it through in the time fifteen of us can get through.

  • seven74215 Dec 29, 2011

    Ditto, VariousGood! That's exactly what's going to happen!

  • jmanarc Dec 29, 2011

    I think it is a good law---so often in the EMS and Fire/Rescue Service do we see young unexperienced drivers make mistakes that too often ends fatally. It is not a big brother watching you thing---It IS a we want everyone driving on the roads of NC to be safe thing. Parent/guardians do need to be more involved in the issues of teenage or unexperienced drivers. It is for everyone's safety.

  • smegma Dec 29, 2011

    "hey mom, can you sign this for me?" "what is it?" "nothing" "sure"

  • cwood3 Dec 29, 2011

    Sunshine-it's ultimately the parents responsibility to tech-not the schools. What driver ed teacher is going to allow a kid to drive in severe weather conditions?? Parents either for that matter!!!!

    Kids will learn bad weather skills over time!!

  • sunshine1040 Dec 29, 2011

    And who is going to verify these logs. Yes children need more droving time and experience before getting a license we have snow and ice and heavy rain here Drivers Ed ought to cover these in drivers ed and parents need to monitor their childrens behavior in the car Is their cell phone turned on. How many friends are in the car with them.

  • 23tony Dec 29, 2011

    "Anytime we feel the logs are not being filled out properly, you will have to go back to step one and start over with your six months of driving."

    Sounds rather arbitrary to me

  • bhappy Dec 29, 2011

    retroconsultant Big brother is watching you

    You aren't kidding! And now Big Brother is also watching your kids.

  • carrboroyouth Dec 29, 2011

    This is a really pointless law - how about you parents actually step up to the plate and decide when your kid is ready to drive solo?

    So glad I got my license before all of these restrictions started pouring in.