In 2005, Wyoming joined several other states when our legislature passed a law requiring persons under 17 years old to go through a graduated licensing system. If a driver under the age of 17 didn’t want to go through the graduated system, they are not allowed to get a full license until they are 17.
The Graduated license in Wyoming is a two step program, but there are states that have a three step system. Wyoming’s system requires that the applicant have an Instruction Permit, usually issued at 15. During the time that the young driver has the Instruction Permit, they must complete 50 hours of behind the wheel driving time certified by the parent or legal guardian. That 50 hours must include 10 hours of night driving.
After completion of the required driving time, and at the age of 16, the young driver can obtain an Intermediate Permit. With the Intermediate Permit, the young driver can drive unsupervised, but can only have 1 passenger under the age of 18, who is not an immediate family member unless there ia a driver over 18 in the vehicle. The Intermediate Permit also requires the permitted driver to ensure that all occupants wear their seat belts. This driver cannot drive between the hours of 11:00 pm and 5:00 am. The Intermediate Motorcycle Permit does not allow the driver to have a passenger or drive between the hours of 11:00 pm and 5:00am.
Feelings run both ways on whether or not the Graduated Licensing system is good or bad, but since driving is a learned skill and not simply common sense, and since motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 20, causing 14% of all traffic fatalities, maybe it isn’t a bad idea to give them a little more time to mature before they have full use rights. It really isn’t such a tough thing to put them and you through, if it gives them a better chance of survival, is it?