N.C. Legislature Shortens The Time Between Obtaining a Permit and a Level 1 License For Student Drivers


Many North Carolina teenagers found themselves frustrated and confused when graduated licensing laws were changed on Jan. 1, 2023, reverting the length required to get the Level 1 license after obtaining a provisional permit from the pandemic-era rule of 6 months to 12 months.

The Level 1 license allows student drivers on the graduated licensing path to drive independently with restrictions on what hours of the day and the number of passengers. Under the old law, student drivers were required to log 60 hours of driving with supervision, pass a road test, and complete a 12-month period between getting their permit and obtaining their level 1 license.

However, this has changed with the passage of North Carolina Senate Bill 157. Passed without Governor Roy Cooper’s signature, the law shortened the current 12-month permit period back to 6 months until the end of 2023, after which it will become 9 months. This comes after state legislators received complaints from parents about the length of time it takes for students to achieve their level 1 license.

Students who are now eligible for the Level 1 license under the new rules are able to begin obtaining their licenses starting May 8.