Parent/Guardian Role in MO Graduated Driver License (GDL) Law

As the parent or guardian of a new driver, you have rights and responsibilities that can minimize the risks your son or daughter will face on the road.

Driving is not a right for all teens. It is a privilege that you, as a parent or legal guardian, may grant to your teen.

For more information about the Missouri Graduated Driver License (GDL) law, click here.


Rights and Responsibilities

Driving can be a complex task for all new and experienced drivers.  For young drivers, driving can be more difficult, and inexperience can be lethal.  Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 20 years of age.  Therefore it is important for you, as the parent or guardian, to get involved.  As a parent or guardian, you have the potential to reduce the driving risks by carefully monitoring your teen's training and driving experiences during the first year of driving.

Once you determine your teen is ready and decide to take them to your local examination station to begin the process to obtain his or her learner’s permit, you will now have responsibilities that will require you to be involved in your son or daughters driver training.

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Parent/Teen Driving Agreement

One step to ensure clear communication of driving rules between you and your new driver is to complete a parent/teen driving agreement.  This agreement is recommended as a way to encourage discussions about safe and responsible driving between the parent/guardian and teen driver.   You may use the Parent/Teen Driving Agreement created by the Department of Revenue, or develop your own agreement outlining the family rules related to driving, curfews and responsibilities of the new driver and the role you will take as well.

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Your Rights

Your teen’s readiness to drive must be determined by you, not just by his or her age. Until your teen turns 18 years of age, you have the right to approve or deny your teen’s application for a Missouri instruction permit or intermediate license.  Your signature is required on the application before your teen may obtain either one of these driving documents.

If you choose to deny your teen's instruction permit or license after it has been issued, you must complete the Parental/Guardian Request to Deny or Reinstate Driver License (Form 4811). To reinstate your teen’s driving privilege you must submit the same form marking request to reinstate.

As the parent or guardian, you have the authority to set more stringent restrictions regarding where and when your son or daughter may operate the vehicle, and with whom.  While the Missouri Graduated Driver License (GDL) law defines requirements for nighttime driving limitations and passenger restrictions, you have the right to set additional restrictions for your new driver.

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Your Responsibilities

Determine if your teen is ready to drive.

Does your son or daughter show overall good judgment?

Is your son or daughter willing to follow state driving laws and restrictions as well as your family driving rules?

Talk to your teen about driving before they apply for the instruction permit.  Discuss with your teen the risks and responsibilities of driving; before, during, and after the licensing process.

Empower your teen to speak up against peer pressure.  Being a passenger in another teen’s car can put your son or daughter at risk.  An estimated 59 percent of teenage passenger deaths occur in vehicles driven by another teen driver.  Peer pressure can be both positive and negative.  Reinforce the importance of your teen speaking up or not taking the ride in potentially dangerous situations to lessen the risk.

At the time of application for the instruction permit, you must sign your name to certify that you will ensure your son or daughter receives a minimum of 40 hours of behind the wheel driving instruction with a minimum of 10 hours nighttime driving between sunset and sunrise.

As soon as your teen receives his or her instruction permit, you should notify your insurance company.  Let them know what vehicle or vehicles your teen will be driving.

Set clear sensible rules for your teen, and enforce the rules with consistency and appropriate consequences.  You can use the Parent/Teen Driving Agreement to help establish these limits and consequences.  If you prefer, you can develop your own agreement, or find another format through various online resources related to teen driver safety.

There are resources available to assist you while training your new driver.  There is a Driver Experience Log (Form 4901) for you to track the hours of training received.  This is simply a tool for you and your new driver, and does not need to be submitted to the Department of Revenue at the time of licensing.

There is a Safe Driving – Guide to Teaching the New Driver workbook available in most Missouri State Highway Patrol examination stations, and your local license office. This workbook is a tool to guide you through the processes of teaching your teen to drive.

Here is a small list of resources and information also available online:

The Missouri Driver Guide is the best resource for learning the laws and regulations for driving in Missouri.   The Missouri Driver Guide may be obtained at your local license office, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop Headquarters, or at a Missouri State Highway Patrol examination station.

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Licensing Requirements and Restrictions

Why does Missouri have a Graduated Driver License (GDL) law?

The Graduated Driver License (GDL) law was implemented in Missouri on January 1, 2001.  The law was enacted in an effort to reduce the number of traffic crashes and fatalities for teen drivers by requiring young drivers to obtain stages of behind-the-wheel driving experience prior to obtaining their full driver license.

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Instruction Permit – Minimum Age 15

Teen must complete the written driver examination at a Missouri State Highway Patrol examination station.  After completing the testing, you must accompany your teen to a license office to obtain the Missouri Instruction Permit document. The test paper issued by the examiner, alone, is not valid for driving purposes.

You (the licensed parent, legal guardian or a certified instructor with a Federal Residential Job Training Program) must accompany the teen to the license office and sign the application for permit, certifying that you will ensure the teen receives a minimum of 40 hours of behind the wheel instruction with a minimum of 10 hours nighttime driving.

While operating on an instruction permit, a driver who is less than 16 years of age is restricted to operating only with a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, qualified driving instructor, a person who is at least 25 years of age who has been licensed for a minimum of 3 years and has received written permission from you or, in case of your disability, your designee.

If the permit holder is age 16 or older, they must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is a least 21 years of age or older, occupying the front seat next to the driver.

Seat belts are required to be worn by the driver and all passengers.

The Instruction permit may be renewed if additional training time is required.

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Intermediate License – Minimum Age 16

Teen must have held an instruction permit for a minimum of 6 months.

Note: The examination record (D-100 or E100) from the Missouri State Highway Patrol alone is does not meet this requirement and is not legal for driving.  

Teen must have completed 40 hours of behind- the-wheel instruction which included a minimum of 10 hours nighttime driving.

Teen must not have a suspended, revoked or denied driving privilege.

Teen cannot have any alcohol-related offenses within prior 12 months, or any traffic conviction within prior 6 months.

When your teen has met the training requirements noted above and you are ready to grant them the privilege to drive, they must complete the driving skills examination at your local Missouri State Highway Patrol examination station. The teen must bring their valid Missouri Instruction Permit with them at the time of examination.

You (the licensed parent, legal guardian or a certified instructor with a Federal Residential Job Training Program) must accompany the teen to the license office and sign the application for intermediate license, certifying that the teen has received a minimum of 40 hours of behind the wheel instruction with a minimum of 10 hours nighttime driving between sunset and sunrise.

Your teen will also be required to complete the vision examination and road sign recognition test.

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Full Driver License – Minimum age 18

To graduate to a full driver license, your teen cannot have a suspended, revoked, or denied driving privilege.

Teen cannot have any alcohol-related offenses or traffic convictions within the 12 months prior to date of application.

If teen does not meet this requirement, he or she must retain the Intermediate license (and related restrictions) until they can meet the driving record requirements, above.

Your teen will be required to complete the vision and road sign recognition tests at the time of application.

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Still need help? You can also submit your driver licensing questions to our staff by e-mail. Your e-mail will be forwarded to the appropriate area for reply. Some inquiries can be responded to more quickly than others depending on the issue and amount of time needed for research. Please make sure your computer will accept our e-mail response.