Car crash rates declined sharply in North Carolina after lawmakers toughened licensing standards for beginners in December 1997. Here's what changed:
BEFORE DECEMBER 1997
Fifteen-year-olds who pass driver's ed, a vision test, a sign-recognition test and a written driving test could begin driving if supervised.
People 16 or older who passed those tests could begin driving with no supervision and no practice beyond what they got in driver's ed.
Beginners ages 15 to 17 may drive for the first year only under the supervision of designated adults.
If beginners have no traffic violations in the second six months of that first year and pass a road test, they receive provisional licenses.
For the next six months, provisional license-holders may drive unsupervised only between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. At other hours, a designated adult must be in the car.
After six months with no traffic violations, provisional license-holders graduate to unrestricted licenses.