Tennessee Coalition

We are a Coalition of more than 50 organizations committed to helping teens leverage the proven principles of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). We are affiliated with state and local government, law enforcement and public health agencies, traffic safety and injury prevention organizations, academia and businesses. We’re also teens, parents and crash victims.

While teen crashes and fatalities nationwide fell to record lows in 2010, our goal is zero -- no crashes, injuries or fatalities. Ensuring teens survive the most dangerous time of their lives is not just the responsibility of parents, law enforcement and school officials, but of every citizen. 
Our Coalition is working collaboratively to effect change in Tennessee. We invite you to learn about our initiatives and to join us. There are no monthly meetings or membership dues; your only obligation is to help spread the word about Tennessee's GDL program.



  • SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions
  • Tennessee Highway Safety Office
  • Tennessee Tech University
  • AAA- Auto Club Group
  • MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  • TN Dept. of Transportation
  • TN Dept of Health
  • Sumner County Anti-Drug Coalition
  • TN Trucking Foundation
  • Metro Nashville Police Dept.
  • Blake McMeans Foundation
  • Franklin County Prevention Coalition
  • State Farm
  • Erie Insurance
  • University of Tennessee Martin
  • Allstate Insurance Co.
  • Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
  • Bonheur Children’s Medical Center
  • Children’s Hospital at Erlanger
  • Smyrna Police Dept
  •  Cheatham County Sheriff's Dept
  • Weakley County Anti-Drug Coalition
  • TN Dept of Safety and Homeland Security
  •  Chattanooga/Hamilton County Health Department
  • Power of Putnam County: Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community
  • Tennessee Teen Institute
  • University of Tennessee Medical Center
  • Rutherford COunty Sheriff's Dept
  • Bradley County Sheriff's Dept
  • Rutherford County Anti-Drug Coalition
  • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • Nationwide
  • Cookeville Police Dept
  • Putnam County EMS
  • Putnam County Sheriff's Dept
  • Shelby County Sheriff's Dept
  • Dickson Police Dept
  • Ollie Otter Program
  • Reduce TN Crashes
  • SpiltSecnd
  • Operation Lifesaver
  • Harriman Police Dept
  • Clarksville Police Dept
  • Springhill Police Dept
  • Bristol's Promise
  • Rightlane
  • Hamilton COunty Sheriff's Dept
  • Davidson County Sheriff's Dept
  • Knoxville Police Dept


The HEARTS Network

Nearly everyone knows someone whose life has been impacted by a teen driving-related crash. The National Safety Council manages the HEARTS Network, a nationwide group of families and victims who have been directly impacted by a teen-related crash. The HEARTS Network - an acronym for Honoring Everyone Affected, Rallying The Survivors - helps families and victims support one another and advocate for change. We encourage anyone who has been impacted to join the HEARTS Network and the Teen Safe Driving Coalitions. 

Personal stories play an important role in affecting change. For that purpose, we have created a “Sharing HEARTS” section of the HEARTS Network webpage dedicated to telling the stories of those whose lives have changed forever because of teen-related crashes.

Visit the HEARTS Network webpage to learn more. 


GDL Game Plan for Coaches

The GDL Game Plan for Coaches is a vehicle for high school and recreational or travel league coaches to hold an open dialog with athletes about enforcing and adhering to GDL laws in their state. The 4-page document includes an overview of how and why the New York GDL program works; offers suggestions for engaging athletes, parents and fans; outlines a sample code of conduct; and lists online resources. Information for coaches, athletes and parents about the Coaches Game Plan – including sample text for a GDL Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. The PDFs are available for download below.


What is the Graduated Driver License program?

First implemented in Michigan and Florida in the mid-1990s, Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is a three-step system designed to provide novice drivers with the necessary tools to be safe on our roadways and minimize those things that cause them the greatest risk of crash -- distraction caused by passengers and the use of cell phones and other electronic devices, as well as driving late at night and riding unbelted. There is a minimum age for teens to be eligible for a driver's permit, a mandatory holding period or probationary license and a basic or full license.     

What does Tennessee's GDL program entail?

Young Tennessee drivers must:

  • Be 15 years old to obtain a permit 
  • Complete 50 hours of supervised driving - 10 of which must be at night - before obtaining an intermediate, or restricted, license at age 16 
  • Not drive unsupervised between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., when a teen's crash risk is highest
  • Not carry more than 1 passenger during the intermediate licensure stage
  • Be 17 to obtain a basic, or full, unrestricted license

Why does Tennessee need a GDL program?

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens, and their crash risk is four times that of anexperienced driver. The risk is highest when teens are in the first 12 to 24 months of licensure.

The “License to Save” report issued by The Allstate Foundation in December 2011 estimates that 5,254 people in Tennessee have been killed in teen-related motor vehicle crashes since 1991. It also estimates that 572 lives have been saved since Tennessee implemented GDL laws. The implementation of GDL programs has saved approximately 14,820 lives nationwide since 1991. It is proven to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers.

Why are passengers dangerous for teen drivers?

Most teen crashes involve some form of distraction, and passengers are particularly distracting to young drivers. A teen driver is twice as likely to be killed in a crash while carrying just one passenger, regardless of whether the passenger is a friend of a sibling. Carrying two passengers increases crash risk by 158 percent, and three passengers increases risk by 207 percent.

Why is nighttime driving risky for teen drivers?

Forty percent of all teen driver fatal crashes occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. While Tennessee does not allow teens on the roadways after 11 p.m. or before 6 a.m., parents are encouraged to set earlier times for their teens to be off the roads. 

May teen drivers use hands-free cell phones?

No. Tennessee bans cell phone use – hands-free or handheld – for teen drivers in the learner’s permit and intermediate phases of licensure. All drivers in Tennessee are prohibited from texting while driving. Research clearly shows that both handheld and hands-free devices cause manual, cognitive and visual distraction, and the National Safety Council and the National Transportation Safety Board have called for a nationwide ban on all cell phone use while driving for all motorists regardless of age. 

How can I help a teen driver gain more experience?

Research clearly shows that GDL programs are the most effective tool for addressing teen crash risk because they help novice drivers build skill while minimizing risk. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, coach, older sibling, neighbor or friend, learning about and enforcing the GDL program is important. 

Parents in particular play a critical role in teen driver safety. Teens who report having parents that set rules and monitor their activities in a helpful and supportive way are half as likely to crash, 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated, 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving and 50 percent more likely to wear a safety belt. By partnering with parents, you can help to ensure that they know about and leverage the proven principles of GDL so their teens gain skill and become good drivers for life.


Tennessee Websites

Parent Teen Agreement

Tennessee Highway Safety Office

Reduce TN Crashes


National Websites

National Safety Council


The Allstate Foundation

Impact Teen Drivers

DCH Teen Safe Driver program - for parents and teens

Center for Disease Control - Teen Drivers

IIHS - Highway Loss Data Institute

AAA Keys2Drive for parents and teens

Safe Kids - for parents and teens 13/14-years of age

SADD - for parents, teens and educators

National Organizations for Youth Safety for parents, teens and educators

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - for parents, teens and educators




Drivers Education

Public Schools 

Chester County High School                 Cocke County High School

Cleveland High School                          Cosby High School

Chucky-Doak High School                     South Greene High School

West Greene High School                     Grundy County High School

Scotts Hill High School                          Lawence County High School

Summertown High School                     Loretto High School

Lewis County High School                     Lewis County High School

Macon County High School                   Red Boiling Springs School

Maryville High School                            McMinn County High School

Meigs High School                                Milan High School

Obion County High School                    South Fulton High School

Holloway High School                            Oakland High School

Smyrma High School                              Scott High School

Daniel  Boone High School                     David Crockett High School


Private Schools

Christian Academy of Knoxville              Clarksville Academy



If your school does not offer drivers education, here are some other options:

Advanced Driving Academy                       Ben Hooks Job Corps

Brentwood Driver Training                         Champion Driving School

Drive 4 Life Academy, Inc                          Driver Training, Inc.

Driver Rite Driving School                          Expert Driving  School

Go Driving Academy                                 Goodlettsville (Ready 2 Drive)

Haman's New Drivers                               Jacobs Creek Job Corp

MTN Driving School                                  Pitner Driving School

Safe Driving, Inc                                       Spanky's Driving Academy

Teen Driver Academy                               The Driving Center

Upper Cumberland Human Resources     Workforce Essentials Inc






Contact Us

To join the conversation or to follow the Coalition’s initiatives and activities, visit us on Facebook

To learn more about Coalition membership, our initiatives and/or to provide financial or in-kind support, contact Coalition Leader Julie Strike at [email protected] or call (423) 920-0661