Illinois Graduated Driver License Program

New Illinois drivers are subject to the Graduated Driver License program, which restricts young drivers in phases to allow them to work their way into full driving privileges.

Permit Phase Driver Restrictions - Drivers Age 15

  • Must hold an instruction permit, which requires parent/legal guardian consent, enrollment in an approved driver education course, and successful completion of vision and written tests. Instruction permits are valid for up to two years.
  • Must be accompanied by a parent or adult age 21 or older who hold a valid driver's license.
  • Prohibited from driving during the following nighttime hours: Sunday-Thursday, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and Friday-Saturday 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • The number of passengers is limited to one in the front seat and the number of safety belts in the back seat; all occupants must be wearing a safety belt.
  • Must hold a permit for at least 9 months (or turn 18, whichever comes first) before applying for their initial license.
  • Cell phone use while driving, including the use of hands-free devices, is prohibited for drivers under the age of 19 (except in emergency situations). Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers.
  • Any moving violations will result in a nine-month waiting period before applying for a driver's license.
  • Not eligible for a hardship permit. Anyone caught driving without a permit is ineligible to obtain a license until they turn 18.

Initial License Phase - Drivers 16-17

  • A parent or legal guardian will need to accompany teen to provide written consent to obtain a driver license, or complete and notarize the Affidavit/Consent for Minor to Drive form. Parent or guardian must also certify that teen has completed a minimum of 50 hours of practice driving, at least 10 of which are at night.
  • Must have completed a state-approved driver education course.
  • Prohibited from driving during the following nighttime hours: Sunday-Thursday, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and Friday-Saturday 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • For the first year of initial licensing (or until the driver turns 18, whichever occurs first), the number of passengers is limited to one person under the age of 20, unless the passengers are siblings, stepsiblings, children or stepchildren of the driver. After this period, the number is limited to one in the front seat and the number of safety belts in the backseat; all passengers must wear seatbelts at all times.
  • Must maintain a conviction-free driving record for 6 months prior to turning 18 before moving to Full Licensing. A traffic conviction or moving violation will result in a warning letter to the parent and teenager. A moving violation within the first year will also result in an extension of the passenger limit. Two moving violations within a two year period will result in a minimum one-month license suspension. Suspended drivers must attend a remedial education course and are subject to a reinstatement fee and retesting.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 with unresolved traffic tickets will be denied issuance of a license.

Full License Phase - Drivers 18-20

  • Must complete an approved 6-hour adult driver education course prior to obtaining their first drivers license.
  • Cell phone use while driving, including the use of hands-free devices, is prohibited for drivers under the age of 19 (except in emergency situations). Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers.

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