Learning to drive often seems like an American rite of passage, the fact that it is in fact a privilege is overlooked. As a teen or new driver in Illinois new drivers need to contend with Graduated Drivers Licensing.
Graduated Licensing Illinois
Permit Phase, Age 15
To obtain the first permit phase in the GDL of Illinois you must be at least 15 years old, pass a vision and written test, have your parent/guardian consent and be enrolled in an approved driver education course, either privately or through your high school. This permit must be held for a minimum of 9 months before graduating to the next phase.
During the permit phase, drivers must complete 50 hours of practice driving with an adult 21 years or older with a valid driver’s license and be in direct passenger supervision with at least 10 hours being driven at night. The number of people in the automobile is limited by the available safety belts. Everyone in the car must have on a seat belt. It is illegal to use cell phones if under the age of 19 unless it’s an emergency. Texting and night driving is also prohibited.
Initial Licensing Phase, Age 16-17
To attain this phase, you need to have held a Permit for at least 9 months, completed an approved driver’s education course, be driving conviction free, have consent from a parent or guardian and have completed 50 hours of supervised driving as witnessed by a licensed adult over 21.
Restrictions on this phase of licensing include the same night time driving curfews as the permit phase, maintaining a conviction free 6 month period before attaining a full license and until the driver reaches 18 years of age or 12 full months passengers are limited to 1 person under 20 years old. This person cannot be related to the driver as in brother, sister, or stepbrother or stepsister to the driver. Cell phone and texting restrictions remain the same as the permit phase.
Full License, Age 18-20
There are no age related restrictions upon a full license even if the driver failed to move from the Initial phase to the full license before the age of 18. Cell phone use, including hands-free and texting are still prohibited during this period for full licenses. If a driver’s education course was not completed during the permit or initial licensing phase a completed 6 hour adult driver education course must be completed before obtaining a full license. Two moving violations with a 24 month period in Illinois results in a minimum one month license suspension in Illinois as well as a $70 license reinstatement fee.
Serious Violations Affecting Licensing
For any minor under 21 years old found guilty of violating state law or local ordinance concerning the consumption, purchase, possession or receipt of alcohol regardless of the charges relation to a motor vehicle will have license suspension consequences. Court supervision in relation to these charges will result in a 3 month license suspension, first conviction with a 6 month suspension, second conviction with a 12 month suspension and third and subsequent with a license revocation. Street racing will also result in a license revocation on the first guilty conviction.
Driver Education Courses
In addition to the driving minimums stated above, the driver’s education course required by all new drivers under 17 years and 3 months old are required to take a state approved driver’s education course. These courses are offered by many high schools which are state supported and run or by private driving schools. The course includes a minimum of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of in-car driving instruction. This is in addition to the 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice driving with a licensed adult 21 years or older in the passenger seat.
If you do not complete a driver’s education course by 18 years old, you will still be required to take an Adult Driver’s education course that is a minimum 6 hour course.
Sanctions on new drivers in Illinois can be severe and immediate and do not always have to involve a motor vehicle. It is considered a privilege to drive as a teen, not a right.