One of the earliest possible teen driving programs in the US, Michigan also has one of the most developed driver training and graduated licensing programs, including 2 education courses required and 3 levels of licensing. Driving schools in the state need to be state approved and many are a part of a private or public high school.
Level 1, Learner’s Permit, 14 years, 9 months
Michigan allows drivers to get their Level 1 permit at the young age of 14 years and 9 months old, provided they have already completed Segment 1 of the driver’s education course required by the Michigan Department of Transportation. This segment can be taken at 14 years and 8 months old and includes 24 hours of in-class learning and 6 hours of behind the wheel driving.
However this course has some special restrictions to ensure driving schools do not rush students through the course. Classroom hours are limited to 2 a day and driving hours are limited to only 1 hour per day. Although there is no license to drive as part of this course, drivers are required to take a vision and health screening prior to the behind-the-wheel portion. Upon completion of the education segment, students are also required to pass a MDOT written test, receiving a pass in order to receive their Level 1 Permit.
If Segment 1 is complete and the person is at least 14 years and 9 months old then they attain their Level 1 Permit. During level 1 the Driver can also take Segment 2 of the education courses required but only after completing 30 hours of supervised driving with 2 of those hours completed at night and logged in a driver’s logbook.
Restrictions for Level 1 Learners include the ability to only drive with a licensed parent, guardian or adult over 21 with a letter of permission from a parent or guardian.
After 30 hours of behind-the-wheel practice and a minimum of 3 months with the Level 1 Permit, drivers can then take the Segment 2 Driver’s Education course. This course includes another 6 hours of in class education, and is limited to 2 hours per day of instruction. After Segment 2 in-class hours are completed the driver must then follow it up with another 20 hours for a total of 50 hours of logged driving practice with at least 10 of those hours being at night. Once the hours are accumulated, the driver has held the Level 1 permit for 6 months and a certificate of completion for Segment 2, a driver can apply for the Road Skills test which will allow them to move on to a Level 2 License.
Level 2 Intermediate License, Age 16
In order to get a Level 2 Intermediate license in Michigan the driver must have held their Level 1 for at least 6 months, have certificates of completion for Education Segments 1 and 2, logged 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with 10 hours of night time driving, passed their road skills test and be at least 16 years old without any driving infractions.
Restrictions on Level 2 permits include night time driving is prohibited between 12 am and 5 am, unless accompanied by a licensed adult. They can also drive during these times if they are driving to or from a place of employment or a sanctioned school activity. Passengers are restricted to only 1 passenger under the age of 21.
Level 3 Michigan License, Age 17
To get a full Michigan state driver’s license you must be at least 17 years old, held a Level 2 permit for at least 6 months and be free from accidents or traffic violations for at least 12 months prior to application for a full license. The GDL ends at the age of 18 in Michigan, but all first time drivers out of the GDL are still subject to a 3 year probationary period.
Out of State or Adult Driver’s
Most States mandate that you must apply for a new license within 30 days of moving to the state. Michigan mandates that upon becoming a resident of the state you are required to apply for a Michigan driver’s license. If you have an out of state license within the US and it has not been expired for more than 4 years you can simply apply for a licence in Michigan. International driver’s licenses of most countries are accepted in the state and you can simply apply for a Michigan license, but not the enhanced license that allows cross-border travel between the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.