Illinois Driver Licensing Law

Illinois Graduated Driver License

The Illinois Graduated Driver License is split into three phases: Permit Phase, Initial Licensing Phase, and Full Licensing Phase.

Permit Phase

To begin the process, the applicant must be 15 years old, be enrolled in an approved driver education course, and have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Once a vision and written exam have been passed, the permit must be held for a minimum of nine months and maximum of two years. The following restrictions apply:

  • Permit holders must practice driving a minimum of 50 hours, including 10 hours at night, while supervised by a licensed parent or other adult, at least 21 years of age.
  • Permit holders may not drive between 10PM and 6AM Sunday through Thursday and may not drive from 11PM and 6AM Friday and Saturday.
  • The number of passengers is limited to one in the front seat and the number of safety belts in the back seat

Sanctions

  • To obtain court supervision for a traffic violation, a driver must appear in court with a parent/legal guardian and also must attend traffic safety school. Limit one court supervision for serious driving offenses.
  • A moving violation conviction results in a nine-month waiting period before applying for a driver's license.
  • Not eligible for any hardship permit.
  • Anyone caught driving without a permit is ineligible to obtain a driver's license until age 18.
  • Any person under age 18 who has unresolved traffic citations will be denied issuance of a driver's license.

Initial Licensing Phase

Once a parent or guardian certifies the completion of the minimum practice hours have been completed and nine months have passed, permit holders will become eligible to apply for the Initial Licensing Phase. This requires the completion of a state-approved driver education course.

When applying, a parent or guardian must accompany the driver to provide written consent to obtain a license or complete and notarize an Affidavit for Minor to Drive form.

The following driving restrictions are applied in the Initial Licensing phase:

  • Permit holders may not drive between 10PM and 6AM Sunday through Thursday and may not drive from 11PM and 6AM Friday and Saturday.
  • For the first year, 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 the one-year period, or the driver's 18th birthday, the number of passengers is limited to one in the front seat and the number of seatbelts in the back seat.
  • Cell phone use while driving, including hands-free devices, is prohibited for drivers under age 19, except in the case of an emergency.
  • Texting while driving is prohibited.

Upon the driver's 18th birthday, they enter the Full Licensing phase and age-related restrictions no longer apply.

Sanctions

  • To obtain court supervision for a traffic violation, a driver must appear in court with a parent/legal guardian and also must attend traffic safety school. Limit one court supervision for serious driving offenses.
  • A moving violation conviction before age 18 generates a Secretary of State warning letter to the parent and teenager.
  • A moving violation conviction that occurs within the first year of licensing will result in a six-month extension of the passenger limitation, which allows only one unrelated passenger under age 20.
  • Two moving violation convictions occurring within a 24-month period results in a minimum one-month driver's license suspension. Suspension length is determined by the seriousness of the offenses and the driver's prior driving history. An additional driver's license suspension will result for each subsequent moving violation following the initial suspension.
  • Suspended drivers must attend a remedial education course, may be retested and must pay a $70 reinstatement fee.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

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