What Is the Legal Driving Age in Illinois?

The United States maintains a system for licensing drivers known as Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). It gives each state the right to set its own age for obtaining a driver’s license. In Illinois, for instance, teens are eligible to apply for a learner’s permit at 15 years old. They can get an intermediate license at 16 and a regular license at age 18. 

Getting an Illinois Learner’s Permit

The first step to becoming a legal driver in Illinois is to enroll in a driver’s education course after you turn 15. The purpose of a driver’s education course is to help teens become safe drivers and avoid accidents. State-approved courses are available online and in public schools. Private school students are permitted to enroll in driver’s education through third-party providers or at public schools. 

To apply, present your passport or Social Security card along with a certified copy of your high school transcript to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You will also need to pay a $20 permit fee (either by cash or credit card) and provide proof of your enrollment in a driver’s education course. 

After applying, you must pass a written driving exam and a vision test. Once you pass and all the necessary documents have been verified, you’ll be given a learner’s permit that is valid for two years. 

At that point, it’s time to practice behind the wheel. You must log 50 hours of driving, including at least 10 hours of night driving, under the supervision of a licensed adult driver. If you receive any traffic violations or are found responsible for an accident, you’ll have to wait nine months to apply for your intermediate license. 

On To Stage Two: The Intermediate License

Applying for your initial driver’s license when you turn 16 requires that you present the following documents to the DMV:

  • Completed driving log
  • Learner’s permit
  • Permission slip signed by a parent or guardian
  • Verification you have completed a driver’s education course

If more than two years have elapsed since receiving your learner’s permit, you will be charged an additional fee of $30.

It is at this point that you can schedule a behind-the-wheel driving exam. On the day of your exam, make sure to bring proof of liability insurance for the vehicle you’re using for the test, as well as the vehicle’s registration. Upon passing the test, you will be issued an intermediate license. 

Getting Your Regular Driver’s License in Illinois

You are eligible to apply for your regular (adult) driver’s license at the age of 18. Any failure to comply with the restrictions of your initial license could prevent you from obtaining your full driver’s license. 

Make sure you obey all laws and follow any other rules you are given, such as:

  • Do not drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday
  • Do not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Friday or Saturday
  • Do not drive with more than one passenger under the age of 20 who is not a member of your immediate family

If you do not commit any driving violations for six months before your 18th birthday, your initial license will automatically be converted to a full license. Once you have a regular license, you will no longer have a curfew or restrictions on passengers. 

Congratulations, and Drive With Care

As a fully licensed driver, there’s much to be excited about, but you also have a great responsibility. Your compliance with all traffic laws not only helps keep you safe, but it helps keep others safe, too. 

It’s not just other cars you need to look out for, either. The road is filled with pedestrians, motorcycles, bicycles, and other travelers who may not be as careful as you are. But by putting away all of your distractions and committing to keeping your eyes on the road ahead, you’ll have no problem being one of Illinois’ newest (and safest) drivers. 

Contact Our Chicago Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Chicago, Illinois, and need legal help, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Cook County and its surrounding areas:

Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers
134 N La Salle St #2160
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 929-2884