Teen Driving and the Graduated License in Hawaii
Hawaii has a Graduated Driver Licensing Program (GDL). GDL laws have been proven to reduce fatalities, lower injuries and ultimately result in safer highways and roadways. New drivers who participate in the GDL system must reach various milestones before they are allowed to graduate to a less restrictive license level and eventually receive a full unrestricted license. The rules described below explain how Hawaii’s GDL system works.
The State of Hawaii Graduated Licensing Program
Teen drivers in the State of Hawaii are eligible for an Instructional Permit if they are 15 years and 6 months of age. Hawaii has instituted a Graduated Licensing Program that helps limit high risk situations for teen drivers while increasing adult supervision. Hawaii's Graduated Licensing Program consists of three stages. Stage 1 The Instructional Permit The applicant for an Instructional Permit must be a minimum of 15 years and 6 months of age. The teen driver must carry the permit while driving at all times and passengers in the vehicle must wear safety belts or be properly restrained in state approved safety seats.
The Instructional Permit holder can only drive while accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older seated next to them. If the teen driver wishes to drive between the hours of 11:00 pm and 5:00 am they must have a parent or guardian seated next to them at all times while driving. The instructional permit is valid for one year and can be renewed if the renewal is within 30 days of expiration, and up to 90 days after expiration. If the teen driver does not renew an expired instructional permit within 30 days of expiration, then the teen driver must wait 180 days before they are eligible for the driving test.
Stage 2 The Provisional License
The applicant must be a minimum of 16 years of age, and under 18 years of age to receive a provisional license. The teen driver must also hold an instructional permit for a minimum of 180 days and have no current or pending violations that may result in a suspension or revocation of the instructional permit. Once issued the provisional license expires on the 19th birthday of the license holder. Provisional license applicants are required to complete a State approved driver education course that includes driving and classroom work.
A Certificate will be issued to prove completion of this requirement. Prior to receiving the provisional license the teen driver must pass a road examination test. Once issued a provisional license, the teen driver must carry the provisional license at all times while driving. All passengers in the vehicle being driven by the provisional license holder must wear safety belts or be properly restrained in a state approved safety seat. The provisional license holder is not allowed to transport more than 1 non-family passenger under the age of 18 unless they are with a licensed parent or guardian that is seated next to them in the passenger seat. The provisional license holder is not allowed to drive between the hours of 11:00 pm and 5:00 am unless they are with a licensed parent or guardian that is seated next to them in the passenger seat. The exceptions to this rule are listed below.
11:00 pm to 5:00 am Driving Exceptions
- Driving to or from a place of employment. The provisional license holder must carry a signed statement from their employer with the employer's name, address, telephone number with a verification of work hours listed on the statement.
- Driving to or from a school sanctioned event. The provisional license holder must carry a signed statement from their parent our guardian with the parent's name, address, telephone number with a verification of the necessity to drive to and from the school sanctioned event.
If the provisional license holder has been authorized to take exception 1 or 2, they must not transport more than 1 passenger under the age of 18 unless they are with a licensed parent or guardian that is seated next to the teen driver.
Stage 3 Full Driver License
The holder of a provisional license can be issued a full driver license if they are a minimum of 17 years old and have held the provisional license for a minimum of 6 months without pending violations that would cause revocation or suspension. If the driver does not convert the provisional driver license to a full license by the age of 19, the driver must reapply as a new applicant.
State of Hawaii Insurance Requirements
It is illegal to drive in the State of Hawaii without minimum liability insurance. If a vehicle does not have insurance the driver must surrender the license plate and vehicle registration. The minimum insurance in the State of Hawaii is:
- $10,000 per person injury protection,
- $20,000 per person
- $40,000 per accident bodily injury liability and
- $10,000 per occurrence property liability.
Because Hawaii is a no fault insurance state, vehicle insurance company will pay for a driver’s injuries and passenger injuries up to the driver’s insurance limits. No fault insurance applies to injury only, not to vehicles or property.