Hawaii uses a graduated licenses system to promote unlicensed drivers to an instructional permit, a provisional license, and finally, a valid driver’s license.
Beginning at 15 years and a half years of age, a person can submit an application (along with the application fee) to the local driver examiner to obtain an instructional permit. The application must be signed by a parent or guardian who will be jointly liable for any of the youth’s misconduct while driving. The applicant must pass the vision test as well as a test covering local traffic signs and traffic laws.
An instructional permit is valid for one year and permits the holder to operate a vehicle under the supervision of a licensed driver who is age 21 or older. If the youth is driving from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., the supervisor must be a parent or guardian. Teens operating motorcycles are exempt from the supervision requirement but can’t drive at night.
Teens who are 16 to 18 years old who have held an instructional permit for at least 180 days are eligible to apply for a provisional license. The provisional license application process involves an eyesight test, a test covering signs and traffic laws, and a behind-the-wheel test. Applicants must also show completion of the required driver’s education course and driver’s training (these are often provided by local schools). If the applicant completes the requested tests and classes and has no pending traffic violations or prohibitive offenses, he or she will be issued a provisional license.
The provisional license allows the motorist to drive without an adult:
The driver can drive outside of these restrictions as long as a parent or guardian is present in the front passenger seat.
Violation of these restrictions will result in a three-month suspension for a first offense and a six-month suspension for a second offense. Violations of any other traffic regulations will result in a six-month suspension for a first violation and a one-year suspension for a second violation.
After holding a provisional license for at least six months, a driver who is at least 17 years old can apply for a non-restricted license. Again, to be eligible for the non-restricted license, the driver cannot have any pending traffic violations or any prohibitive offenses.
Before any driver can lawfully operate a vehicle in Hawaii, the vehicle must be properly insured. In Hawaii, the mandatory insurance requirements are:
Driving while uninsured is a traffic violation that generally results in a $500 fine or 75 to 100 hours of community service. The court will also require the driver to hold valid insurance for six months or suspend the driver’s license for three months (one year for second or subsequent offenses). For second or subsequent offenses committed within a five-year period, the driver will face a $1,500 fine or 200 to 275 hours of community service. The convicted person may also be looking at up to 30 days in jail and vehicle impoundment or forfeiture.