Illinois’s Teen Driver’s License and Insurance Requirements

Learn about the licensing and insurance requirements for teen drivers in Illinois.

Illinois permits youth under 18 years old to drive but has restrictions based on the age, experience, and education of the driver.

Instruction Permit

A person who is at least 15 years old can, with parental consent, apply for an instruction permit at the Driver Services Facility. To be eligible, the applicant must take a vision test, pass a written test, pay the application fee, and be enrolled in a driver’s education course. Applicants who are not enrolled in driver’s education may apply at 15 and a half years old if signed up to take the course after turning 16 years old. Applicants who are at least 17 years and three months old don’t have to take a driver’s education course.

An instruction permit authorizes the holder to drive while under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or driver’s education instructor who is at least 21 years old and has at least one year of licensed driving experience. Instruction permit holders who are 16 or 17 year-olds can be supervised by any licensed adult who’s 21 or older with one year of driving experience.

Graduated License

After turning 16 years old, youth can apply for a graduated license. Applicants must:

  • have completed at least nine months with the instruction permit without any traffic tickets
  • have a certificate of completion from an accredited driver’s education school (often provided by public school)
  • be enrolled in school and passing at least eight classes in the last two semesters
  • have no pending traffic violations
  • have a certificate of completion of 50 hours of supervised drive time (10 of which must have been at night), and
  • have no prior DUI (driving under the influence) or driving-without-a-license

A qualified applicant who pays the proper fees and passes the driving test will receive the graduated license. Holders of the license no longer need a parent or guardian to supervise but are subject to certain limitations.

Licensees under 18 years of age can’t drive from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Exceptions to the time restrictions exist for work, school, religious activities, and emergency situations.

For the first 12 months holding a graduated license, the driver may only have one non-family member passenger under the age of 20. And at no time may the driver have more passengers than available seatbelts. Violations will result in a six-month license suspension.

Drivers under 18 can also lose their privileges for drug possession or truancy.

Insurance

Before any driver can operate a vehicle in Illinois, the vehicle must be properly insured. The insurance policy must include at least $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 property damage per accident.

Driving without insurance is a petty offense and carries a fine of $500 to $1,000 and a three-month license suspension. For a first offense, the driver may be permitted to pay a reduced fine if proof of insurance is obtained before the court date. A third or subsequent offense carries a mandatory $1,000 fine.

Any vehicle that does not have valid insurance will also have its registration suspended until valid proof of insurance is shown and all fees and fines are paid. A second or subsequent offense carries a four-month minimum registration suspension.

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