Illinois permits youth under 18 years old to drive but has restrictions based on the age, experience, and education of the driver.
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.
After turning 16 years old, youth can apply for a graduated license. Applicants must:
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.
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.