Michigan uses a graduated licenses system and several levels of driver’s education in issuing learner’s permits, intermediate licenses, and unrestricted licenses to teens.
A teen who’s at least 14 years and nine months old can apply for a graduated level one licensing status. The application must be signed by a parent or guardian and may include a criminal history check, driving record check, and examination of mental and physical fitness (although some of these requirements can be waived). The applicant must pass a vision test and written examination of traffic signs and traffic laws but only after completing “segment one” of driver’s education. Segment one includes six hours of road time and 24 hours of classroom instruction on bicycle laws, traffic-stop etiquette, and traffic laws.
The level one license allows the holder to operate a vehicle only under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or a licensed adult who’s at least 21 years old who has parental consent to supervise.
Of-age driver’s education students who have completed 10 hours of classroom instruction and two hours of behind-the-wheel instruction can apply for a temporary driver’s education certificate to permit driving with a parent or guardian while finishing driver’ education.
Teen drivers who have held a level one license for at least 90 days must return to driver’s education to obtain a level two license. The teen must have registered at least 30 hours of supervised driving time (two of which must have been at night) in a parent-signed driving log. “Segment two” of driver’s education consists of at least six hours of classroom time and is required to obtain a level two license.
Applicants for a level two driver’s license must be at least 16 years old and provide proof of completion of segment two of driver’s education. A signed driving log recording 50 hours (including ten nighttime hours) of supervised driving time is also required. To be eligible, the teen must have held a level one license for at least six months and have no tickets, suspensions, or at-fault accidents in the last 90 days.
The level two driver’s license allows the motorist to drive without an adult subject to some restrictions.
Curfew. Level two license holders cannot drive between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless supervised by a parent (or parent-authorized licensed adult who’s at least 21 years old) or traveling for a work, school, or religious activity.
Passengers. Level two license holders are also limited to only one passenger who’s under 21 years old. This requirement is waived for family members under 21 years old or when supervised by a parent, guardian, or parent-authorized licensed adult who’s at least 21 years old.
After holding a level two license for at least six months and being free of any tickets, at-fault accidents, or suspensions for 12 months, a driver who is at least 17 years old can apply for a non-restricted license. However, all new licenses are subject to a three-year probationary period. During this period, accumulation of license points, traffic tickets, or serious moving violations can result in suspension. Failing to appear for a ticket during this period can result in a 12-month suspension. Other violations can require the licensee to retake the driving test and will extend the probationary period.
Before any driver can lawfully operate a vehicle in Michigan, the vehicle must be properly insured. Michigan is considered a no-fault state, indicating it requires specific insurance that covers all persons involved in an accident.
Failure to show proof of valid insurance is a civil infraction that can result in a fine of up to $100, license suspension, and a $200 annual driver responsibility fee. However, if proof of insurance is provided before the court date, the infraction will be dismissed and a $25 court fee will be assessed.
Driving without proper insurance is a misdemeanor punishable by a $200 to $500 fine, up to one year in jail, or both. The driver will also be assessed a $500 annual driver responsibility fee for two years. Convicted persons are prohibited from renewing vehicle registration and are subject to driver’s license suspension until valid proof of insurance is shown.