Illinois Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program
Illinois is heavily invested in young driver safety and has done much to improve upon teen driver related fatal accidents. In fact, fatal accidents involving drivers under the age of 20 have fallen from a ten-year high of 254 in 2007 to 117 in 2014. This decrease is due in part to the state’s implementation of the optimal safety laws designed by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which include the Graduated Driver’s Licensing system.
Phase one of this system begins when you turn 15 years old and take the test for your learner’s permit. You will have this permit for nine months while you acquire 10 hours of night-time driving experience plus 40 more hours of practice. You have to have a driving supervisor anytime you are operating a vehicle, and this person must be your parent or another experienced driver who has a license and is over the age of 21. Your supervising adult must not be intoxicated and must sit in the front passenger seat.
At age 16, after gaining nine months of experience without getting any driving conviction and completing a state-approved driving course, you can apply for your intermediate license. This second phase lasts for one year or until you turn 18, but can be extended for an additional 180 days if you get a moving violation. During this time, you cannot have more than one passenger under the age of 20 unless they are your immediate family, and you are not allowed to drive without supervision between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
When you turn 18, if you have gone at least 180 days without a moving violation and paid any tickets you may have received, you can get an unrestricted license with full driving privileges.
Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that all passengers under the age of 19 are in the proper seat restraints. Also, under primary enforcement laws, all drivers are banned from text messaging and using hand-held cell phones. Drivers under the age of 19 are also banned from using hands-free devices.