Information regarding an Illinois Learners Permit may be obtained by going to the website established for the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office under the Driver Services webpage. Their website is: https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/home.html
Illinois (IL) Drivers Services categorizes teenage applicants by age groups. There are three stages that a teenage applicant must pass through in order to completely fulfill the requirements of final licensing. These requirements are set forth under an umbrella program known as the IL Graduated Driver’s License Program (GDLP).
Those who are 15 to 16 years of age are initially placed in the learners permit category and cannot progress to the next stage, known as initial licensing, until successful completion of the following requirements.
- Applicant must obtain a parent’s or legal guardian’s consent.
- Applicant must be enrolled in (and pass) an IL-approved driver’s education program.
- Applicant must pass both vision and written tests.
- An applicant shall hold a permit at least 9 months before proceeding to the next licensing stage.
- During the nine-month period, the applicant must not have any driving convictions.
- The applicant must practice a minimum of 50 hours. Of this total time, 10 hours of nighttime driving is required. However, nighttime driving is only permitted if it takes place under the supervision of an adult who is 21 years of age or older. Furthermore, the supervising adult must hold a valid IL driver’s license.
- Nighttime driving is restricted to between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. (Sunday through Thursday) and between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. (Friday and Saturday only). However, a teenage applicant should check with local law enforcement, as local jurisdictions may have restrictions that are more stringent than those indicated here. An applicant must adhere to the more-stringent nighttime driving restrictions in order to avoid a traffic/moving violation resulting in a permit suspension.
- When driving, the number of passengers in the teenage applicant’s vehicle must not exceed one front-seat passenger and the number of back-seat passengers must not exceed the total of all back-seat safety belts.
- All passengers in an applicant’s car must wear safety belts.
- With the exception of an emergency situation, and the applicant who is driving must not use a cell phone, including any with a hands-free device.
- All electronic texting is prohibited while driving.
- The learners permit is good for a period of 2 years.
As there are privileges extended to a teenage permit-applicant, there are negative consequences as well. Those include the following.
- Following a traffic violation, a teenage applicant may try to obtain court supervision by appearing in court with a parent or legal guardian. However, an applicant will be required to attend a traffic safety school. An applicant is limited to one traffic violation with court supervision. Any successive traffic violations will result in a cancellation of the learners permit.
- Any moving violation will automatically result in a delay of nine additional months before the teenage applicant may apply for a driver’s license.
- Teenage applicants are not entitled to any so-called “hardship” permits under any circumstance, regardless of whether they’ve had a traffic violation.
- A teenage applicant is not eligible to obtain a driver’s license until he/she turns 18 years of age if apprehended by law enforcement for driving without a permit.
- A teenage applicant (less than 18 years of age) who has unsettled traffic violations will not be issued a driver’s license.
- A violation of nighttime driving restrictions can result in a suspension of driving privileges for the teenage applicant.
If an underage applicant is between the ages of 16 and 17, while still in the permit category, he/she may progress to what’s known as the initial licensing stage. The initial licensing stage requires an underage applicant to take a driving course that is fully compliant with the guidelines and format set forth in the IL Cooperative Driver Testing Program (CDTP). This 30-hour course is solely composed of classroom education.
An applicant who is 18-20 years of age may progress through to the final licensing stage only after successfully completing an Illinois driver instruction class. This is in addition to completing supervised driving, under daytime and nighttime conditions, as well as passing a written test.