A Chicago Car Crash Lawyer Explains Graduated Driver’s License Laws

April 16, 2013

Teenage car crashes are the number one killer of youth across America. Too often, teen drivers cause serious accidents due to inexperience with complex driving situations. Graduated driver’s license laws are in place in many areas of the country to help reduce these risks and to provide teen drivers with the driving experience they need to become safe, responsible drivers.

Most states have enacted graduated driver’s license laws, but specifics vary across the states.  Illinois’ graduated driver’s license laws break down driving privileges for teens into three phases in order to allow them to learn safe driving skills under the supervision of responsible adult drivers. Following is a general description of Illinois’ three-phase graduated driving laws:

Driving Permit Phase (age 15)

  • Teenage drivers must have a driver’s permit for at least nine months prior to obtaining a driver’s license at age 16.
  • Teenage drivers must complete a specified number of driving hours with an adult or parent over the age of 21 who has a valid driver’s license.
  • Teenage drivers with a permit cannot legally drive without a parent or other adult driver over the age of 21 in the front seat.
  • Teenage drivers with a permit are restricted from nighttime driving.
  • Teenage drivers with a permit may not use a cell phone except in an emergency.


Initial License Phase (age 16-17)

  • Parent or legal guardian must certify that the teen met all of the driving requirements during the permit phase.
  • Teen must have completed an approved driver’s education course.
  • Teenage drivers are restricted from nighttime driving.
  • For the first 12 months, teenage drivers may not carry more than one passenger under the age of 20. This restriction does not apply to siblings, stepsiblings, or children of the driver.
  • Teenage drivers may not use a cell phone except in an emergency.


Full Licensing Phase (ages 18-20)

  • Age related restrictions are dropped, except for the statewide cell phone laws for drivers under the age of 19.


Parents and teenage drivers should know about the following laws:

  • Parents have complete access to their teenager’s driving records.
  • Any teenager caught violating alcohol laws will automatically lose their license for a specified amount of time, based on the circumstances. In addition, they could face additional fines and legal consequences.
  • Teenagers convicted of street racing could have their driver’s license revoked. In addition, authorities may legally impound the car for up to five days.


Graduated driving laws help keep the roads safer for everyone by gradually introducing driving responsibilities to teenage drivers. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence or carelessness of another driver, a Chicago car accident lawyer at Lane Brown can help. We will take the time to review your case, answer your questions, and help you to understand your legal options. Contact us at 312-332-1400 to set up a free appointment.



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