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Teen Driving Laws in Illinois

Posted on November 16, 2022

A driver’s license is a teenager’s license to freedom. However, teenage drivers are much more inexperienced, and they tend to make more mistakes than older drivers. Here, we want to discuss various Illinois laws specifically related to teenage drivers. Whether you are a parent or a new driver, you need to know and understand these laws before hitting the roadway to protect yourself, loved ones, and others from injuries and car accidents.

The Graduated License Program

There is a graduated driver’s license program in Illinois that allows teen drivers to gain practice before they are fully legal drivers.

  • Teens aged 15. 15-year-olds in Illinois are allowed to get their learner’s permit and begin taking driver’s education classes. Drivers with a permit will typically not be able to operate a vehicle at night and are only allowed to drive with a parent, guardian, or licensed driver who is 21 years of age or older. 15-year-olds must put in 50 hours of driving time, including ten hours at night.
  • Teens aged 16-17. When a parent or guardian certifies that their teenager has completed the 50 hours of driving practice, they are allowed to get their parent or guardian’s permission to obtain a driver’s license. For the entire first year after receiving a license, or until the driver turns 18, the teenage driver can only have one passenger under the age of 20 with them in the car at a time. The driver will still have to adhere to various night-time curfews, but there are exceptions for driving to work or school activities.
  • Teens aged 18-20. Teenagers in this age range can proceed to operate their vehicles as fully licensed drivers.

Cell Phone Usage Behind the Wheel

The state of Illinois penalizes texting and driving whether the driver is an adult or a teenager. If an individual is holding and using their cell phone while operating the vehicle on the roadway, they could be subjected to fines, points against their license, and higher insurance premiums if a citation is issued.

However, in Illinois, there is a total cell phone ban for drivers under the age of 19. Drivers in this age range are prohibited from using any type of cell phone or wireless device at any point while operating the vehicle, even if it is a hands-free device. There is an exception for teenage cell phone use in the vehicle for emergency situations.

Illinois Traffic Violation Penalties

There are specific traffic violation penalties that carry more weight when a teenager messes up.

  • Moving violation before 18 years of age. This will result in a warning letter sent to the teen driver’s parent, and the teen driver with a permit could lose driving privileges and have a waiting period of nine months before they can reapply for their license.
  • Moving violation conviction during the first year of licensing. This will result in a six-month extension for rules concerning underage passenger limitations.
  • Two moving violation convictions within 24 months of licensing. This will result in a one-month license suspension.
  • Violation of night driving restrictions. This could result in a suspension of driving privileges.
  • Driving without a permit. The driving privileges will be suspended, and the driver will be ineligible for a license until they turn 18.
  • Purchasing, consuming, or possessing alcohol under the age of 21. This one result in a license suspension of three months if granted court supervision, a six-month suspension for a first conviction, a 12-month suspension for a second conviction, or complete license revocation for a third or subsequent conviction. These penalties will apply whether or not there was a vehicle involved.