For many teenagers, getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage. But for their parents, it can be a worry. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that although they drive the least amount of miles, teens ages 16 to 19 years old are almost three times more likely to die in a car accident than older drivers. That’s why it’s important that parents become familiar with the state’s teen driving laws and the graduated driver’s license program.
Important Teen Driving Laws
Illinois has recently enacted several notable teen-driving laws. They include:
Organ Donor Registry. Teens ages 16 and older will be asked to join the state’s organ and tissue donor registry.
Consent from Parents. Teens ages 16-17 who want to get their driver’s license must have written consent from their parent or legal guardian. This consent may be revoked by the parent or legal guardian at any time until the teenager turns 18. If this happens, the teen’s driving privileges will not be reinstated until consent is provided again or the teen turns 18, whichever happens first.
Access to Driving Records. Parents and legal guardians have permission to view their teen’s driving records as long as the driver is under the age of 18.
License Loss for Street Racing. Anyone caught street racing will have their license revoked and may get their vehicle impounded for up to five days.
License Suspension for Alcohol-Related Charges. Anyone under the age of 21 caught drinking, possessing, purchasing, or receiving alcohol, whether they were driving at the time or not, will automatically receive a suspension of their driver’s license.
The time period for suspensions is as follows:
Court supervision: three-month suspension
First conviction: six-month suspension
Second conviction: 12-month suspension
Third or more conviction: revocation of driving privileges
Graduated Driver License Programs
Because of the high rate of teen driver deaths, many states have enacted graduated driver license programs, which allow teenagers to get more driving practice before they are fully legal to drive on the roads. The program in Illinois follows this structure:
Teens aged 15: Teenagers who are at least 15 years old can get a learner’s permit and begin taking driver education courses. They will be subjected to nighttime driving curfews and may only drive with a parent, legal guardian, or licensed driver 21 years or older. They must log 50 hours of driving practice time, which includes ten at night, to move on.
Teens aged 16-17: After a parent or legal guardian certifies that the teen has completed their practice driving hours, they can get their parent’s or legal guardian’s written permission to obtain a driver’s license. For the first year after receiving their license, or until they turn 18, whichever happens first, the teen may only have one passenger under the age of 20 in the car with them. Certain considerations for family members are given. They also still must adhere to nighttime driving curfews.
Teens aged 18-20: Restrictions are lifted at this age, so these teenagers may proceed to the full licensing phase.