Illinois Learners Permit Restrictions - IL Driving Permit Rules

Illinois Permit Restrictions - Illinois Permit Rules

Obtaining a learner's permit may be somewhat overwhelming and intoxicating and there is a good reason for it - you can finally get behind the wheel and go for your first drive. However, new inexperienced drivers pose a great threat to themselves and other drivers around them. This is why almost every state implements certain permit restrictions and Illinois is not an exception. The main purpose of having a learners permit is to obtain some driving experience in a relatively safe environment and Illinois driving permit restrictions are there to ensure that you don't overstep the boundaries. Please remember that not observing the Illinois driving permit rules puts you and those around you in danger and will most likely see you lose your driving privilege.

Who Sets The Illinois Driving Permit Rules

The drivers permit restrictions are designed by the Illinois Secretary of State and it is up to the police department to enforce them. It is likely that you as a new driver may view the permit restrictions as unfair, unnecessary and sometimes even useless. For instance, why set a curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., it is just as dark at 9:30pm as it is at 10 and twilight provides even more challenges to most drivers than complete darkness. The reason why the state of Illinois sets the curfew to these specific hours is simple - statistics accumulated during many years of observations show that most accidents happen during this period of time. A logical step towards reducing the number of accidents is to discourage people from traveling during these hours.

Age Dependent Illinois Permit Rules

Age is a very important factor when it comes to driving. It is know that teenage drivers belong to the highest risk group when it comes to the national crash rate reports. In addition to lack of experience that is attributable to any new driver, teenagers are also more likely to engage in a risk taking behavior or be distracted by such things as cell phones or presence of other peers in the vehicle.

In order to address that, the state has developed a set of laws that govern the licensing procedure for drivers who are under 18 years of age. The laws are commonly know as the Illinois graduated driver license system and they mandate the restrictions that are applied specifically to teenage drivers. You can read a detailed account of the GDL laws on the SOS's website or in the Illinois driver handbook which is provided by the SOS free of charge.

Illinois Learners Permit Restrictions

As mentioned previous, those who apply for a learners permit after they turn 18 don't have to follow the rules and procedures that apply to teenage drivers (for example, you do not have to enroll in one of the Illinois drivers education classes prior to applying for your permit). However, the following driving permit restrictions must be observed no matter how old you are:

  • Supervised driving only. While driving with your permit, you must have another licensed driver seated next to you at all times. The driver must be 21 years old or older and have not less than 1 year of driving experience
  • No cell phones. Usage of communication devices or any sort is strictly prohibited at this stage.

The supervised driving restriction will be lifted once you receive your full Illinois drivers license. The cell phone restrictions, however, will be there until you 19.

If you apply for your driving permit before you turn 18, you will need to sign up for one of the approved drivers education classes before you can take your Illinois permit test. According to the current rules, you must sign up for the class at least 30 days prior to taking the test. Use this time to prepare for the exam by studying the SOS driving manual and taking some Illinois practice permit tests.

After you take your permit test and receive your drivers permit, you will need to observe the following permit restrictions:

  • Supervised driving only. You must have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old supervise you on all your driving sessions. The supervising driver can be your parent, legal guardian or another licensed driver approved by your parents.
  • Curfew. The night time driving restrictions bans driving between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday -Thursday and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday to Saturday.
  • Passenger restrictions. The number of passengers is limited to one in the front seat and the number of seat belts in the back seat.
  • Safety belts. Seat belts must be worn by all passengers under age 19 present in the vehicle.
  • No cell phones. You cannot use any communication devices while operating a vehicle.

These restrictions will be lifted when you take your driving test and receive your intermediate drivers license. Please note that the provisional license that you get at this stage still has some restrictions, although it does allow you to drive without being supervised by another licensed driver.

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Permit Restrictions,


I am a 22 year old with a valid Illinois drivers license. My friend is 19 and currently has a Missouri learners permit. Am I allowed to teach her how to drive in Illinois?

Hi Monica. Please refer to the official Illinois DMV webpage that describes all phases of the graduated drivers license program in Illinois, hope it will make it cleared. Good luck at the DMV!

This is not true. I am 18. You do not have to have a permit at all at 18. You can go straight to the license. If you do get a permit, however, you do NOT have to have it for a certain amount of time.

Hello Joanne. To be honest, the Illinois graduated drivers license program applies to everyone who is under 21 years of age, the only benefit of applying for a drivers license at the age of 18 when compared to applying for a license when you are 16 is that those who are older than 18 do not have to take drivers education classes, that's all. Those who are under 21 years of age still have to apply for a learners permit first, hold it for the required period of time, then take a driving test and update their permit to the Illinois drivers license. There is no way to skip the permit stage and this is where the person would gain some driving experience by driving with friends on relatives in the front passenger seat.

many teens have put off driving due to all the complicated rules until 18. what do we do with them then? how do they learn to drive and what permit do they get that is easier between age 18 and 21? i would assume they have to drive with an adult for awhile until they can take the road test. I think all the rules and regulations have put off drivers that now we don't know what to do with. do they just go take a driving test with no school and no supervision by an adult driver at 18? seems very dangerous to me.