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What the Graduated License Laws Say in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois

Your child has passed his driver’s exam and is a licensed driver, but that doesn’t stop you from worrying. You are terrified that your sixteen- or seventeen-year-old is going to be badly hurt or killed in a car crash. Setting limits and encouraging safe driving habits is important, and the graduated license laws of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois help parents protect their teenagers and others with whom they share the road.

What Do the Graduated License Laws Say?

While each state’s graduated license laws serve similar purposes, the laws are unique to each state.

Wisconsin Graduated License Law

In Wisconsin there are three stages of licensing:

  • A learner’s license may be acquired at age 15-and-a-half for a period of at least six months. Supervised driving hours are required.
  • An intermediate license may be obtained at age 16. Generally, a driver with this type of license may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. and may not have more than one unrelated passenger in the car at a time.
  • A full license without restrictions may be obtained at age 16-and-a-half.

Iowa Graduated License Law

In Iowa, there are three stages of licensing:

  • A learner’s license may be obtained at age 14. The minimum duration of such a license is twelve months. Supervised driving hours are required.
  • An intermediate license may be obtained at age 16. Generally, a driver with this type of license may not drive between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. For the first six months an intermediate licensee may not have more than one unrelated passenger in the car at a time. However, parents may waive this right.
  • A full license without restrictions may be obtained at age 17.

Illinois Graduated License Law

In Illinois, there are three stages of licensing:

  • A learner’s license may be obtained at age 15. The minimum duration of such a license is nine months. Supervised driving hours are required.
  • An intermediate license may be obtained at age 16. Generally, a driver with this type of license may not drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Intermediate licensees may not have more than one unrelated passenger in the car at a time.
  • A full license without restrictions may be obtained at age 18.

It is important to review your state’s graduated license law before your child gets his or her license. Know the restrictions, know why they are in place, and talk to your child about how to stay safe behind the wheel. It may be the most important conversation you ever have.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham