Licensing & State Laws
Hawaii uses a multi-stage licensing process for teens. This system allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time.
At age 15½, teens can apply for a learner’s permit in the state of Hawaii. To do so, both teen and parent must visit their local driver exam office. In most counties of Hawaii, a certified copy of the minor’s birth certificate is required to establish proof of age and to determine who may sign the parental consent. Please check with your local licensing agency to ensure that you have the proper documentation to apply for your permit. Teens must pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision screening test to receive a learner’s permit.
With a learner’s permit, teens may only drive with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. Between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., the teen must be accompanied by a supervising parent or guardian. Teens are required to practice driving for at least 50 hours, including 10 hours at night, with a parent or legal guardian, before they’re allowed an intermediate license.
When teens turn 16, and have had a learner’s permit for at least 6 months, they can apply for this provisional license. They also must pass a behind-the-wheel driving test, have completed 50 hours of practice driving, complete a state-certified driver’s education course and possess the classroom and behind-the-wheel certificates. To obtain the classroom certificate, teens must complete a 30-hour classroom course. To obtain the behind-the-wheel certificate, they may choose six hours of behind-the-wheel training with a state-certified instructor, or a state-certified simulator driver education course and two hours of behind-the-wheel training with a state-certified instructor. Legal guardians must accompany their teens to the appropriate agency to sign the application form, or their signature must be notarized on the form.
Teen with a provisional license are allowed to drive alone, but must follow certain restrictions. They may transport no more than one person under age 18 who is not a household member. With a provisional license, they may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian or driving to/from employment or to/from a school-authorized activity at the driver’s school. During these hours, they may not transport more than one person under 18 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Teen drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts.
At age 17, a provisional licensee who has satisfactorily held the provisional license for at least 6 months and has no pending violations that might result in a suspension or revocation may receive a full license.
A parent-teen driving agreement can help you enforce licensing rules that the state and your family set. An agreement helps you and your teen understand the rules of the road and sends a clear message that driving is an earned privilege that your family takes seriously.
Your teen will soon be a new driver. You’ve been there every step of the way so far, and your state and local governments have, too.
Hawaii’s motor vehicle laws are governed at the state level and are also regulated at the individual county level by the county directors of finance. To find more more specific information based on where you live, contact:
Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing
City and County of Honolulu
1455 S. Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
Department of Motor Vehicles
County of Maui
70 E. Kaahumanu Avenue, Suite A-17
Kahului, HI 96732
Department of Finance, Division of Treasury
County of Kauai
4444 Rice Street
Lihue, HI 96766
Motor Vehicle Licensing and Registration
County of Hawaii
101 Pauahi Street, Suite 5
Hilo, HI 96720
Hawaii Department of Transportation
869 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Remind your teen that police can and will enforce all requirements on seat belt use, drinking and driving and other laws. Breaking the law can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.
- If stopped by the police, teens should expect to present a valid license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
- If stopped as a driver or passenger, teens should always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement.
- If in any kind of situation involving law enforcement, teens should talk to their parents about it, because this can create a learning experience.
If your teen gets a ticket or is involved in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance. Judges deal seriously and directly with teen traffic violations. For first violation of the night or passenger limit listed in the Provisional License Phase section, the provisional license shall be suspended for a 3-month period. For second or subsequent violations of items listed in the Provisional License Phase section, the provisional license shall be revoked for a 6-month period.
If a provisional license holder is convicted of an offense relating to the operation of a motor vehicle:
- For a 1st conviction, the provisional license shall be suspended or revoked for 6 months.
- For a 2nd or subsequent convictions, the provisional license shall be revoked for one year.