Licensing & State Laws
To get your driver’s license in Michigan, you’ll move through three licensing stages. As you progress, you’ll also need your parents’ permission at each step.
Level 1 License — 14 years 9 months
When you turn 14 years 9 months old, you may apply for a Level 1 license once your parent or legal guardian has signed a Level 1 application. You must successfully complete a Segment 1 driver education course that includes a minimum of 24 hours of classroom instruction, six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and four hours of observation as a passenger. Upon submitting a Segment 1 Certificate of Completion and passing a vision test, you’ll be issued a Level 1 license.
Practice Questions – Take this sample test to determine if you’re ready to take the state driving test.
With a Level 1 license you must complete, under the supervision of a licensed parent or designated adult age 21 or older, a minimum of 30 hours of driving including two hours at night. After 3 continuous months, you may then enroll in a Segment 2 driver education course that includes six hours of classroom instruction. You’re required to successfully complete Segment 2 and at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving, including at least 10 hours at night, before taking the driving skills test and moving on to the intermediate licensing phase. Drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 license are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.
Keep track of your practice driving with the AAA Driving Log.
Level 2 License — 16
When you turn 16 and have driven on a Level 1 license for at least six months, driven violation and suspension free and had no at-fault crashes for at least 90 days, you can apply for a Level 2 license. Your parent or legal guardian must certify that you’ve completed the minimum requirements for practice driving, plus submit a Segment 2 Certificate of Completion and a Driving Skills Test Certificate.With your intermediate license, you’ll be allowed to drive alone, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult when driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. (certain exclusions apply). Drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 license are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.
With your Level 2 License you’ll be allowed to drive alone, but must be accompanied by a designated licensed adult over age 21 when driving between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless driving to and from employment. You are not allowed to have more than one non-family passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or designated adult over the age of 21. The law makes exceptions for teens driving to or from school or school-sanctioned events.
Level 3 License - 17
At age 17, you’ll automatically be issued a Level 3 license (unless your parent/guardian requests otherwise) if you’ve driven under a Level 2 license for at least six months, have been violation and suspension free and have had no at-fault crashes for at least 12 consecutive months. All nighttime and passenger driving restrictions are lifted once you receive your Level 3 license. Keep in mind that until you reach the age of 18, Michigan law authorizes your parents or legal guardian to withdraw their consent for you to drive. Listen to their direction and respect their knowledge.
At age 18, the Graduated Driver License law ends. Teens exiting GDL may still be subject to probationary requirements. Probation does not automatically end at age 18. Drivers, front seat passengers and all others under age 16 must wear safety belts or be in an approved child restraint system. Additionally, AAA recommends that drivers of all ages should refrain from using a cell phone while driving, except for emergency purposes, such as a call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department or other emergency services agency or entity. Effective July 1, 2010, Michigan law prohibits drivers of any age from reading, composing or sending electronic text messages while operating a vehicle.
For more information on the licensing process, visit the Michigan Secretary of State.