Licensing & State Laws

Are you legally allowed to drive without supervision now? Learn more about Hawaii’s multi-stage licensing process.

Learner’s Permit

When you turn 15½, you may apply for a learner’s permit. You and a parent or legal guardian need to visit your local driver exam office and bring a state-certified copy of your birth certificate. 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. Once you pass the written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test, you’ll be given your learner’s permit.

A learner’s permit lets you drive only with a licensed driver age 21 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. The learner’s permit lets you practice driving with an experienced adult driver. Once you have practiced driving for at least 50 hours (including 10 hours at night) with a parent or legal guardian, you are allowed to get a provisional license.

Provisional License

When you turn 16 and have had your learner’s permit for at least 6 months, you can go to your local DMV to take the driving test. You’ll also need to take a second vision test and provide proof that you completed 50 hours of practice driving time (including 10 hours at night). In addition, you must complete a state-certified driver’s education course and possess the classroom and behind the wheel certificates. To obtain the classroom certificate, you must complete a 30-hour classroom course. To obtain the behind-the-wheel certificate, you 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.

Once you complete these requirements, you can receive your provisional license. Make sure a parent comes with you to sign the application form or get your parent’s notarized signature on the form ahead of time.

When you have a provisional license, you’re allowed to drive without a parent, but you must follow certain rules to help keep you safe. Hawaii does not allow teens with provisional licenses to drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.—some of the riskiest driving hours for all drivers and especially teens. Exceptions are granted for travel to and from work and school activities. Hawaii teens also may not drive with more than one passenger under age 18. These restrictions, however, do not apply if you are driving with an adult, licensed passenger seated next to you. You and all of your passengers must wear seat belts while you’re driving.

Full License

At age 17, you are eligible for a full unrestricted license if you have held the provisional license for six months and have no pending violations that might result in a suspension or revocation of your license.

Now is a good time to set up a parent-teen driving agreement to help you and your parents establish expectations related to both their rules and those of the state.

For more information, contact the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Police enforce life-saving traffic laws related to seat belt use, drinking and driving, teen licensure and speeding, among others. If you violate those laws, you will be punished. Breaking the law can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.

  • Expect to present your driver’s license, the vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  • Always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement, whether you’re the driver or a passenger.
  • Talk to your parent about what happened.

If you get a ticket or are in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance and many unpleasant consequences.

  • Fines
  • Suspended driving privileges
  • Driver’s license points
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Court costs
  • Insurance rate increases

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.

Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing
City and County of Honolulu
1455 S. Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 973-2700

Department of Motor Vehicles 
County of Maui
70 E. Kaahumanu Avenue, Suite A-17
Kahului, HI 96732
(808) 270-7363

Department of Finance, Division of Treasury 
County of Kauai
4444 Rice Street
Lihue, HI 96766
(808) 241-6577

Motor Vehicle Licensing and Registration 
County of Hawaii
Aupuni Center
101 Pauahi Street, Suite 5
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-8351

Hawaii Department of Transportation 
Aliiaimoku Building
869 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 587-2150

These agencies:

  • Conduct the written exam and road test for your learner’s permit and provisional license.
  • Provide study materials to help you get ready for the exams.
  • Keep track of your license status and can suspend your license if you get too many tickets, neglect or forget to pay your car insurance or commit other violations.