Licensing & State Laws
To get your driver’s license in Hawaii, you’ll move through three licensing stages. As you progress, you’ll also need your parents’ permission at each step.
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.
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.
- Keep track of your practice driving with the AAA Driving Log.
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.
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 the laws in your state.
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
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
- 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.
Your parents will set rules as you learn to drive. But state and local police are involved, too, enforcing traffic laws and investigating crashes. By enforcing laws and requirements on seat belt use, distracted driving, drinking and driving, and teen license restrictions, police keep everyone on the road safer. Breaking laws can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.
- If pulled over by the police, present your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
- If stopped as a driver or passenger, always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement.
- If in any kind of situation involving law enforcement, talk to your parents about it immediately afterward.
If you get a ticket or are involved in a crash, you may need to appear in court, whether you believe you were at fault or not. This is serious stuff: Judges often assess fines and suspend driving privileges for traffic offenses – even a first offense.
Police and courts are there when things go wrong. You and your parents can help keep things right.
- Use a parent-teen driving agreement.
- Keep your parents in the know about who you ride with.
- Let your parents know when and where you’re headed.
- StartSmart: Practice Driving – AAA’s tips for parents and teens about practice driving.
- StartSmart: Always Use Seat Belts – 63 percent of 16- to 20-year-olds who die in car crashes aren’t buckled up.
- StartSmart: Distractions and Driving – Read about the most common distractions, and get helpful advice for teens and parents.