Michigan Graduated License - MI Graduated Drivers License Program
The graduated drivers license system is a set of laws and requirements that apply to all driver license applicants who are under 18 years of age. The graduated license system in Michigan is similar to analogous programs currently utilized in other states around the country and it aims at reducing the number of traffic accidents among teenage drivers. The Michigan graduated drivers license system divides the licensing procedure into a number of stages, each step designed to teach the applicant a new set of skills or acquire additional experience before proceeding to the next level. The distinguishing trademark of the Michigan graduated license law is the fact that parents can affect how long their child stays at any given stage of the program. The state designates the minimum requirements for every stage, but the parents can extend these requirements if they find that the student has not gained enough proficiency on the current level.
Michigan Graduated License Stages
There are 3 levels of the Michigan graduated license program and each one of them has a corresponding driver license that is issued to the applicant.
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3
You have to remember that the graduated drivers license requirements apply only to those who apply for a Michigan learners permit or drivers license before they turn 18. If you are 18 or older, you do not need to follow these rules.
You can enter the first level of the graduated license program when you are at least 14 years and 8 months old. Your first step is to locate a state-approved segment 1 drivers education program and sign up for it. The segment 1 drivers ed class contains 24 hours of classroom instruction, 6 hours of behind the wheel driving and 4 hours of observation time. Your segment 1 drivers ed class also includes a drivers permit test, so you will not have to take a knowledge test at the Secretary of State office.
When you finish the drivers ed class, you are given a green certificate of completion and you can take it down to the SOS office to apply for your level 1 Michigan driver's license.
You have to remember that although it is called a drivers license, the level 1 drivers license is more like a learners permit and it comes with numerous permit restrictions. For example, you are not allowed to drive unless you are supervised by a parent, legal guardian or a designated driver who is at least 21 years old. Needless to say, the supervisor must have a valid Michigan driver's license.
In order to proceed to the second level of the graduated license program, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- hold your level 1 driver license for at least 3 months
- complete 6 hours of segment 2 drivers education
- complete at least 30 of the required 50 hours of supervised driving (2 hours must be completed at nighttime)
- have no traffic violations within 90 days preceding the application
If you fulfill these requirements, you can take a drivers license test at one of the certified testing locations. If you successfully pass the driving exam, visit one of the SOS offices where you can receive your level 2 drivers license. Remember that you need to bring your level 1 license, your white certificate of completion for drivers education and proof of completion of the road test with you when you apply for the level 2 license.
Your level 2 Michigan drivers license allows you to drive unsupervised between the hours of 5 a.m. and midnight. If you want to drive between midnight and 5 a.m., you must have a supervising driver seated next to you. Exceptions can be made if you are traveling to or from work, but you must be able to show proof that your traveling is related to your employment activities. You will need to hold your level 2 driver license for at least 6 months or until you turn 18 before you can receive your unrestricted license.
Finally, there is a final stage of the Michigan graduate license program - unrestricted drivers license. The minimum age for obtaining an unrestricted driver license is 17, provided you completed the previous stages of the program. If your parents authorized automatic upgrade to level 3, you will receive your license in the mail and you don't have to take any additional steps. If your parents did not authorize the automatic upgrade, you will need to visit the SOS office with your parents and have them sign the authorization form.
You can always obtain more information on the graduated license system by reading the official Michigan drivers manual or visiting the SOS website. Your nearest SOS office should also be able to update you on any recent changes to the law.