General rule says no more than one friend under 21; exception for ‘authorized activities’ such as going to and coming from school
I always get lots of questions on this blog and website about Michigan’s graduated drivers license program. And in just the last two weeks, I’ve received questions from drivers-in-training in Michigan about who they can have as passengers – and how many.
Over the last decade, I’ve been a speaker to many Metro Detroit area high schools at Oakland County’s Law Day, so many of these are questions I’ve heard before.
Specifically, the last questions came from Level 2 license holders (who are 17 years of age or younger) who wanted to know if they could pick up some of their teenage friends and give them rides to and from school – as well as to and from non-school-related events like sports practice and/or employment.
Here are my answers to those questions:
First, under Michigan’s Graduated Drivers Licensing system, a driver with a “Level 2” license is generally prohibited from operating “a motor vehicle at any time with more than 1 passenger in the vehicle who is younger than 21 years of age.” (MCL 257.310e(6)(b))
Second, under certain circumstances, there is an exception to the general rule above which provides:
The no-more-than-one-passenger-under-21 restriction does not apply if the “person is operating the vehicle in the course of his or her employment or while going to or from employment or while going to or from an authorized activity.” (MCL 257.310e(6)(b)(iii))
So what’s “an authorized activity”?
Michigan’s Graduated Driver Licensing Law says an “‘authorized activity’ means any of the following:”
- “A school or a school-sanctioned event or activity. For purposes of this subdivision, school means a public or private school, including a home school.
- “A sporting event or activity, or extracurricular event or activity, that is not school-sanctioned but that is part of an official sports league or association or an official extracurricular club, or that is paid for as a service offered by a business specializing in those events or activities or training for those events or activities.”
- “A class or program of vocational instruction offered by a college, community college, nonprofit association, or unit of government or by a business specializing in vocational training.”
- “An event or activity sponsored by a religious organization that is tax-exempt under federal law.”
- “Transporting an individual in need of immediate emergency care or personal protection to a health care professional, hospital, police station, domestic violence shelter, or public safety location.”
For more, take a look at my blog post, “Michigan’s new teen driving law.”
For more information about Graduated Driver Licensing program, please check out the SOS’s informative webpage.
And please remember, as with every post on this legal blog, this is only true as of this date. The laws may, and frequently do change. If you are reading this post years from now, please make sure to double-check and make sure this is still the law today.