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Do 16-year-olds in Michigan have a driving curfew?

November 26, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

MI teen driving curfew

It’s 10 p.m… Parents, do you know where your children are?

Well, if your child is 16-years-old and driving a car in Michigan, you better.  At least you should know that your child is not be on the road (at least under most circumstances – see below for the rule exceptions).

As an auto accident attorney, I’ve been a regular speaker at Oakland County Law Day in years past. In addition, our own Michigan Auto Law attorneys receive questions about graduated licenses and when children can and cannot drive quite often. I received this question earlier this week from a concerned parent, and I would like to share my answer today.

Q. Is there a curfew on a 16-year-old with a segment 2 driver’s license? My son plays hockey and his practices finish at about 9:30 p.m. This would put him on the road between 10 and 11 pm three nights a week .

A. Great question. Under Michigan’s graduated licensing law for teen drivers, “[a] person issued a level 2 graduated licensing status … shall not operate a vehicle … [b]etween the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.” unless the “person is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or a licensed driver 21 years of age or older designated by the parent or legal guardian” and/or the “person is operating the vehicle … while going to or from an authorized activity.”
Here’s the interesting part: Michigan law defines “authorized activity” to include a “school or school-sanctioned event or activity” and/or a “sporting 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.” (MCL 257.310e(6)(a)(i)(ii) and (15)(a)(b))

Therefore, it appears because your son is driving from his sports practice, he is allowed to be on the road during that time, that he otherwise would be prohibited.

For more about graduated licensing restrictions, please check out the Michigan Secretary of State’s GDL (Graduated Driving License) webpage. Thank you and I hope you find this information helpful.

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