Hawaii Provisional License

Hawaii has a three-phase licensing program that includes a provisional driver’s license in the second phase. Here’s what that means.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Beginning drivers can receive a Hawaii provisional license during the second phase of the state’s three-phase licensing program. Drivers who are between 16-18 years old, have held an instructional driving permit for at least 180 days, and have completed a state-certified driver’s education course are eligible for a provisional driver’s license. 
Before you’re able to hit the road for the first time as a fully licensed driver, most states require you to go through two other stages of licensing. Generally, you’ll hold a learner’s permit and then a provisional license before being granted your unrestricted driver’s license. 
Each state following three-phase licensing has its own rules and restrictions that limit the licensee’s driving abilities. Here are the need-to-know details for obtaining and holding a Hawaii provisional license.
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What is a provisional driver’s license in Hawaii?

A provisional driver’s license in Hawaii is the second phase in a three-step licensing program. Rather than new drivers going straight from driver’s ed to a full driver’s license, they must go through these three phases:
  • Instructional permit
  • Provisional license
  • Full driver’s license 
The three-step licensing program in Hawaii was introduced as a way to reduce the number of motor vehicle-related deaths in teens. In general, teenage drivers are less experienced on the road and thus less able to navigate hazardous road conditions and events. 
These three steps are necessary for beginning Hawaiian drivers between 15.5 and 17 years old. Once you reach 15.5 years old, you can
obtain an instructional driver’s permit
that allows you to operate a vehicle when a fully licensed driver at least 21 years old is sitting next to you. 
The next phase in the program is your provisional driver’s license which becomes available once you turn 16 years old. To obtain Hawaii’s provisional license, you’ll need:
  • At least 180 days with an instructional permit 
  • Completion certificates of classroom and behind-the-wheel portions of a state-approved driver’s ed course
  • Passing score on a road examination test 
Once all of these requirements have been met, you’ll need to bring your driver’s education certificates, proof of your successful road exam, and your learner’s permit with you to your local DMV to apply for your provisional license.

What are the age requirements for a Hawaii provisional driver’s license?

To apply for a provisional driver’s license in Hawaii, drivers must be at least 16 years old but under 18 years old
New drivers 18 years old or older still need to obtain an instructional permit as a first step to getting their driver’s license but may not need to receive a provisional license as a second step. 
Each Hawaiian island has its own DMV, so regulations may vary—be sure to check with the specific requirements of your local DMV when applying for a learner’s permit or driver’s license.

How long is a provisional license in Hawaii?

Beginning drivers in Hawaii must have their provisional driver’s license for at least six months before they’re eligible to receive their full driver’s license. It’s also necessary for drivers to remain violation-free during that period. 
Any violation on their record can lead to license suspensions that start at three months and go up to one year depending on the number of previous violations recorded. 
The Hawaii provisional driver’s license is only active through the driver’s 19th birthday, at which time they will need to apply for a full license. 

What are the rules for driving with a provisional license in Hawaii?

Driving with a provisional license in Hawaii gives you more freedom than a learner’s permit but still comes with regulations. When you hold a provisional license, you can drive unsupervised at certain times of the day, but you will be held to a higher standard for employing seatbelts and maintaining a
clean driving record
When someone with a provisional license is behind the wheel, every passenger must be wearing a seatbelt at all times and in the fashion required by Hawaii’s state law. And like any license, it’s necessary to keep your provisional license in your immediate possession while operating a vehicle. 
If you were to be convicted of one violation relating to the rules of your provisional license, the temporary license would be suspended for three months. Each subsequent violation after that one would result in six months suspension
If you were to be convicted of a driving violation relating to the regular rules of the road and vehicle operation, your first offense would cost you a six-month suspension of your provisional license. The second offense would suspend your license for one year. 

What are the restrictions for a provisional license?

No one wants to have their driver’s license, provisional or otherwise, suspended. Provisional license holders will need to get to know and adhere to their driving restrictions. 
When licensed with a provisional driver’s license, you cannot have more than one minor (under 18 years old) in the vehicle while you’re driving without your parent or guardian unless the minors are members of your household. 
Additionally, you cannot drive unaccompanied between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am. While you were able to be supervised by any fully licensed driver over the age of 21 with your learner’s permit, the only way to drive between these hours with your provisional license is with a fully-licensed parent or guardian.
There are a few exceptions to the 11 to 5 rule, though. You can drive unsupervised between those hours if you’re driving your parent or guardian to or from work and you have a signed statement from their employer with the employer’s name, phone number, and your parent/guardian’s work hours listed. 
Similarly, you can solo it in the car between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am when you’re going to or coming from a school-authorized activity and you have a signed statement from your parent or guardian with their name, address, phone number, and verification of the school-authorized activity. 
And don’t forget about your seatbelts! Both you as the provisional license holder and any passenger(s) in your vehicle must be buckled up at all times in accordance with Hawaii state law. 

How do I change my Hawaii provisional license to a full license?

Since each island has its own DMV and requirements can even vary between counties in Hawaii, you’ll need to check with your local DMV to confirm the correct process for your specific location. 
In general, to change your Hawaii provisional license to a full license, you’ll need:
  • At least six months with a provisional driver’s license without any pending violation
  • Proof of identity 
  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of legal presence
  • Social Security Number 
  • Completed driver’s license application
While you’re in the DMV, you’ll likely also be tested on your eyesight and hearing. But once you’re deemed eligible, you can pay your new license fee (typically between $5-40) and hit the road with your full driver’s license! 
saved me so much time and money! I went from $230 to $150, still with full coverage! The whole process was amazingly simple!” —Ronda S.
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