michigan driver information
Welcome to our overview on driving in Michigan. Whether you're a longtime resident of the Wolverine State or just now joining the pack, you'll find important laws and revealing stats for you to tear into.
Michigan (MI) driver info
Number of licensed drivers: 7,083,000
Number of registered vehicles in state: 7,913,000
Average time to commute to work: 23.7 minutes (nearly 2 minutes less than the national average)
Licensing and registration authority: Michigan Department of State
Your Michigan driving record and the point system
Michigan tracks driving history through a penalty point system. Any points you accumulate from a moving violation or other infraction will stay on your driving record for 2 years.
For more info on how the point system works, read part 3 of Michigan's official publication on what every driver should know (PDF).
Driving under the influence in Michigan
First-time convictions for driving while impaired (with a BAC of .08 or above) are penalized by an automatic 6-month license suspension among other possible penalties.
If you're found to have a BAC of .17 or above, the penalties are stiffer. A first conviction is punished by a suspended license (for up to one year), a fine of at least $200, and possible imprisonment.
Subsequent convictions, as you might expect, are punished more severely.
Cellphones and distracted driving
Texting is illegal for all drivers in Michigan. Talking on your phone while behind the wheel is still permitted as of mid-2012 (though we don't recommend it).
Moving to Michigan
Once you establish residency in the state, head to the nearest Department of State Office to get a new drivers license. If you have a valid license from out of state, you will need to pass a vision screening and can forego the road and knowledge tests.
New residents are required to title and register their cars immediately. Head to the Department of State Office near you to register and to turn in your old state's titles and plates.
Stolen cars in Michigan
Top 10 most-stolen vehicles in Michigan
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), these 10 cars were stolen the most in 2011:
- 2000 Dodge Caravan
- 2004 Chevrolet Impala
- 1997 Chevrolet Pickup (full size)
- 1997 Ford Taurus
- 2002 Dodge Intrepid
- 2005 Ford Pickup (full size)
- 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix
- 2011 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2002 Dodge Stratus
- 2003 Dodge Pickup (full size)
Where most vehicle thefts in MI occurred in 2011
- Detroit-Warren-Livonia area (11th-highest theft rate in the nation)
Young drivers in Michigan
First-time driver requirements in Michigan
Hopeful new drivers can start a drivers education program as early as 14 years and 9 months old. Teens need to pass 2 separate courses, known as segments. Here's an overview of the 3 basic stages for young drivers getting licensed in Michigan:
Segment 1: 24 hours of classroom training, 6 hours of driving with a trainer, and 4 hours of observation.
Segment 2: You must be at least 16 and finished with 30 of the 50 required hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience with a parent to qualify for segment 2. At the end of segment 2, you can apply for your intermediate (Level 2) license, as long as you've already spent 6 months with a Level 1 license.
Getting your first full drivers license:
- You must be at least 17 years old before applying
- You must have spent at least 6 months at Level 2 (intermediate license)
- You must go 12 consecutive months without getting a moving violation, accident, license suspension, or other violations of your license restrictions
Michigan car insurance
From legal requirements to the complex coverage system, we'll help you navigate Michigan's car insurance scene.
Michigan Department of State
Find info on licensing and registration here.
Michigan Department of Transportation
Get up-to-the-minute traffic info and find out what important projects are happening on your roads.