A Look at Old Michigan Driver’s Licenses: 1916-1966
I took Driver’s Ed in high school. No fees, just a brake-happy driving instructor that ‘drove’ me crazy. If a student driver was coming up on a stop sign, the instructor would jam the brake. If the student attempted to park, the instructor would jam the brake. Sometimes this guy would slam the brake while the student was just plain driving down the street…and everyone in the front and back seats would always lurch forward…and this was before seat belts were required. One of the worst teachers I ever had. Of course, he was mainly our social studies teacher, wore thick glasses and couldn’t see well anyway. Oh yeah…perfect choice for a Driver’s Ed instructor.
Today’s high schoolers have to pay hundreds of dollars now to learn to drive.
I still think it should have remained a free school course.
In the gallery below we look at some old Michigan driver’s licenses. That’s the main crux of this article. But to make it maybe at least a little more interesting, here are a few tidbits…
1903: The first states to start requiring driver’s licenses were Massachusetts and Missouri. Residents didn’t even have to take driving tests…licenses were given to those who asked. Even people as young as 14 were getting licenses.
1908: Rhode Island was the first state to enforce the requirement for drivers to have a license and take a driving exam.
1919: Michigan began issuing driver’s licenses.
1919: Henry Ford gets his first license at age 56.
1920: Massachusetts begins requiring driving tests.
1930: Only twenty-four states require a license.
1930: Just fifteen states make driver tests mandatory.
1950s: All other states make licenses necessary.
1954: South Dakota was the last state to issue licenses.
1959: South Dakota was the last state to require an exam.
According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in 2016, “Around 77 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 24 had driver’s licenses in 2014, compared with almost 92 percent in 1983.”
Now with all that out of the way, here are a few old Michigan driver’s licenses, with a few registrations thrown in to make it fancy.
Michigan Driver's Licenses
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