The first driver's licenses were issued in the states of Massachusetts and Missouri in 1903. However, neither state required non-commercial drivers to pass a driving test before acquiring a license. The first driving exams took place in Rhode Island in 1908.
Towards the end of the 19th century, several jurisdictions in the United States developed precursors to the driver's license. In New York City and Chicago in 1899, motorists were required to pass an exam before they could drive their vehicles, though these exams were not followed up by the issuing of a paper license. In the same year, New York City passed a law that anyone driving a steam-powered vehicle within the city needed to be a licensed engineer.