Drivers Permits in Massachusetts
Massachusetts recently implemented several changes to its teen driving program, highlighted by a Junior Operator's License (JOL).
It's the first JOL in the country to require the parents or guardians of teen drivers to take a two-hour classroom training with their teen driver. In addition, the state also enacted strict "no-tolerance" penalties for speeding, Operating Under the Influence (OUI) of drugs or alcohol, and drag racing, among other violations.
One of the changes in the law involves the education of teen drivers. The new law requires that teens have:
- 30 hours of classroom instruction
- 12 hours of behind-the-wheel training
- Six hours of on-road observation
- two hours of classroom time with the parent or guardian
- 40 hours of practice driving with parent or guardian
If the student completes and passes an Advanced Training program, the practice hours are reduced to 30 hours instead of 40.
You must be 16 years old to obtain your Massachusetts Learner's Permit and 16 years, six months to apply for your Junior Operator's License. During the time that you hold your permit and JOL, you must meet the above-mentioned education requirements before you're eligible to apply for your regular driver's license.
The permit and JOL carry certain restrictions.
- No passengers under the age of 18, unless you are accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years or older, who has held a driver's license more than a year.
- Limited driving from 12:30 a.m.-5 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. The primary enforcement period is from 1-4 a.m.
- You need to hold your permit for at least six months before you apply for your Junior Operator's License.
Before applying for your learner's permit, study the Massachusetts Driver's Manual, then study some more with DMV.org's online Practice Tests. Once you've mastered those, head down to your local Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) with your parent or guardian to be tested.
You'll need to complete an application and pass a vision test before taking the written exam of 25 questions. You must get at least 18 of those question correct in 20 minutes to pass the test. Then they'll take your picture, you'll sign the license, pay $30 and your permit will be issued.
Your permit is valid for two years.
Before you can apply for your regular driver's license, you'll need to take a road test. This test requires advance reservation, which you can make anytime after you've held the permit for six full months. Just call the RMV Telephone Center weekdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and schedule the road test. From the 617/781 area codes call 857-368-8000; from the 413/508/978 area codes call (800) 858-3926.
The fee for the road test is $20.
If you lose your permit, you'll need to visit your local RMV for a replacement. The fee is $15.
Other Topics in This Section
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- Drivers Training Requirements: Do You Have to Enroll in Drivers Training?
- How to Choose a Drivers Training Program
- Who’s Required to Take Drivers Training
- Transferring a Learner Permit to a New State
- Teen Driver Safety: Seat Belt Use
- Graduating From a Drivers Permit to a Restricted Drivers License