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  • Drivers Permits in Maine

    Maine requires first-time drivers under 18 to hold an instructional permit followed by an intermediate license before applying for a regular driver license without restrictions.

    The system is carefully regulated and designed to help young drivers improve their skills, experience, and judgment to operate motor vehicles safely.

    Instruction Permits

    Instruction permits, or learner permits, allow drivers at least 15 years old to drive while accompanied by another driver who is 20 or older with a valid license for the past 2 years.

    You need to have an instruction permit for six months before applying for an intermediate license.

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    Getting an Instruction Permit

    If you are under 18, you must take an approved driver education course to get your instruction permit. The permit lets you drive a vehicle when accompanied by a licensed driver at least 20 years old with a valid license for the past 2 years. You permit is valid for 18 months.

    Approved driver education schools handle the process of testing and issuing learner permits.

    At the end of the course, you will take a written exam and vision test. The Maine Exam Manual contains sample test questions, and DMV.org provides practice tests.

    Students who pass will receive their learner permits in the mail.

    Over 18

    If you are over 18, you are not required to take a driver education course. Obtaining your learner permit is a two-step process.

    First you need to fill out a permit application and find your original birth certificate or get a photo copy with an embossed stamp.

    Mail the application and birth certificate to the following address:

    • Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    • Driver License Services Division
    • Examination Section
    • 29 State House Station
    • Augusta, ME 04333-0029

    Make sure to include a $10 processing fee. The check or money order should be payable to the Secretary of State.

    In about two weeks, your birth certificate will be returned in the mail. You also will receive notice of the scheduled date, time, and location for your written exam.

    You will need to bring two forms of ID when you take the written and vision tests for your learner permit. You must present your Social Security card and birth certificate.

    Rules and Restrictions

    Instruction permits carry specific rules and restrictions for drivers based on age.

    If you are under 21, you must hold the permit for 6 months before applying for your road test. You cannot use a cell phone while driving.

    Permit Suspension

    Your learner permit may be suspended by the Secretary of State if a police officer or member of the public files a written complaint about your driving.

    Your parent or guardian also has the authority to ask the Secretary of State to suspend your permit if you are not following the rules and restrictions. The request must be made in writing and notarized.

    You risk losing your driver permit if caught changing the information on it.

    Lost and Expired Permits

    You need to contact the BMV if your permit is lost or destroyed. The BMV will send you the information and forms you need to apply for a replacement.

    If your permit expires before you apply for your road test, you must complete and submit another Non-Commercial Class C License Application, pay the $10 fee again, and schedule to take another written test.

    Intermediate License

    Anyone under 18 who is issued a driver license receives an "intermediate license," not a regular driver license. You must hold the intermediate license for 180 days before you can get an unrestricted driver license.

    An intermediate license has certain restrictions:

    • You can only have immediate family members as passengers in the vehicle unless you are accompanied by a licensed driver 20 or older with a valid license for the past two years.
    • You cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
    • You cannot use a cell phone while driving.

    If you are caught violating any of the restrictions, you will need to hold the intermediate license an additional 180 days from the date of the infraction.

    Driving Contract

    Maine encourages parents to help their sons and daughters develop safe driving habits. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 24. In Maine, young drivers account for nearly a third of all traffic accidents with injuries.

    The BMV offers a driving contract for parents and teenagers that spells out expectations and rules.

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