Before applying for a Montana driver's license you should obtain a Montana Driver License Manual. This will provide you with every rule and regulation that you will need to know for passing your driving tests (written and skills exams).
Step 1: Get an Instruction Permit (Traffic Education Learner's Permit)
The State allows you to begin driving when you turn 14 1/2 years old. But to do so you must enroll in a State-approved traffic education program. Once you enroll, you will be issued a traffic education learner's license or permit that will allow you to operate a car only while under the supervision of an instructor. This permit expires when your driving classes end. Then you may get a learner’s license from a driving exam station with the other teens 16 years old and older who are permitted to do so without taking driver′s ed.
If you are 16 years old or older, you are eligible for a learner's license from a driver exam station, even if you have not taken a driver education course. It will allow you to drive when accompanied by another person who holds a license of the same class and for the same type of vehicle. But to obtain one, you must pass Montana's written and vision tests and pay a $5 fee. This license has a "shelf life" of 1 year, but you must hold the permit for at least 6 months.
Conditions of the Permit
- You must clock 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 hours of the total should take place at night.
- You must be supervised by either a licensed parent or guardian, or a licensed driver authorized by your parent or guardian who is at least 18 years old. If you are enrolled in a state-approved driver ed course, your instructor falls under this category.
- All passengers and you, the driver, must wear a seatbelt.
- You must refrain from landing any traffic violations or alcohol- or drug-related offenses within this preliminary period of 6 months before you can take on the next step.
Step 2: Get a Restricted License
Once you have 50 hours of driving experience under your belt, you and your parent or guardian must complete a Graduated Driver Licensing Parent/Legal Guardian Certification (Form 21-1600). You must also:
- provide the above letter of parental consent, if you're less than 18 years old.
- pass three tests at a driver exam station: written, driving, and vision. See below for testing specifics.
- furnish proof of identity.
- provide solid evidence that you're a Montana resident.
- have proof that you're a United States citizen or that you are legally cleared to be residing in the country.
You may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (except for certain reasons). For the first 6 months, you may only have 1 unrelated passenger younger than 18 in your vehicle, unless you are supervised by a licensed driver at least 18 years old. For the next 6 months, you may have up to 3 unrelated passengers younger than 18 years old, unless you are supervised by a licensed driver at least 18 years old.
Step 3: Get a Full-Privilege Driver License
Once you reach the permit's end date (or you turn 18 years old, whichever occurs first), your passenger restrictions come to an end and you are eligible to obtain a full-privilege driver license. The best way to stay abreast of all the ins and outs of the graduated driver licensing program, reference the Traffic Education Program/Driver Education page provided by the Office of Public Instruction.
The questions on the MT written test are intended to probe your understanding of Montana's road rules and your defensive driving techniques. The Montana Driver License Manual surpasses all others as your best study guide for this exam; all of the questions are directly drawn from information contained in this manual.
This test generally lasts 15-20 minutes (but may feel like an eternity). It is designed to test your road skills under real driving conditions. Before testing, you will be asked to display proof of insurance and proper registration for the vehicle in which you will be taking the road test. During this testing, you will more than likely be asked to parallel park, so bring your "parking A-game" with you. Also, make sure to snap on your seatbelt.