Massachusetts Graduated Driver’s License Program
Teens who are aged 16 and want a driver’s license must complete a three stage program before receiving an unrestricted license. This program allows new drivers more time to develop the skills they need to be safe on public roads. The program is working as evidenced by annual crash statistics showing that over a ten-year period, drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatal crashes fell from 88 to 24. *source
Stage One – Age 16
You can take the written test for your learner’s permit when you turn 16. You will have the permit for at least six months while you complete a driver’s education class and acquire 40 hours or more of driving experience while being supervised by a licensed driver over the age of 21.
Stage Two – Age 16 years and six months
After fulfilling the requirements for your permit, and if your driving record is clean, you can get your intermediate/junior operator’s license. You will hold this license until you reach the age of 18. During this time, you are restricted from-
- Driving at night between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless you have a supervisor with you
- Having any passengers under the age of 18 unless supervised. This restriction is lifted after you have held the junior operator’s license for six months.
Stage Three – Age 18
If you have had no driving suspensions and you have held the intermediate license for at least 12 months, you will get your full privileges and unrestricted license at age 18.
Important Laws to Note
As a new driver, you are held to much harsher standards than other drivers. For example, if you are on your junior license, and you violate the passenger restriction, you will lose your license for 60 days. Other rules include –
- 60-day license suspension for driving without a supervisor
- 12-month suspension for drag racing
- 60-day suspension for time restriction violations
- 90-day suspension for speeding
Under primary enforcement rules, texting is banned for all drivers and talking on a cell phone is banned for drivers under the age of 18. If you talk on the phone or text, you will pay a $100 fine and lose your license for 60 days.
Enhanced Penalties for Alcohol
Massachusetts has enhanced penalties for anyone under the age of 21. For example, if you buy or have someone buy alcohol for you, your license will be suspended for six months.
Other rules include-
- If you are under 21, and you are transporting alcohol, you will lose your license for three months
- If you refuse to take a chemical test, you will lose your license for three years, and
- If you are arrested for operating a vehicle while under the influence, you will lose your license for another year
- Plus, if you are convicted of drunk driving, you will lose your license for an additional 210 days