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Massachusetts Teen Driving Laws

A person must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a Massachusetts Learner's Permit.

A learner's permit gives your child permission to drive while they practice skills and prepare for the road test.

A youth must have their driver's permit for at least 6 months and a clean driving record for that period of time before they can take your road test for your Massachusetts Driver's License. In addition, if they are between the ages of 16.5 and 18, they must complete a registry approved driver education and training program, which includes 30 hours of classroom instruction, 6 hours of in-car training with a driving instructor, 6 hours in-car observation with a driving instructor and other student, and 12 hours of supervised (parent/guardian) behind the wheel driving as shown by a certified statement provided by a parent or guardian.
The following is the local Driver Education programs:

Vineyard Auto School 508-693-4073

If your child is under the age of 18, they are considered a "junior operator" and certain restrictions apply to them.

Your child,the vehicle (other than an immediate family member of any age) unless they are accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, has at least one year of driving experience, holds a valid drivers license from Massachusetts or another state, and is occupying a seat beside your child. This law is to protect both your child and their friends and allows your child to develop good driving skills free of distractions from friends under age 18. If your child violates this law, they may have their license suspended for 30 days (1st offense), 60 days (2nd offense), and 90 days (3rd+ offense) and will have to pay a $100 fee to reinstate their license.

As a Junior Operator, your child is are not allowed to drive between 12am and 5am unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

SPEEDING

An individual under the age of 18 can have their license suspended for 180 days for any combination of two speeding or drag-racing citations and for one year for a third violation if all three occur before their 18th birthday.

ALCOHOL

If your child is under the age of 21, and they attempt to purchase alcohol, are in possession of alcohol, or are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, they will have your license suspended for 180 days for the first offense and one year for subsequent offenses.

For more information about Driving Laws, contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles at 800-858-3926 or at www.mass.gov/rmv.

More Helpful Information to share with your teen.

A drivers license and/or owning a car is one of the biggest responsibilities your teenagers may have. Here is a list of things they should know how to do before they go out on the road - complete with what should be kept in the car for emergencies.
# Pump their own gas
# Check and add oil
# Check the brake fluid
# Check location of spare, jack and lug wrench
# Change a tire
# Add windshield washer fluid
# Check the car's coolant
# Learn how to jump start the car
# Learn how to take off and put on windshield wipers
# Practice left hand turns
# Practice three point turns
# Prepare an emergency car care kit:

Before your teenager actually uses their kit in an emergency situation, have them take some time to familiarize themselves with the items they've collected and how to use them properly. An example of this would be to let them set off a flare.
# Four 15-minute roadside flares & a lighter
# A gallon of water
# A basic first-aid pack
# Dried fruit, nuts or other nonperishable food
# A bag of cat box filler or rock salt
# A large flashlight and extra batteries
# Oil and a funnel
# Tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, socket wrenches, etc.
# List of phone numbers to call
# Jumper cables
# Blanket
# Rags
# Roll of paper towels
# Roll of duct tape

Did You Know?
Any cell phone will dial 911 and get through to emergency services ~ even if it is not connected to a phone service
New Massachusetts Teen Driving Laws
Stiffer Fines and Penalties Await Teen Scofflaws
By Verne Stone

March 20,2007 -- Basic teen driving rules were originally put into place to ease new teen drivers into their driving careers slowly, and with care for the safety of everyone on the road. For example, back in the day, new teen drivers were not allowed to drive between the hours of 1AM and 4AM. This was to avoid crashes caused by inexperienced night drivers who may encounter something seemingly harmless as a little night dew on the road or some cute, furry nocturnal creatures, or more sinister threats such as shadowy pedestrians, woozy bar patrons who may have closed the place down, or frankly, a dark road filled with other inexperienced teens.

Many times, the fines and punishments for breaking these restrictions didn't seem to outweigh the teen driver's perceived benefit of breaking the restrictions. Many new drivers broke the laws and as expected, there were many needless teen crashes, injuries and deaths during the restricted hours. For this reason, New J.O.L. (Junior Operator License) laws were enacted, but alas, those new rules and the penalties for breaking them were scoffed at by many teens just as before. The penalties still just didn't outweigh the lure of racing shiny machines on dark roads after midnight to prove one's self or impress one's friends. Teens still filled their cars with their under-aged pals. They still drove in the small hours of the morning. They still drag raced. Many times these teens were caught driving drunk, performing dangerous stunts on the public highways and streets. All too often, teens were being found wrapped around a tree or the side of a bridge pillar.

For this reason, effective March 31, 2007, new rules and penalties regarding teen drivers will go into effect. Many more go into effect six months later on September 1st,2007. These new rules are more harsh. The suspension times are far longer. The fines are far greater. Additionally, many infractions are punished by sending the scofflaw to a mandatory State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) course and attitudinal retraining.

All new J.O.L. drivers and their parents are urged to review the current and the upcoming new laws regarding J.O.L. licensing. You can review the official Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles J.O.L. information pages by clicking here.

Here are some highlights:

Driving with other passengers in first six months:

* 1st offense: 60 day license suspension
* 2nd offense: 180 day suspension and required attitudinal retraining
* 3rd offense: 1 year suspension and required attitudinal retraining

Junior Operator/Permit Holder Driving between 12:30am and 5 am:

* 1st offense: 60 day license suspension (was 30 days)
* 2nd offense: 180 day suspension and required attitudinal retraining
* 3rd offense: 1 year suspension and required attitudinal retraining
* Fine for unlicensed operation: $100-$1000

Junior Operator drag racing:

* 1st offense: $250 plus 1 year license suspension plus $500 to reinstate license
* 2nd offense: $500 plus 3 years license suspension plus $1000 to reinstate plus mandatory completion of State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) course and attitudinal retraining, and re-application for road test

Junior Operator speeding

* 1st offense: 1st offense: 90-day license suspension, minimum $50 fine, plus additional $10 for each mph in excess of 10 mph over posted speed limit, plus a $50 surcharge, completion of State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) course and attitudinal retraining
* 2nd offense: 1-year license suspension, minimum $50 fine, plus additional $10 for each mph in excess of 10 mph over posted speed limit, plus a $50 surcharge, completion of State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) course and attitudinal retraining, $500 reinstatement fee, and re-application for road test

Effective September 1, 2007:
New requirements to get a license:

* 40 hours driving with parent or guardian (or 30 if you take an advance drivers ed class)
* Parent or guardian must participate in 2 hours of drivers ed
* Drivers ed: 6 hours observing and 12 hours behind the wheel

Always be sure to check the official Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles web site for the most recent updates to the rules and laws of driving.

Youth Task Force of Martha's Vineyard