Getting a Massachusetts driver’s license is an exciting, and sometimes scary, event for the new driver and the new driver’s family. In order to preserve your license and keep auto insurance rates somewhat reasonable, make sure your know the rules of the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law!
Operating a motor vehicle is serious business and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a strict Junior Operator Law for new drivers. As way of refresher course:
Massachusetts Junior Operator Law
Any motor vehicle operator or motorcyclist between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18 is considered a Junior Operator. The Junior Operator Law has several requirements and restrictions that significantly affect the operation of a motor vehicle by a person who has a Junior Operator’s License (JOL). The basic purpose of the law is to provide new drivers supervised opportunities in which to develop good driving skills, while keeping those drivers free of the possible distractions caused by friends under age 18 who are present while the drivers are behind the wheel.Following, from the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Manual, we offer Massachusetts Junior Operator License Restrictions:
- You may not operate a motor vehicle within the first six months after receiving your JOL while any person under age 18 is in the vehicle (other than you or an immediate family member), unless you are accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, has at least one year of driving experience, holds a valid driver’s license form Massachusetts or another state and is occupying a seat beside you.
General Rule: The passenger restriction that applies to the Junior Operator (Under age 18) is lifted once the Junior Operator completes the six-month period or you reach age 18, whichever occurs first.The six-month passenger restriction period will stop running, temporarily, during any suspension. When your JOL is reinstated, you will still have to complete the remainder of the six-month restriction period that existed at the beginning of the suspension period, unless you have already turned 18.
- As the holder of a Junior Operator License (JOL), you may not operate a motor vehicle between 12:30 a.m and 5:00 a.m. unless you are accompanied by one of your parents or your legal guardian. If you are found operating a motor vehicle in violation of this restriction, you may be charged with operating a motor vehicle without being licensed. This is a criminal violation.
- If you violate the passenger restiction or the night restriction, you will be subject to a license suspension of 60 dyas for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and one year for subsequent offenses. For a second or subsequent offense, you will also be required to complete a Driver Attitudinal Retraining course. The law requires the Registrar to impose this suspension in addition to any other penalty, fine, suspension, revocation, or requirement that may be imposed in connection with a violation committed at the time you were violating the passenger or night restriction.
- You may not operate a motor vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- You will be suspended for one year if you are udner 18 when you have committed certain driving offenses and alcolhol or drugs were involved (180 days if age 18 to 21), in addition to any penalty assessed by a court or other law.
- You will be ineligible for a full license until you have completed the period of suspension imposed while operating with a JOL and you reach age 18.
- You will face additional suspension periods of one year for a first drag racing offense and three years for a subsequent offense, you will be suspended for one year.
In conclusion, follow the rules and drive safe. You’ll keep your license and see your auto insurance rates go down.