Teen Driving Updates

Developments in Massachusetts Teen Driving Laws

Safety Insurance is dedicated to providing comprehensive information to help everyone in Massachusetts become safer drivers. Part of being a safer driver is learning about updates and new driving regulations. Recently, the State has made progress toward improving the safety of teen drivers.

The new policies include:

The Safe Driving Law became effective September 30, 2010, creating a series of new violations:

  • It is illegal for all drivers in Massachusetts to use a mobile phone or other handheld device to compose, send or read electronic messages while behind the wheel. What most drivers may not know is that the ban includes these activities while at stop signs and red lights, too.
  • Drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones, even with hands-free devices, at all.
  • If a driver is caught texting while driving, the penalties include:
    • First offense: $100 fine
    • Second offense: $250 fine
    • Third and subsequent offense: $500 fine
    • Drivers under 18 will also face license suspensions for violations.

For more information regarding the Safe Driving Law, please visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

  • Effective March 31, 2007, teen drivers with junior operators’ licenses are restricted from driving between 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Penalties for violation of the time restriction law include:
  • First offense: 60-day license suspension
  • Second offense: 180-day license suspension
  • Subsequent offences: one-year license suspension
  • Effective March 31, 2007, fines for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle will range from $100 - $1000
  • Strict penalties have been effective since March 31, 2007 for teen drivers who violate speeding or drag racing laws
  • Penalties for the first speeding offence include a 90-day license suspension, a minimum $50 fine, plus an additional $10 for each mph in excess of 10 mph over posted speed limit, a $50 surcharge, completion of State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) course and attitudinal retraining for the first offence. Stricter penalties exist for subsequent offences and for individuals obtaining a learner’s permit
  • Individuals caught drag racing will face a one-year license suspension, a $250 fine, and a $500 reinstatement fee. Stricter penalties exist for repeated offenders and for individuals obtaining a learner’s permit* Stricter penalties for teen drivers who have been caught violating passenger restrictions have also been effective since March 31, 2007. Passenger restrictions are as follows: A Junior Operator may not operate a motor vehicle within the first six (6) months after receiving a JOL while any passenger under 18 is in the vehicle (other than the Operator or an immediate family member [parents and siblings]), unless the Junior Operator is accompanied by a person who is:
    • at least 21 years old, and
    • has at least one year of driving experience, and
    • holds a valid driver’s license from Massachusetts or another state, and
    • is occupying a seat beside the driver.

Penalties for the violation of passenger restrictions are as follows:

  • First offense: 60-day license suspension
  • Second offense: 180-day license suspension
  • Subsequent offenses: one-year license suspension* Effective September 1, 2007, basic driver’s education requirements will include 12 hours of on-road driving, and parental participation in two hours of instruction on driver’s education curriculum
  • Effective September 1, 2007, 40 hours of parent or guardian supervised driving will be required to obtain a junior operators license (30 hours of supervised driving is allowed if the teen completes an advanced driver training course)

For more information on recent developments in Massachusetts teen driving laws, please visit the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

All information has been retrieved from the Official Website of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

A new study conducted by the physician-led group End Needless Death on Our Roadways (END) and the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) found that Massachusetts was one of the deadliest states for teen driving.