Maine

Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)
29 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0029
(207) 624-9000 | www.maine.gov/sos/bmv

Department of Public Safety (Highway Safety & State Police)
104 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0104

45 Commerce Drive, Suite 1
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 626-3800 | www.maine.gov/dps

Maine Department of Transportation
16 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0016
(207) 624-3000 | www.maine.gov/mdot

Title Application

Application should be made to the Secretary of State.

Applications must include name, residence and mailing address of the owner, description of the vehicle including make, model, year, vehicle identification number, type of body, current mileage, whether new or used and whether repaired or rebuilt, date of purchase and name and address from whom the vehicle was acquired, names and addresses of lienholders, and a certificate of origin for a new vehicle or previous certificate of title for a used vehicle.


Title Transfer of Ownership

When vehicle ownership is transferred, an assignment and warranty of title must be given to the new owner. The warranty must include the odometer information.


Titles for Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are exempt from titling if they are model year 2006 or older, multi-sectional, state-certified modular homes, or permanently affixed to real property owned by the owner of the mobile home within 30 days of the date of sale.

Registration Application

Applications must be made to the Secretary of State.

Applications must include legal name, residence and address of registrant, current vehicle mileage, brief description of the vehicle, maker, vehicle identification number, year of manufacture, and type of fuel, for trucks, truck tractors and special mobile equipment the gross weight.

A new vehicle registration must be signed by the registered owner or owner’s legal representative.

Proof of insurance must be provided to register the vehicle.

There is a 30 day period of grace for late registration.

A trailer exceeding 2,000 lbs. must be registered on the basis of gross weight.


Registration for Non-Residents

A non-resident does not need to register the vehicle in Maine, provided that the vehicle is properly registered and licensed by the jurisdiction of residence.

An owner of a vehicle who becomes a resident of the state shall register that vehicle in the state within 30 days of establishing residency.


Registration Type

Registration expires on the last day of the month, 1 year from the month of issuance.


Emissions Inspection

Vehicle emissions test is required for many original registrations, as well as for annual registration renewals in the Cumberland County. Visit the Maine State Police for more information.

Renewal notices are sent annually to vehicle owners, and indicate whether and by what date an emissions test must be completed.

OBD is utilized as part of the state emissions inspection process.


Safety Inspection

An annual inspection is required on the following equipment: body components; brakes; exhaust system; glazing; horn; lights and directional signals; rearview mirrors; reflectors; running gear; safety seat belts on 1966 and subsequent models; steering mechanism; tires; windshield wipers; catalytic converter on 1983 and subsequent models; and filler neck restriction on 1983 and subsequent models.

An enhanced inspection that includes the fuel tank cap on 1974 and subsequent models of gasoline-powered vehicles and the on-board diagnostic system on 1996 and subsequent models is required in Cumberland County.

Upon passage of the inspection, an official sticker is provided that must be placed in the lower left-hand corner of the windshield or in the center of the windshield behind the rearview mirror. In the case of a motorcycle, the sticker must be placed on mounting plate, rear fender, or similar feature that is or is securely fastened to an integral part of the motorcycle, though not he registration plate.


Title and Registration Fees

AUTOMOBILE

Title Fee: $33.00

Registration Fee: $35.00

MOTORCYCLE

Title Fee: $33.00

Registration Fee: $21.00

Plate Fee: $5.00

DUPLICATES

Registration Fee: Card: $2.00; Stickers: $0.50 each

Driver’s License Fee: $5.00

Title Fee: $33.00

Special Plates: $25.00

Plate Disbursement

License plates are issued by the Secretary of State and are renewed annually.

License plates must be on the front and rear of each vehicle except for motorcycles and trailers which must have their plate attached to the rear.

The standard color scheme for license plates is a green shaded background, black letters and numbers with an illustration of a chickadee, pine cone and tassel.

License plates are validated by stickers.

Personalized license plates may be issued and may contain a combination of letters and numbers not to exceed 7 characters.

License plates issued to motorcycles must include the words “Ride Safe.”

Special license plates are available for disabled drivers, upon application, with physician’s certificate, to BMV.

Transfer of Plates

License plates expire when the owner of a vehicle transfers the vehicle title.

The registrant may request that plates and the registration number be assigned to another vehicle in that registrant’s name.

Driver’s License Examination

Passage of skills, visual (20/40 visual acuity required) and written examinations are required for licensure.

A physical examination may be required and may be performed by a licensed physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or other competent treatment personnel as determined by the medical advisory board.

A vision test must be passed (1) at the time of the 1st license renewal after age 40, (2) at every 2nd license renewal after initial renewal at age 40 until the person reaches 62 and, (3) at every license renewal after age 62.


Graduated Driver’s Licensing

Maine has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

At age 15, individuals are eligible for a learner’s permit.

  • Permit holders may not drive unless supervised by a driver who is at least 25 years old and has held a license for at least 3 years and is occupying the seat beside the driver.
  • Permit holders must also accumulate at least 70 hours (10 at night) of parental/guardian supervised driving.

At age 16, individuals holding the permit for at least 12 months are eligible for a probationary/intermediate license.  Unless supervised by a driver at least 20 years old who has held a license for at least 3 years, drivers may not:

  • Transport any passengers, except immediate family during the first 270 days of licensure
  • Drive unsupervised between midnight and 5 a.m.

At age 16 and 9 months, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted driver’s license.

Driver education is required for all license applicants under age 18.

Holders of intermediate licenses may be provided two decals and may voluntarily display them on their vehicle to indicate the licensee holds an intermediate license.


Driver’s License Issuance/Application

A Driver’s license is required before driving a motor vehicle in this state.

A person must apply for a driver’s license within 30 days of becoming a resident of Maine.

Applicant must pass a written exam and a physical examination by actual demonstration of ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Social security numbers are required to be collected to apply for or renew a driver’s license or nondriver identification card. Social security numbers will be used solely for identification purposes and will be kept confidential.

Person must provide acceptable documentary evidence of residence or domicile in state, exemption may include person on active duty in US armed forces, spouse or child of such, student enrolled in a university college or school.

A driver’s license is required to have the applicant’s name, date of birth, place of resident or mailing address, signature, and permanent assigned license number.

Full-face color photographs or digital images are required on all licenses except for a temporary license or a person who renews a license on or after the 65th birthday.

A person under 21 years has a distinctive color-coded license.


Driver’s License Renewal

Prior to expiration of a license, the Secretary of State will send the license holder a renewal application.

A driver’s license issued to a person under 65 expires at midnight on the license holder’s 6th birthday following the date of issuance. Until June 30, 2014 for the equalization of 6 year cycles for drivers that have chosen an 8-year renewal period, a 2 year license may have been issued.

A driver’s license issued to a person 65 or older expires at midnight on the license holder’s 4th birthday following the date of issuance.

Vision tests are required at the first renewal after the driver’s 40th birthday and at every second renewal until age 62; thereafter, at every renewal.

Any valid driver’s license issued to a person on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, or the person’s spouse, is effective without requirement for renewal until 180 days after the date of the person’s discharge from the service.


Types of Driver’s Licenses

A special restricted license may be issued to a person who is 15 years old, has successfully completed a driver education course, has completed 70 hours of drive time with 10 hours at night, and can prove educational, employment, or medical need. To prove need, a statement must be provided explaining that no readily available alternative means of transportation exists and use of a vehicle is necessary for transportation to and from school, work or medical facility. The license allows the holder to drive only between the holder’s residence and school, work. or medical facility.

A Class A license is for the operation of a combination of vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or registered weight of 26,001 lbs. or more, if the GVWR or gross weight of the vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs.

A Class B license is for the operation of a single motor vehicle with a GVWR or weight rating of 26,001 lbs. or more or such a vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR or gross weight not in excess of 10,000 lbs.

A Class C license is for the operation of a single vehicle or combination of vehicles that does not meet the definition of a Class A or Class B license.

A Class A or Class B license, or a Class C license with endorsements for double or triple trailers, buses, tank trucks, or hazardous materials is a commercial license.

Operation of a school bus, motorcycle, motor-drive cycle, or moped requires a special endorsement on a license.

Distracted Driving

Texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers.  Instruction permit and restricted license holders under 18 years of age are prohibited from using a cellular phone while driving. A person operating a motor vehicle while distracted is guilty of the infraction of failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle.


Emergency Radio/Cellular

Emergency phone number is 911.


Headsets

No prohibition on wearing of headsets while driving.


Impaired Driving

All 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Maine requires the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders.


Move Over Law

State law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or to slow to a safe and reasonable speed.


Seat Belts

Seat belts are required for the driver and all passengers age 18 and older.

Violation of the seat belt law is a standard offense.

Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is not permitted for persons under age 19; some other exceptions apply.


Child Passenger Safety

Children ages 8 until 18 and more than 4 feet 9 inches tall must be properly secured in a seat belt.

Children under age 12 and under 100 lbs. must be in the rear seat of a vehicle, if possible.

Children who weigh 40-80 lbs. and are under age 8 must be properly secured in a booster seat or child safety seat.

Children under 40 lbs. must be properly secured in a child safety seat that meets federal standards and properly secured in accordance with the manufacturer’s instruction.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.


Railroad Crossing

Whenever a person driving a vehicle approaches a railroad crossing shall at a distance of 100 feet slowdown to a reasonable speed, check in both directions and proceed cautiously. At a signal indicating an approaching train, the driver must stop not less 15 feet and not more than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the railroad and must not proceed until he can do so safely. A driver approaching a railroad crossing shall do so in a manner so that they will be able to stop if necessary.

A bus transporting passengers, a motor vehicle transporting any quantity of chlorine, a motor vehicle required to be marked or placarded according to federal law, or a cargo tank vehicle whether loaded or empty, must come to a complete stop before crossing any railroad track.

School buses are required to stop at railroad track crossings not more than 50 feet or less than 15 feet from the nearest rail.


School Buses

Upon meeting or overtaking in either direction a school bus receiving or discharging children on a road, parking area, or on school property, a driver must stop and not proceed until the bus resumes movement or the school bus operator signals to proceed.

A driver need not stop for a school bus if traveling in a lane separated by curbing or another physical barrier from the lane that the bus is in, or on a limited access highway where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway with the school bus stopped in a loading zone.

Bumper Height

Modification of original vehicle frame height permitted. Maximum frame height for vehicles up to 4,500 lbs is 24 inches in the front and 26 inches in the rear.  Lift blocks and spring shackle extensions are prohibited. Door height limits apply.


Headlight Use

Headlights are required to be on 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, when wipers are in use, when visibility is less than 1000 feet, or in conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather.


Hazard Light Use

Hazard light use is not permitted while driving unless to indicate a traffic hazard.


Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.


Studded Tires

Studded tires are permitted October 2 to April 30, and if retracted, May 1 to October 1.


Glass/Window Tinting

Tinting is permitted only along the top 5 inches of the windshield.

Side and rear windows may not be covered or treated with tinting that allows a light transmittance of less than 35%.

Reflective material is not permitted on any vehicle windows.

All windows except the rear window must contain 2-way glass.


Telematics

A motor vehicle may not be operated with a television viewer or screen visible to the driver, including any devices capable of  showing visual content that is visible to the operator, but excluding devices installed for the effective or safe operation of a motor vehicle or content displayed on a global positioning or navigation system.


Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.


Windshield Stickers

No sign, poster, opaque or semitransparent material or substance may be placed on the windshield that obstructs the driver’s clear view of the road or an intersection.

No more than 1 sticker, except for an inspection sticker, for parking or entry identification may be placed on the windshield of a motor vehicle.

Inspection sticker may be in left hand corner or in center of windshield behind rear view mirror.

No portion of an inspection sticker on a motor vehicle windshield may be more than 4 inches from the bottom edge of the windshield.

If an inspection sticker is located on the lower left hand corner of the windshield, the other sticker must be located to the right of it.


Other Equipment Rules

N/A.

Motorcycle Equipment

A motorcycle must have 1 front-mounted headlight.

A motorcycle must have a mirror mounted and adjusted to allow the driver a clear, reflected view of the highway in the rear for a distance of at least 200 feet.

A driver of a motorcycle may ride only on the permanent and regular attached seat.

No more than 2 persons may ride on a motorcycle and the passenger must be on a permanent seat provided for said passenger.

No more than 2 persons may ride in a sidecar, provided that the sidecar is designed with permanent seats for 2 passengers.

Handlebars of a motorcycle may not be higher than shoulder level of the driver.

Protective headgear is required for all riders under 18 and passengers of operators under 18, and operators with a learner’s permit or within 1 year of successfully completing a driving test.


Motorcycle Licenses

Operation of a motorcycle, motor-drive cycle, or moped requires a special endorsement on a license.

A person must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a motorcycle instruction permit.

An instruction permit applicant must pass a vision test and a knowledge test related specifically to the safe operation of a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or moped. An applicant must complete a motorcycle driver education program.

An instruction permit holder may operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or moped must wear a helmet. The permit does not allow the holder to carry a passenger or ride out of state.


Motorcycle Noise Limits

A motor vehicle must be equipped with an adequate muffler properly maintained to prevent excessive or unusual noise. Amplification of the noise emitted by the muffler is strictly prohibited.


Mopeds & Other

The following safety equipment is required for a moped: rearview mirror; head-light, tail and brake light, and license plate light. Helmets are required if operating under a learner’s permit, or for 1 year after being licensed or for all passengers under age 15.

Lights must be on at all times while in operation. Mopeds are not subject to annual inspection. Not allowed on interstate/turnpike or on a way on which a bicycle is prohibited. May only be operated in single file and as close as practicable to the right.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 65 feet; trailer length: 48 feet; motor home length: 45 feet; width: 8 feet 6 inches (excluding mirrors, turn signals, and appurtenances up to 6 inches); height: 13 feet 6 inches.


Trailer Brakes

A trailer less than 3,000 lbs. gross weight is not required to have brakes.

A trailer with a gross weight of 3,000 lbs. or greater is required to have adequate brakes acting on all wheels of all axles.


Trailer Hitch/Signals

Safety chains or steel cable must be made of wire that measures at least 1/4 inch in thickness.


Trailer Lighting

On a vehicle 7 feet wide or wider, all rear lights, reflectors, and signal lights must be within 12 inches of the extreme extension of the vehicle, except for trailers with lights, reflectors, and signals installed by the manufacturer.

A trailer that is wider than the vehicle towing it must have reflective material or a lamp on each front corner visible to oncoming traffic.


Trailer Mirrors

A person may not operate a vehicle so constructed, equipped, loaded, or used that the driver is prevented from having a constantly free and unobstructed view of the way immediately to the rear, unless there is attached a mirror or reflector placed and adjusted to afford the driver a clear, reflected view of the highway to the rear of the vehicle for a distance of at least 200 feet.


Trailer Speed Limits

As posted.


Trailer Towing

Only 1 trailer or semitrailer may be pulled by a motor vehicle with exception of a truck tractor, semitrailer, and full trailer on the interstate highway system.

Maximum of 1 boat or general/utility trailer may be towed behind passenger or pleasure vehicle; total length of both not to exceed 65 feet.


Trailer Other Provisions

Riding in towed trailer is prohibited.

Accident Reporting

Crashes are required to be immediately reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1000.00.


Bail Bonds

N/A


Liability Laws

Insurance or a bond covering the vehicle is required.

Minimum insurance requirements for passenger vehicles are $50,000 for injury to or death of any 1 person, $100,000 for 1 accident resulting in injury to or death of more than 1 person, and $25,000 for property damage.

Minimum insurance requirements for other vehicles are: (1) $350,000 combined single limit for rental vehicles, emergency vehicles and for-hire vehicles transporting freight or merchandise but not passengers; (2) for vehicles for hire used to transport passengers within the state, but not defined as school buses, there is a combined single limit of: (a) $125,000, or split limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per occurrence for bodily injury, and $25,000 for property damage for vehicles not under contract with the state, a municipality, or a school district for the transportation of students that are designed to carry no more than 3 passengers behind the driver’s seat; (b) $300,000 for vehicles that are designed to carry 4-7 passengers behind the driver’s seat, including vehicles under contract with the state, a municipality, or a school district for the transportation of students; (c) $750,000 for vehicles that are designed to carry 8-15 passengers behind the driver’s seat; (d) $1,500,000 for vehicles that are designed to carry 16-30 passengers behind the driver’s seat; and (e) $2,000,000 for vehicles that are designed to carry 31 or more passengers behind the driver’s seat; (3) for vehicles for hire used to transport passengers between points in the state, but not defined as school buses, under contract with the state, municipality, or school district, or for transportation of students, there is a combined single limit of: (a) $1,500,000 for vehicles with 15 or fewer passengers, and (b) $5,000,000 for vehicles with 16 or more passengers; (4) for school buses there is a combined single limit of: (a) $500,000 for buses with up to 30 passengers, and (b) $1,000,000 for buses with 31 or more passengers; (5) for rental trucks with registered gross weight of 26,000 lbs. or less, rented or leased for fewer than 30 days: (a) there is a combined single limit of $125,000; or (b) there is a split limit of $50,000 per person or $100,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage.

State has non-resident service of process law; does not have guest suit law.


Weigh Stations

On direction of a state police officer or at a designated weigh point an operator must drive the vehicle onto the scales for weighing and permit examination of registration certificate and the load.


Bicycles

Bicycle helmets are required for riders under age 16.

Drivers passing a bicycle must pass with a space of 3 feet between the motor vehicle and the bicycle.


Other

Maine is party to the Non-Resident Violator Compact.