Driver’s License Examination
Tests required for obtaining a license include: a written test, a road test, and a vision screening (20/40 visual acuity required), testing both field vision and basic color recognition.
Graduated Driver’s Licensing
Massachusetts has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.
At age 16, individuals are eligible for a learner’s permit. Permit holders may not drive unsupervised.
At age 16 and 6 months, drivers are eligible for a junior operator’s/intermediate license who have: (1) held a permit for a period of 6 months; (2) completed an approved driver’s education course; (3) completed 40 or more (30 if an approved driver skills development program is completed) additional hours of behind-the-wheel experience driving supervised by a licensed driver age 21 or older; and (4) a clean driving record for a minimum of 6 months.
- Junior operator’s/intermediate license holders are prohibited from driving unsupervised between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. (secondarily enforced).
- For the first 6 months of the junior operator’s/intermediate license phase, drivers may not transport any passengers (other than family members) under the age of 18 unless supervised by a licensed driver age 21 or older (secondarily enforced).
- A junior operator’s/intermediate license holder who violates the passenger restriction shall be subject to a license suspension of up to 60 days. The 6-month passenger restriction period will stop running when the suspension begins and the remainder of the restriction period will start running again when the suspension is completed.
- Junior operators/intermediate license holders face a license suspension for a 2nd or subsequent offense for speeding or drag racing violations.
At age 18, drivers who have held a junior operator’s/intermediate license for at least 12 months are eligible for an unrestricted license.
Driver education is required for all license applicants under age 18.
Driver’s License Issuance Application
Application for license or permit requires the following: Social Security Number (or a valid passport), date of birth, full name, sex, height, mailing address, and residential address.
Applicant must also present 3 identifying documents.
License normally includes photograph.
License number is usually an assigned number unless social security number is requested.
Non-citizens who are non-residents of Massachusetts may drive for 1 year on the license issued by their home country.
Driver’s License Renewal
An operator’s license is valid for 5 years and expires on the holder’s birthday.
Renewal of license may be done up to 1 year prior to the expiration date.
Application for renewal includes: social security number, date of birth, license number, full name, mailing address, and residential address of the applicant.
Vision testing required for each in-person renewal.
Applicants age 75 and older must apply in-person.
Active duty military personnel may drive on an expired license for up to 60 days after honorable discharge from military service or return to Massachusetts. Active duty military personnel may be issued renewed non-photo driver’s license if stationed outside Massachusetts.
Types of Driver’s Licenses
Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Vehicle Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs., except a school bus. With a Class A license and the appropriate endorsements, a driver may operate any vehicle covered within Classes B and C.
Class B: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, or any such vehicle towing another vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR, except a school bus. With a Class B license and appropriate endorsements, a driver may operate any vehicle covered within Class C.
Class C: Any vehicle that is either less than 26,001 lbs. GVWR or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR or a vehicle placarded for hazardous materials or designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the operator, except a school bus.
Class D: Any single vehicle or combination except a semitrailer unit, truck trailer combination, tractor, or truck having a registered gross weight in excess of 26,000 lbs., a bus, or a school bus.
Class M: Motorcycle. If operator has a Class D license, he or she may opt for a Class M endorsement on their driver’s license.