To drive a vehicle in Montana, you have to have a valid driver’s license. Teens younger than 18 to driving for the first time have to obtain a Graduated Driver License (GDL). There are also additional programs for drivers who have violated certain traffic laws and programs to assist with defensive driving techniques.
Testing and Preparing to Drive
There is testing required before anyone can get a driver’s license in Montana.
To obtain a license, applicants must pass.
- Vision tests which require at least 20/40 vision
- Knowledge tests, which require knowledge of the state’s laws and driving acuity
- Road tests, which monitor you driving, stopping at the appropriate signs, sitting, turning, parallel parking, yielding, and completing other driving actions
Those who pass the test can obtain their license.
Graduated Driver License
All applicants first obtain a learner license, allowing them to practice with a licensed adult in the car. Adults over age 18 take the road test when ready and, if they pass, receive their driver’s license.
Montana uses a Graduated Driver License Program for teens under age 18. Teens age 14 1/2 may receive their learner’s license if they are in a state-approved driver education program, or age 15 if in a special program, and age 16 without being in a special program. They must have their learner’s permit for at least six months and document 50 hours of practice driving time, 10 of which must be at night.
They then take the road test and, if successful, receive a First-Year Restricted License. With the restricted license, they are forbidden from driving between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 a.m. except for emergencies and other specific purposes. They are also limited to only one other non-related minor passenger during the first six months unless supervised by an adult in the car. During the last six months, they are limited to three non-related minor passengers unless supervised by an adult.
If all goes well, the teen automatically receives a full privilege license at the end of the year. If the teen breaks one of the rules of the restricted license, they can be sentenced to community service or have their license suspended.
Remedial Driver Programs
Drivers who have been convicted of driving under the influence may be required to participate in the 24/7 Sobriety program. The program requires either twice a day breathalyzer or wearing a bracelet that determines sobriety. The courts also may require them to take a substance abuse course.
Defensive Driving Courses
Defensive driving courses are voluntary, and drivers can take them to obtain discounts on their auto insurance or to improve their driving.
Alive at 25 is a voluntary supplemental course for drivers 15 to 24 designed specifically to help teens drive defensively. General defensive driving courses and those geared toward senior citizens also are offered through private firms.
Montana does not allow drivers to have points removed from their record by taking a defensive driving course.
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