Parenting a New Teen Driver in MA
Are you worried about your teen driving? While it may help with your own convenience, it can also lead to some sleepless nights. The Next Street is here to help – not only to teach your teen the right way to drive, but also to help you be a “good coach.” Use the following tips and tricks to set your house rules now so there are no questions later.
For Parents: Massachusetts New Teen Driver Requirements
- In order to begin the Driver’s Licensing process in MA, your teen must be 15 years and 9 months old. Your teen cannot test for their Learner’s Permit or begin Driver’s Education before then.
- In Massachusetts, the new license process is all overseen by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
- The Next Street recommends your teen schedule their Permit Test as they are nearing their 16th birthday.
- Your teen must hold a Learner’s Permit for 180 days.
- While holding their permit, your teen is required to log 40 hours of time behind the wheel. This time can either be done with a Driving School or with anyone over 21 that has had their license for at least 1 year, with no suspensions.
- After your teen has completed their course, the required driving time, and held their Permit for the required wait period, they will take their Driver’s License Test – which is a 20-30 minute behind the wheel assessment.
- Upon obtaining their Driver’s License, your New Teen Driver is subject to the Massachusetts Junior Operator Laws until they expire or your teen turns 18 years old, whichever comes first.
Parent’s Involvement in Teen Driver Training
- When your teen is learning to drive, you are going to want to be involved. We encourage that involvement. In fact, the more reinforcement of the laws, safety regulations and proper driving techniques that your teen gets, the better.
The State of Massachusetts requires that all new drivers under the age of 18 have a minimum of 40 hours of behind the wheel practice with a qualified sponsor before they can test for their license.
- To be considered a sponsor, you must be 21 or older, and have held a driver license for at least 1
- As long as these requirements are met, sponsors can include the spouse of a married minor (under 18) applicant, a parent, grandparent, foster parent or legal guardian.
The Parent as a Driving Coach
- While The Next Street offers additional Private Driving Instruction, many parents want to spend some time driving with your teen.
- If you are serving as a Driving Coach, seeing how your teen is progressing can be very eye opening.
- Questions to ask yourself include:
- What are their strong suits?
- Where do they need improvement?
- Are they having trouble learning how to back out of a space?
- Go over information with your teen a few times. The more they are exposed to the actual task of driving, the better they will become at it.
- We have a very useful Parent/Student Driving Log to help you and your teen reach those 40 hours while providing a general outline of what to practice.
Parent Driver’s Education Class
- As your teen signs up for Driver's Education, you are also getting signed up.
- As a first step, there is a mandatory 2 hour Parent Class – which both you and your teen must attend (unless you have completed a Parent Class within the past 5 years).
- If you are unable to attend the 2 hour Parent Class, your teen will be unable to test until they are 18 years old.
- The Parent Class will cover such topics as State Teen Laws, Social Host Laws, and your role as a Driving Coach.
Teen Driving Restrictions
- In the State of Massachusetts, there are certain driving restrictions for 16 and 17 year olds, both when they have a Learner’s Permit and a Driver's License.
- With a Learner’s Permit, the only passenger a 16 or 17 year old can have is a parent, legal guardian or Qualified Sponsor for the duration of the permit.
- All passengers in the vehicle must use permanently installed seat belts.
- Any cell phone (even if hands-free) or other mobile electronic device may not be used while driving. This includes any hand-held computer or other device with a video display.
- For the first 6 months after obtaining a Driver’s License, a 16 or 17 year old may only drive with a Licensed Driving Instructor, their parents or legal guardian (at least one of whom holds a valid driver license) – or a person providing instruction who is at least 21 years old and has held a license for at least 1 year.
- For the second 6 months after obtaining a Driver’s License, a 16 or 17 year old may drive with the above people or with immediate family (such as brothers and sisters).
- Until they turn 18, your teen may not drive between hours of midnight – 5am unless it is for employment, school, religious activities or a medical necessity.
- Along with the mandated driving restrictions by the State of Massachusetts, you may want to set your own house rules.
- It is important that you stress the consequences if any mandates or house rules are violated – and be prepared to enforce them.
- The Next Street has created a Parent/Teen Driving Agreement that you may use to help lay out the obligations of both you and your teen, as well as the consequences of a violation.
Insuring Your New Teen Driver
- The Next Street new Teen Driver graduates receive an additional 10% auto insurance discount, through our partnership with Smith Brothers insurance.
- To learn more about insuring your teen and see if you have the right coverage by going to our Insurance Discount page.