Montana Department of Justice Driver Services

Map of USA with Montana highlighted in light blueGetting a driver’s license is one of the most exciting periods of life, bringing with it new freedom and responsibility. This guide will take you through many of the basics regarding the process so that you can prepare ahead of time by knowing what tests you will take, what documentation you will need, and what the next step will be.

Anyone who is under 18 and planning on driving in Montana needs to know about the Graduated Driver Licensing Program. The state of Montana gives responsibility in small steps to minors behind the wheel.

People under 18 years of age start this process by obtaining their permits. By taking a state-approved traffic education course, they can acquire their permits early-when they are 14 years and six months old. By starting early, they are prepared to receive privileges before many of their peers will. For instance, they will be eligible to receive the first-year restricted license as soon as they turn 15, granting them the ability to drive without supervision. Without driver’s education, the earliest you can receive a Traffic Education Learner’s License (TELL) is 16.

Regardless of what you decide about driver’s education, everything else will be the same-from the documentation you will need to bring to the number of hours of driving experience required for the restricted license. In order to receive a TELL permit, drivers will need to complete written and vision exams at the driver exam station of their preference.

The driver must hold the permit for at least six months before being issued a first-year restricted license. In addition, he or she must practice for over 50 hours under the supervision of a parent or guardian with ten of these hours to be completed at night. The driver must also keep a clean record for the full duration of the permit in order to be given the restricted license after six months. If, for some reason, the permit is suspended, then the period starts over. Once the driver’s permit is reinstated, six months must transpire before the driver will become eligible for the restricted license.

In order to obtain a first-year restricted license, bring the appropriate documents, including a birth certificate, a social security card, and a proof of Montana residency, with you to the driver exam station. Ask parents for a recent utility bill, a copy of the mortgage, or a lease agreement. You will also need a signed copy of the Graduated Driver Licensing Parent/Legal Guardian form. The form certifies that the teen driver has completed the required number of training hours.

Once you start driving with the first-year restricted license, you will be able to drive without supervision between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. For the first six months after the license is issued, you will only be allowed to transport one passenger at a time. For the second six months, passengers are limited to three.

During the restricted period, it is important to keep a clean record and to abide by the restrictions of the license. The first offense will necessitate from 20-60 hours of community service. The second breach will result in the suspension of the license for six months. If no offenses are counted against the driver, the license will automatically become a full privilege driver’s license after one year, or when the driver turns 18. The date will be printed on the back of the license.