Licensing & State Laws
Maine’s multi-stage licensing process enables teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time. The learner’s permit and intermediate stages are key steps.
At age 15, teens can apply for a learner’s permit in the state of Maine. To do so, teens under 18 must provide a birth certificate and Social Security number, and an application which must be signed by a parent or guardian. Teens must pass a written test and a vision screening test. Teens must also have passed an approved driver education course. Learner’s permits are valid for 24 months.
With a learner’s permit, teens may only drive with a licensed driver at least 20 years of age who has held a valid license for at least two years. Teens are required to practice driving for at least 70 hours, including 10 hours at night, before they’re allowed an intermediate license. (Keep track of your teen’s practice driving with Maine’s Driving Log.)
At age 16, if teens have had a learner’s permit for at least 6 months and completed 70 hours of practice driving, they may apply for an intermediate license. They also must pass a behind-the-wheel driving test and provide proof of practice driving time.
An intermediate license holder is allowed to drive alone, but must follow certain restrictions. They may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. The driver is also prohibited from using a cell phone and from driving with passengers for at least 270 days, except for immediate family members or a foreign exchange student who is living with the immediate family. The passenger limit and night limit do not apply when a teen driver is accompanied by a driver age 20 years or older who has been licensed for at least 2 years and is seated in the front seat.
Teens that have held an intermediate license for at least 270 days are eligible for a full unrestricted license**. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.
A parent-teen driving agreement can help you enforce licensing rules that the state and your family set. An agreement helps you and your teen understand the rules of the road and sends a clear message that driving is an earned privilege that your family takes seriously.
The Secretary of State, through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), is in charge of licensing for all drivers. The BMV conducts the written permit exam for those over 18, certifies driver education schools to conduct permit exams for those attending driver education classes and conducts all road tests needed to get a driver’s license. It also provides study materials to help your teen get ready for the exams.
Remind your teen that police can and will enforce all requirements on seat belt use, drinking and driving, and other laws. Breaking the law can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.
- If stopped by the police, teens should present a valid license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
- Whether stopped as a driver or passenger, teens should always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement.
- If in any kind of situation involving law enforcement, teens should talk to their parents about it, because this can create a learning experience.
If your teen gets a ticket or is involved in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance. Judges deal seriously and directly with teen traffic violations. They can assess fines and suspend driving privileges for traffic offenses – even for a first offense, depending on the type of violation.
**Under Main law, those young drivers who obtain their license before the age of 21 are considered juvenile provisional.