Licensing & State Laws

Even though your teen is now licensed and driving alone, Montana’s multi-stage licensing process is still at work.

Learner’s License

At age 16, teens can apply for a Traffic Education Learner’s License (TELL) in the state of Montana. Teenagers may obtain a learner’s license as early as age 14½ years old, but only if they are in a state-approved traffic education program.

To do so, both teen and parent must visit their local driver exam office with proof of identity, proof of Montana residency and proof of authorized presence in the U.S.  Teens must pass a written driver’s knowledge test and pass the medical requirements, then they’ll receive a learner’s license.

With a learner’s license, teens may only drive with a licensed driver age 18 or older supervising and sitting in the front seat. Teens are required to practice driving for at least 50 hours, including 10 hours at night, with a parent or a legal guardian, before they’re allowed a first-year restricted license.

When your teen has held a learner’s license for at least 6 consecutive months and completed 50 hours of practice driving, the teen can apply for a first-year restricted license at a driver exam station. Your teen also must complete a Graduated Driver Licensing Parent/Legal Guardian Certification form and pay associated fees.

Restricted License

A teen with a first-year restricted license is allowed to drive alone, but must follow certain restrictions. The teen may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (Some exceptions are granted.) For the first six months, unless an adult with a valid license is seated next to them in the vehicle, restricted license holders are prohibited from driving with more than one non-family member passenger under age 18. For the second six months, unless supervised by an adult with a valid license, the teen may have three unrelated passengers under age 18 in the vehicle. Teen drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts.

Full License

Teens are eligible for a full unrestricted license if they have held a first-year restricted license for one year and passed Montana’s approved Traffic Education Program. Without driver education, teens can get an unrestricted license at age 18. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.

parent-teen driving agreement can help you enforce the 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 Montana Motor Vehicle Division is in charge of licensing for all drivers in Montana.

  • Your teen should expect to present a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance.
  • Explain to your teen that it is important to always cooperate and be respectful when speaking with law enforcement.
  • Make sure your teen understands the importance of talking to you about any encounters with law enforcement, because it can create a learning experience.

If your teen breaks a law, gets a ticket or is involved in a crash, it could lead to a court appearance and the following consequences.

  • Fines
  • Suspended driving privileges
  • Points
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Court costs
  • Insurance premium increases