Montana Online Driver Education and Montana Licensing Procedures
So you've taken your first step towards becoming a new driver in Montana? Congratulations!
As you probably already know, driving is a valuable skill, but can also be extremely dangerous. Therefore, to help new teen drivers develop safe driving habits during their first few years behind the wheel, the State of Montana has implemented a graduated driver license program for Iowa drivers who are under the age of 18.
We’ve summarized a few things you’ll need to know as you begin the process of becoming a licensed driver in Montana.
Montana Traffic Education Learners License (T.E.L.L.)
When you are 14 years and 6 months old, you are eligible to apply for a Montana T.E.L.L. so long as you are enrolled in a state-approved drivers education program. The T.E.L.L. fee is $35.50. This special license allows you to drive so long as you have your parent/guardian (who must be licensed to drive) sitting next to you in the front passenger seat, actively supervising your driving.
Montana Instruction Permit (aka--Learners Permit)
You will be eligible to apply for an instruction permit when you turn 15, provided you meet the following requirements:
- Completed a state-approved drivers education program
- Have your parents'/guardians' permission
When you are ready to get your instruction permit, head down to the local driver's license office with the following:
- Written parental consent
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Montana residency
- Proof of authorized presence
- Money for the license fee
For a complete list of paperwork/documents you are required to bring, please visit the Montana Dept. of Transportation (DOT) website.
After you receive your instruction permit, you may begin to practice driving but there are some restrictions you will have to follow:
- If you are 15, you must drive with your parent/guardian (who must be a licensed driver) or a certified driving instructor sitting next to you in the front passenger seat, actively supervising your driving.
- After you turn 16, the supervisor may be any licensed driver who is at least 21 years old
- All passengers must wear seat belts
The Montana First-Year Restricted License
To become eligible for a first-year restricted license, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have held your instruction permit for at least six (6) months and kept a clean driving record during that time
- Completed at least 50 hours of supervising driving (10 of which must be at night). Keep a driving practice log.
When you're ready to "go for it", head back down to the local driver's license office with your instruction permit along with the same documents you took when you applied for your instruction permit, including a completed Graduated Driver Licensing Parent/Legal Guardian Certification from (a copy is available on the Montana DOT website), plus some money for the license processing fee.
In order to receive your first-year restricted license, you will need to pass a road test. After you receive your first-year restricted license, a few restrictions will still apply:
- For the first 6 months, you may only carry 1 passenger unless you are supervised by a licensed driver who's 21 or older.
- For the second 6 months, you may only carry 3 passengers unless you are supervised by a licensed driver who's 21 or older.
- All passengers must wear seat belts
- You may not drive between the hours of 11pm and 5am unless it's related to school, church, or farm-related activities
Please adhere to these restrictions! Failure to do so will result in 20-60 hours of community service upon the 1st violation and a 6-month license suspension upon your 2nd violation.
Once the date on the back of your first-year restricted license has passed, you will earn your full, unrestricted driver's license (provided you have kept a clean driving record).
Montana Auto Insurance & Financial Responsibility Laws
State law requires that you have at least a certain amount of auto insurance/liability coverage on any vehicle you drive. The minimum amount of liability coverage required in Montana is as follows:
- $25,000--personal injury (1 person) per accident
- $50,000--personal injury (2 or more persons) per accident
- $10,000--property damage
Driving without auto insurance/liability coverage is a crime. If you are found to be driving while uninsured, you risk losing your license and paying a hefty fine. Upon the 2nd offense, you may spend time in jail.
Montana Drunk Driving Laws
Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Montana--and this law is strictly enforced.
Upon your FIRST conviction of a Montana DUI, you will face the following penalties:
- 2 days to 6 months in jail (or 12 months if carrying a passenger under 16 years of age in the vehicle)
- A fine ranging from $300 to $1,000 (or $600 to $2,000 if carrying a passenger under 16 years of age in the vehicle)
- 6-month suspension of your license
- Installation of ignition interlock device on your vehicle
- Chemical Dependency Education Course or Treatment
Further DUI violations will result in even more severe penalties, including extended time in prison, fines, and the revocation of your driver's license.
Montana Cell Phone & Text-Messaging Laws
There are currently no laws in Montana which prohibit the use of cell phones while driving.
Montana Drivers Education
Teen-aged drivers in Montana are required to complete a state-approved drivers education program. You can get more information including a list of approved drivers ed programs by visiting the Montana DOT website.