RMV Files Sweeping Driver's Education Regulations

Standardized Curriculum Called For by September 2007

The Registry of Motor Vehicles today held a public hearing on new regulations to tighten the oversight of driver education programs.

"These regulations implement the new Junior Operator License law and provide a comprehensive approach to improving teen safety through education and enforcement," said the Registrar of Motor Vehicles Anne L. Collins.

The new standardized driver education program will better prepare students with the knowledge and practical skills to be responsible drivers. Implementation of the program will be mandatory effective September 1, 2007. Following are some of the driver education program highlights:

Standardized Driver Education Curriculum, Approved by RMV: Required subjects include timely topics such as managing road rage, consequences of poor decision-making, and the dangers of distracted driving.

Behind the Wheel Training: Required 12 hour behind-the-wheel driver education training (up from 6 hours) and required 40 hours of parent-supervised driving (up from 12 hours).

Parent Curriculum: Required two-hour parent/guardian class on the driving skills and rules their children should be learning and practicing throughout the driver education experience.

Final Examination: Required final exam reflecting understanding of the topics covered in the driver's education program.

In addition to standardizing the Driver Education Program, the regulations and the Junior Operator Law provide oversight of the industry by granting the RMV licensure and enforcement powers. Highlights include:

  • All driver education schools, including public and private high schools programs, must be licensed by the RMV.
  • All driver education schools must post a bond enabling them to reimburse students' tuition if the program closes or is suspended prior to students' completion.
  • The Registrar may impose civil administrative penalties for failure to comply with the law or regulations.
  • All instructional vehicles must be equipped with driver's side air bags.

In 2005, 3135 drivers ages 16-18 were involved in crashes on Massachusetts Roadways.

Consumers can view the regulations and new curriculum under the Junior Operator License section of the RMV web site.

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