Massachusetts Junior Operator Law License Restrictions

Any motor vehicle operator or motorcyclist between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18 is considered a Junior Operator. The Junior Operator Law has several requirements and restrictions that significantly affect the operation of a motor vehicle by a person who has a Junior Operator’s License (JOL). The basic purpose of the law is to provide new drivers supervised opportunities in which to develop good driving skills, while keeping those drivers free of the possible distractions caused by friends under age 18 who are present while the drivers are behind the wheel.

Following, from the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Manual, we offer Massachusetts Junior Operator License Restrictions:

  • You may not operate a motor vehicle within the first six months after receiving your JOL while any person under age 18 is in the vehicle (other than you or an immediate family member), unless you are accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, has at least one year of driving experience, holds a valid driver’s license form Massachusetts or another state and is occupying a seat beside you.

General Rule: The passenger restriction that applies to the Junior Operator (Under age 18) is lifted once the Junior Operator completes the six-month period or you reach age 18, whichever occurs first.

The six-month passenger restriction period will stop running, temporarily, during any suspension. When your JOL is reinstated, you will still have to complete the remainder of the six-month restriction period that existed at the beginning of the suspension period, unless you have already turned 18.

  • As the holder of a Junior Operator License (JOL), you may not operate a motor vehicle between 12:30 a.m and 5:00 a.m. unless you are accompanied by one of your parents or your legal guardian. If you are found operating a motor vehicle in violation of this restriction, you may be charged with operating a motor vehicle without being licensed. This is a criminal violation.
  • If you violate the passenger restriction or the night restriction, you will be subject to a license suspension of 60 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and one year for subsequent offenses. For a second or subsequent offense, you will also be required to complete a Driver Attitudinal Retraining course. The law requires the Registrar to impose this suspension in addition to any other penalty, fine, suspension, revocation, or requirement that may be imposed in connection with a violation committed at the time you were violating the passenger or night restriction.
  • You may not operate a motor vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
  • You will be suspended for one year if you are under 18 when you have committed certain driving offenses and alcohol or drugs were involved (180 days if age 18 to 21), in addition to any penalty assessed by a court or other law.
  • You will be ineligible for a full license until you have completed the period of suspension imposed while operating with a JOL and you reach age 18.
  • You will face additional suspension periods of one year for a first drag racing offense and three years for a subsequent offense, you will be suspended for one year.

13 thoughts on “Massachusetts Junior Operator Law License Restrictions”

    1. Junior Operator Restriction

      Massachusetts law states that for the first six months with a license, new drivers under 18 may not drive a car with any passenger under 18 unless the new driver is accompanied by a person who is 21 who: … Holds a valid driver’s license.

  1. This law needs review in the times we are living in. Parents still need to work and more and more kids could be assisting neighbors and friends with transportation. Why is driver’s education, hours behind the wheel and passing both exams good enough everywhere else? Their 6 months is served on the permit. Seems like we are penalizing them twice. It is a time honored tradition to get that license and head out with friends.

  2. Am I the only one who thinks that parents should have to sign papers or something that proves that they are letting their child drive with someone on their JOL? I feel like it should be up to the guardians of the children.

  3. Can I drive non-immediate family if I am on my JOL from MA in florida? In other words, even thought I am in my JOL in MA, can I drive my cousin in florida?

    1. I don’t think so. JOL says you can drive immediate family members. You also have to be careful about the hours you’re driving (can’t drive between 12:30 am- 5:00 am).

    1. Hi. I don’t think his license will be suspended. If he’s licensed over 6 months, he’s over his junior operator restriction.

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