massachusetts driver information
Massachusetts is known for its historical landmarks, educational institutions, sports fanaticism, and, in some quarters, its traffic roundabouts. Keep reading to learn more about some of the state's key driving regulations.
Massachusetts driving stats
Number of licensed drivers: 4,630,000
Registered vehicles: 5,262,000
Average commuting time: 27.3 minutes (national average: 25.2 minutes)
Licensing and registration authority: Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)
Moving to Massachusetts
Once you make the move to Massachusetts, you'll need to register your car and apply for a drivers license as soon as possible. In order to register your car, you'll need to provide proof of insurance that meets the state-required coverage minimums.
The RMV-1 form is the official application for registration and title.
Drivers in the military
Your Massachusetts license remains valid during active duty and for 60 days after your return. If you're stationed in Massachusetts, you can legally drive so long as you have a valid license from your home state.
Stolen cars in Massachusetts
A recent study from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) revealed the most commonly stolen vehicles in Massachusetts:
- 1998 Honda Civic
- 1994 Honda Accord
- 1999 Toyota Camry
- 2010 Toyota Corolla
- 1995 Acura Integra
- 2000 Dodge Caravan
- 2004 Ford Pickup (full size)
- 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2005 Nissan Altima
- 2000 Nissan Maxima
Where cars are stolen the most
Unsurprisingly, given its size and population, the greater Boston area reported the majority of stolen cars in 2011 with 6,926 thefts according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. In spite of the high number of stolen cars, it had the 195th-highest theft rate in the nation.
Bonus insurance note: Comprehensive coverage offers financial protection in the event your car's stolen.
Your Massachusetts driving record
The state tracks its drivers through official driving records. These contain incidents like at-fault accidents, moving violations, and other driving-related offenses.
A Massachusetts driver may face a license suspension if a driving record reveals:
- 3 speeding tickets in a 12-month period
- Either 5 surchargeable events (violations or at-fault accidents) within a 3-year period or 3 surchargeable events within a 2-year period
- 7 surchargeable events within a 3-year period
In some cases, out-of-state violations and accidents will appear on a driving record.
Reporting a car accident
It's always a good idea to call police to the scene of a car accident, but Massachusetts requires you to do so if the accident caused an injury or $1,000 or more in damage.
Accident reports should be filed with the police and RMV within 5 days. If an officer doesn't arrive at the scene of the crash, you can get the proper forms from your local police station or the RMV.
Habitual Traffic Offenders
A Massachusetts driver is considered a Habitual Traffic Offender after 3 major moving violations (like OUIs) or 12 major and minor violations within a 5-year period.
Drivers who are deemed Habitual Traffic Offenders face a 4-year license suspension.
Cell phones and texting
Texting while driving is illegal for all motorists. And if you're under 18, you can't use your cell phone while driving (except for emergency calls).
If you're over 18, you may use your cell phone as long as it doesn't interfere with driving and one hand remains on the wheel at all times.
Find out why texting and driving is so dangerous.
Penalties for operating under the influence (OUI)
A first-time OUI conviction (driving with a BAC of .08 or above or under the influence of an illegal drug) is penalized by fines of up to $700, possible jail time of up to 2½ years, and a one-year license suspension. Penalties for a second OUI conviction can include fines of up to $10,000, additional jail time, and a 2-year license suspension.
Young drivers in Massachusetts
Teens will need to go through the graduated licensing program to get their first drivers licenses.
Minimum age for a learners permit: 16 years old
- To get a permit, you'll need to pass a learners permit exam and a vision exam
Minimum age for a junior operator license: 16½ years old
- To get a junior operator license:
- hold your permit for at least 6 months
- complete a 30-hour state-approved drivers education course, 12 hours behind-the-wheel training, and 6 hours in-car observing
- spend at least 40 hours driving with a parent or guardian (30 if you pass a driver skills development program)
- Pass the road test and the final written exam
- All age restrictions lifted at 18 years old
Our guide to car insurance in Massachusetts
Learn about your state's insurance requirements and regulations.
Winter driving tips
Brush up on your seasonal road skills with our winter safety advice.