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General Laws

Section 32G. No person, and no public high school, vocational school, municipal or regional school committee or private high school teaching driver education to students enrolled in its academic school program or in a school under its authority or as a continuing education program, shall engage in the business of giving instruction for hire in the operation of motor vehicles without being licensed for that purpose and designated by the registrar as a licensed private driver school, which shall include any form of instruction for compensation, for each class of driver’s license recognized under law. Every person giving instruction for hire shall maintain an office as prescribed by the registrar, and a separate license shall be secured for each such place of business. Application for a license under this section may be filed with the registrar and shall contain such information as he shall prescribe. Each such application shall be accompanied by an application fee, which in no event shall be refunded. If an application is approved by the registrar, the applicant upon payment of an additional fee for a main office and for a branch office shall be granted a license, which shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of its issuance. There shall be an annual fee for each renewal thereof for a main office and for a branch office. Application, license, and renewal fees shall be determined annually by the commissioner of administration under the provision of section three B of chapter seven. The registrar shall issue a license certificate to each licensee, which certificate shall be conspicuously displayed in the place of business of the licensee. In case of the loss, mutilation, or destruction of a license certificate, the registrar shall issue a duplicate certificate upon a proper proof thereof and the payment of a fee to be determined also under the aforementioned chapter seven provision. Every motor vehicle or semitrailer unit used exclusively in or upon any private area and which is operated by a student driver shall comply with standards for safety, performance and equipment established under section seven. Such vehicles or units shall be available for inspection by the registrar or his representative during reasonable business hours.

A public high school, vocational school or municipal or regional school committee that previously provided a driver education instruction program pursuant to section 13D of chapter 71 or that wishes to establish a driver education program pursuant to this section shall be licensed and only driving instructors certified by the registrar may provide driver education instruction. A public high school teacher or a vocational school teacher, so certified, shall be exempt from the initial certification fee and each renewal fee, as long as the teacher remains employed by the public high school, vocational school or municipal or regional school committee and provided that the instructor only provides driver education pursuant to his employment as a high school teacher. For the purposes of this section, a private high school that provides driver education instruction to its own students through the school’s own academic teachers shall be subject to the same requirements as if the driver education instruction were provided by a public high school, vocational school or municipal or regional school committee, and a private academic teacher providing driver education instruction for a private high school shall be subject to the same requirements as a high school teacher providing driver education instruction on behalf of a public high school, vocational school or municipal or regional school committee, but a driver education instructor in a private high school shall not be exempt from the initial certification fee or any renewal fee for the certificate.

No license shall be issued to a person to conduct a driver school as an individual unless he shall have been the holder of an instructor’s certificate issued by the registrar under this section for at least two years, nor shall such a license be issued to a partnership unless at least one of the partners shall have held such a certificate for at least two years, nor to a corporation unless at least one of the directors shall have held a certificate for at least two years. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any person, partnership or corporation to whom a license to conduct a driver school had been issued prior to November third, nineteen hundred and fifty-seven, and which license has not been suspended or revoked.

No license shall be issued or renewed for conducting a driver school in a city having a population of fifty thousand or more, if the place of business of such school or branch thereof is within fifteen hundred feet of a building owned, leased or used by the registry of motor vehicles for the examination of applicants for operators’ licenses or for the issuance of operators’ licenses to the public, but the registrar may waive this provision. The said distance of fifteen hundred feet shall be measured along the public streets by the nearest route from such place of business, or branch thereof, to such building.

The registrar may deny the application of any person for a license, if, in his discretion, he determines that—

(a) Such applicant has made a material false statement or concealed a material fact in connection with his application.

(b) Such applicant, any officer, director, stockholder or partner, or any other person directly or indirectly interested in the business was the former holder, or was an officer, director, stockholder or partner, in a corporation or partnership which was the former holder of a driver school license which was revoked or suspended by the registrar.

(c) Such applicant or any officer, director, stockholder, partner, employee, or any other person directly or indirectly interested in the business, has been convicted of a felony, or of any crime involving violence, dishonesty, deceit, indecency, degeneracy or moral turpitude.

(d) Such applicant has failed to furnish satisfactory evidence of good character, reputation and fitness.

(e) Such applicant is not the true owner of the driver school.

The registrar may suspend or revoke a license or refuse to issue a renewal thereof or impose a civil administrative penalty for any of the following causes:—(a) the conviction of the licensee or any partner, officer, agent or employee of such licensee, of a felony, or of any crime involving violence, dishonesty, deceit, indecency, degeneracy or moral turpitude; (b) where the licensee has made a material false statement or concealed a material fact in connection with his application for the license or a renewal thereof; (c) where the licensee has failed to comply with any of the provisions of this section or any of the rules and regulations of the registrar made pursuant thereto; (d) where the licensee or any partner, officer, agent or employee of such licensee has been guilty of fraud or fraudulent practices in relation to the business conducted under the license, or guilty of inducing another to resort to fraud or fraudulent practices in relation to securing for himself or another a license to drive a motor vehicle; (e) for any other good cause. The term “fraudulent practices” as used in this section shall include, but shall not be limited to, any conduct or representation on the part of the licensee, or any partner, officer, agent or employee of a licensee, tending to induce another or to give the impression that a license to operate a motor vehicle, or any other license, registration or service granted by the registrar may be obtained by any means other than those prescribed by law, or furnishing or obtaining the same by illegal or improper means, or requesting, accepting, exacting or collecting money for such purpose.

Notwithstanding the renewal of a license, the registrar may revoke or suspend a license for causes and violations, as prescribed by this section. The registrar shall establish by regulation the terms and conditions under which a driver education program may operate. The registrar shall require each program to post a bond to ensure that enrolled students shall have their tuition reimbursed if the program is closed for a license suspension or revocation or any other reason prior to the students’ completion of a paid course of study. The registrar may, after an opportunity for a hearing, impose civil administrative penalties not to exceed $5,000 for the failure of a program to comply with the law or regulations governing driver education programs.

Except where a refusal to issue a license or renewal, or revocation or suspension, is based solely on a court conviction or convictions, a licensee or applicant shall have an opportunity to be heard, such hearing to be held at such time and place as the registrar shall prescribe.

A licensee or applicant entitled to a hearing shall be given due notice thereof. The sending of a notice of a hearing by mail to the last known address of a licensee or applicant ten days prior to the date of the hearing shall be deemed due notice.

The registrar shall prescribe such reasonable rules and regulations as he may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this section; provided, however, that as a condition of granting or renewing a license pursuant to this section he shall require that alcohol education be included in the licensee’s course of instruction.

Every licensee shall keep such records as the registrar may by regulation require. The records of the licensee shall be open to the inspection of the registrar or his representatives at all times during reasonable business hours.

No person shall be employed by a licensee or by a public high school, vocational school or municipal or regional school committee, or by a private high school as a driving instructor, nor shall any person give instructions for hire in the operation of motor vehicles unless such person is duly licensed by his state of residence and has a valid instructor’s certificate issued by the registrar. Such certificate shall be issued only to persons of good reputation and moral character.

The registrar may deny the application of a person for a certificate as a driving instructor if, in his discretion, he determines that the applicant:

(a) has made a material false statement or concealed a material fact in connection with his application;

(b) is the former holder of driver school instructor certificate which was revoked or suspended by the registrar;

(c) has been convicted of a felony or of a crime involving violence, dishonesty, deceit, indecency or moral turpitude; or

(d) has failed to furnish satisfactory evidence of good character, reputation and fitness.

No public high school, vocational school, municipal or regional school committee or private high school shall continue to employ a driver school or a driving instructor in a driver education program, if the license of the driver education program or the certificate of the instructor has been suspended, revoked or not renewed by the registrar.

The registrar may suspend or revoke an instructor’s certificate for any of the following causes:—(1) expiration, suspension or revocation of the operator’s license of such instructor; (2) such instructor has failed to comply with the rules and regulations prescribed by the registrar; (3) conviction of such instructor of a felony or any crime involving violence, dishonesty, deceit, indecency, degeneracy or moral turpitude; (4) such instructor has been guilty of fraud or fraudulent practices; and (5) for any other good cause. Except where a refusal to issue or renew the certificate of a driving instructor or a revocation or suspension of the certificate is based solely on a court conviction, a driving instructor or applicant shall be entitled to a hearing upon his written request. The hearing shall be held at such time and place as the registrar shall prescribe and due notice of the hearing shall be sent to the driving instructor or applicant at his last known address at least 10 days before the hearing date.

No licensee shall knowingly employ, in connection with a driver school in any capacity whatsoever, any person who has been convicted of a felony, or of any crime involving violence, dishonesty, deceit, indecency, degeneracy or moral turpitude.

A licensee, a public high school, vocational school, municipal or regional school committee and private high school shall only use a vehicle for road instruction that is equipped with a functional safety belt for each occupant and an air bag for the driver. The student driver and each occupant of the vehicle shall wear the safety belt in a properly secured manner whenever the vehicle is in motion.

The licensee shall include in the course of instruction a motorcycle awareness program module, as approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, to ensure that new operators of motor vehicles have some knowledge and awareness of motorcycles on roadways for the safety of motorcyclists. Two dollars from each motorcycle registration fee paid under section 34 shall fund the cost of the required materials for the motorcycle awareness program module required by this section.

The registrar shall establish, by regulation, a driver education curriculum to be used by all persons and entities licensed under this section and shall have exclusive authority over the licensing and disciplining of those persons and entities required to be licensed under this section. The registrar shall establish and administer a standardized written test to students in licensed driver education programs. The test shall be administered at registry branch offices or as directed by the registrar after the completion of the classroom portion of the driver education course. The registrar may use the results of the tests to measure the degree of compliance with the curriculum in driver education instruction. The registrar may utilize the results of the tests to issue driver education certificates and to evaluate the quality of instruction received in the various licensed programs. The curriculum shall include a requirement that schools licensed under this section have the ability to communicate with the registry of motor vehicles by electronic mail to send and receive official records and other communications as the registrar may require. The registrar shall suspend, revoke or otherwise discipline a school or an instructor licensed or certified under this section who fails to comply with the rules and regulations promulgated by the registrar. The registrar shall inspect the programs for compliance and require licensed schools and certified instructors to provide such information, documents and records as the registrar deems necessary to enforce the regulations. The registrar may make such rules and regulations as he deems necessary to ensure compliance with this section.

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