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General Laws

  Section 8. Application for a license to operate motor vehicles may be made by any person except a person who has been licensed and whose license is not in force because of revocation or suspension or whose right to operate is suspended by the registrar; provided, however, that no such license shall be issued to a person whose junior operator's license has been suspended or revoked or whose right to operate has been suspended while so operating under a junior operator's license until the full term of such suspension or revocation has been served without regard to the age of such person. Before a license is granted pursuant to this section, the applicant shall pass such examination as to his qualifications as the registrar, without discriminating as to age, shall require; and no license shall be issued until the registrar or his authorized agent is satisfied that the applicant is a proper person to receive it and, if applicable, has surrendered his junior operator's license or operator's license issued by another state; and, except as hereinafter provided, no such license shall be issued to any person under eighteen years of age. Each applicant shall submit with his application a birth, baptismal or school certificate or such other satisfactory evidence of his age as the registrar may require. If the registrar has reasonable cause to suspect that any document presented by an applicant as proof of identity or age is altered, false or otherwise invalid, the registrar shall refuse to grant the license until the registrar is satisfied as to the applicant's true identity or age. Each applicant shall state his military status in such application, and the registrar shall record such status in the central computer system of the registry. Each applicant shall be asked in writing whether he wishes to become an organ or tissue donor in such license application or renewal thereof, including any online renewal.

  A junior operator's license may, under the rules and regulations established by the registrar, be issued to a minor under 18 years of age who has:

  (a) held a valid learner's permit issued pursuant to section 8B or a similar law of another state for a period of not less than six months immediately preceding the date of application for a junior operator's license under this section and, during such period, has maintained a driving record free of any surchargeable incidents, as described in section 113B of chapter 175 or a similar law of another state and has not had such permit suspended under section 24P or a similar law of another state and has not been convicted of violating any alcohol-related or drug-related law of the commonwealth or a similar alcohol-related or drug-related law of any other state. For the purposes of this section, an alternative disposition of a violation including, but not limited to, having such violation continued without a finding or placed on file shall be deemed to be a conviction. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any penalty, fine, suspension, revocation or requirement that may be imposed under any other law of the commonwealth;

  (b) attained the age of 16 and one-half years;

  (c) successfully completed a driver education and training course approved by the registrar and presented, in such form as the registrar may require, a certified statement from a parent or guardian, or designee 21 years of age or older if the applicant is an emancipated minor, that in addition to the requirements of the driver education and training course the applicant has completed not less than 40 hours of supervised driving, or 30 hours of supervised driving if the applicant has successfully completed a driver skills development program in a closed, off-road course, as licensed by the registrar pursuant to section 32G1/2. The registrar shall determine the appropriate method to enforce compliance with the supervised driving requirements provided in this clause. The driver education and training course shall consist of not less than 30 hours of classroom instruction. The driver education and training course shall also consist of not less than 18 hours of on-road instruction conducted by a certified driver education instructor in a motor vehicle. A student shall have not less than 6 hours of observing another student driver and not less than 12 hours of operating a motor vehicle, but no student shall have more than 1 on-road session per day and no session shall be for more than 2 hours in length. The applicant's parent or guardian, or designee where applicable, shall participate in not less than 2 hours of instruction on the content of driver education curriculum. The registrar shall promulgate regulations to establish the appropriate method of providing the instruction and to enforce compliance. The regulations shall exempt a parent or guardian, or designee where appropriate, from receiving the instruction if he has participated within the preceding 5 years.

  (d) successfully completed such examination and driving test as the registrar may require; and

  (e) submitted an application on a form furnished by the registrar, signed by both the applicant and a parent or guardian, along with the fee provided in section 33.

  No person holding a junior operator's license shall operate a motor vehicle during the first 6 months of licensure while a person under 18 years of age, other than the operator or an immediate family member of the operator, is present in the vehicle unless also accompanied by another person, duly licensed by his state of residence, who is at least 21 years of age with at least 1 year of driving experience and who is occupying a seat beside the driver. A junior operator who violates this paragraph shall have his license suspended for 60 days for a first offense, for 180 days for a second offense and for 1 year for a third or subsequent offense. The suspension shall be imposed in addition to any other penalty, fine, suspension, revocation or requirement that may be imposed for such violation. A junior operator whose license is suspended for a second or subsequent violation of this paragraph shall not be eligible for license reinstatement until he also completes a program selected by the registrar that encourages attitudinal changes in young drivers who have committed a violation of the motor vehicle laws. The passenger restriction provided in this paragraph shall be tolled during any suspension or revocation of a person's junior operator's license. The registrar may exempt a junior operator from the passenger restriction if the junior operator is an emancipated minor.

  A minor under 18 years of age may be issued a motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement if the minor: (i) meets the requirements for a junior operator's license set forth in clauses (a) to (e), inclusive; and (ii) successfully completes a motorcycle basic rider course approved by the registrar and presents proof of such completion in such form as the registrar may require.

  No person holding a junior operator's license shall operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The holder of a junior operator's license shall have the license in his possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle. A junior operator who violates the time restriction provided in this paragraph shall be deemed to be operating a motor vehicle without being duly licensed under this chapter. In addition to the penalty provided in section 10, the license of a junior operator deemed to be operating a motor vehicle without being duly licensed shall be suspended for 60 days for a first offense, for 180 days for a second offense and for 1 year for a third or subsequent offense; provided, however, that for such operation between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. and between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., this paragraph shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when a junior operator has been lawfully stopped for a violation of the motor vehicles laws or for some other offense. A junior operator whose license is suspended for a second or subsequent violation of this paragraph shall not be eligible for license reinstatement until he also completes a program selected by the registrar that encourages attitudinal changes in young drivers who have committed a violation of the motor vehicle laws. The registrar may exempt a junior operator from the time restriction if the junior operator is an emancipated minor.

  No person holding a junior operator's license shall operate a vehicle requiring a commercial driver's license issued under chapter 90F.

  The registrar may exempt a person licensed under the provisions of the preceding paragraph regarding time of operation if such person is a fire fighter as defined in section seven of chapter four while such person is in the act of responding to or returning from a request for initial or mutual aid assistance from a fire department or any related matter or if the person is an emergency medical technician certified under the provisions of section six of chapter one hundred and eleven C while such person is in the act of responding to or returning from a request for medical assistance or any related matter. No such exemption shall be given until application has been made to the registrar accompanied by the approval of the chief of the fire department or head of the emergency medical services agency, the approval of the chief of police of the city or town wherein such services are to be performed and the approval of the parents or legal guardian of such person. Upon receipt of such application and approvals, the registrar shall issue a written exemption to said licensee which shall contain no additional terms or conditions and which shall be valid upon receipt. Upon termination of such licensee's services, the fire chief or agency head shall notify the registrar who shall forthwith revoke said exemption. Said exemption may be unilaterally revoked by any person whose approval was required. Said revocation shall be reported forthwith to the other approving parties and to the registrar with a written reason. Said revocation shall not be appealed. Said exemption may be reissued upon submission of a new application with required approvals.

  The registrar shall send notice of a suspension of a junior operator's license for a violation of this chapter to the junior operator, and to the junior operator's parent or guardian if the junior operator is not an emancipated minor. The registrar shall include in the notice of suspension of a junior operator's license for a first offense violation under section 17 or section 17A, or under a special regulation under section 18, information on the penalties for a second offense violation of said section 17, 17A or 18.

  If for any reason the registrar or his agents are unable to examine an applicant for a license promptly, the applicant may be issued a receipt for the fee paid, provided that the applicant shows that he is duly licensed in a state or country which state or country the registrar has finally determined prescribes and enforces standards of fitness for operators of motor vehicles substantially as high as those prescribed and enforced by this commonwealth. Said receipt shall be carried in lieu of the license, and for a period of sixty days from the date of its issue said receipt shall have the same force and effect given to the license by this chapter.

  To each licensee shall be assigned some distinguishing number or mark, and the licenses issued shall be in such form as the registrar shall determine. They may contain special restrictions and limitations. They shall contain a photograph of the licensee, the distinguishing number or mark assigned to the licensee, his name, his place of residence and address, a brief description of him for purposes of identification, and such other information as the registrar shall deem necessary.

[ Two paragraphs inserted following tenth paragraph by 2013, 38, Sec. 76 effective July 1, 2013. See 2013, 38, Sec. 219.]

  A license shall include the word "Veteran'' upon presentation of sufficient evidence, as determined by the registrar, that a person is a veteran as defined in clause Forty-third of section 7 of chapter 4. A fee for a license that includes the word "Veteran'' shall be equal to or less than the fee required for a license without such designation.

  Any fees associated with applying for an amended license for the purpose of obtaining a veteran's indicator shall be equal to or less than the fee required for a license without such designation and may be waived for any veteran over the age of 70.

  The photographs of licensees appearing on all operator's licenses shall be a straightforward looking view of the licensee without eyeglasses and with a distinctive license for persons under the age at which they can purchase alcoholic beverages as defined by section thirty-four of chapter one hundred and thirty-eight.

  A person to whom a license has been issued under this section shall not operate motor vehicles other than those for which such license has been made valid by the registrar. All operators of motor vehicles and trailers which are regarded as registered under a general distinguishing number or mark as provided in section five and motor vehicles and trailers owned and operated by the commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions shall be subject to the rules and regulations establishing classifications for operator's licenses. In absence of a registered gross weight for such vehicle or trailer, the gross vehicle weight rating as established by the original manufacturer of the chassis shall be used to determine the class of license required to operate the aforementioned motor vehicles and trailers.

  Every person licensed to operate motor vehicles as aforesaid shall endorse his name in full in a legible manner on the margin of the license, in the space provided for the purpose, immediately upon receipt of said license, and such license shall not be valid until so endorsed.

  Every person licensed to operate motor vehicles as aforesaid shall report to the registrar every change in his military status, and the registrar shall record such change in status in the central computer system of the registry.

  A license or any renewal thereof issued to an operator shall expire on an anniversary of the operator's date of birth occurring more than twelve months but not more than sixty months after the effective date of such license. The license issued to an operator born on February twenty-ninth shall, for the purpose of this section, expire on March first. An applicant for the renewal of a license 75 years of age or older shall apply for a renewal in person at a registry branch office.

  Applications for licenses shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the registrar. Every application for an original license filed under this section shall be sworn to by the applicant before a justice of the peace or notary public and, if the applicant is under age eighteen, be accompanied by the written consent, in such form as the registrar shall determine, of a parent or guardian or other person standing in the place of a parent of the applicant.

  An applicant for a license under this section shall be required to answer questions on the examination to determine the applicant's knowledge of the laws regarding operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, including the relevant sections of this chapter and chapter one hundred and thirty-eight. The registrar shall determine the nature and number of such questions.

  An applicant for a license or renewal thereof appearing in person at a registry branch shall take and pass a vision test administered by the registry; provided, however, that except as required by the registrar in regulations, instead of passing the vision test an applicant may provide a vision screening certificate, signed by an optometrist or opthalmologist to demonstrate compliance with minimum visual standards to obtain and hold license.

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