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  • Acts
  • 1998
  • Chapter 220 AN ACT FURTHER REGULATING JUNIOR OPERATORS' LICENSES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Section 8 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 4 and 5, the words "but before such a license is granted" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- 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.

SECTION 2. Said section 8 of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "it", in line 8, the following words:- and, if applicable, has surrendered his junior operator's license or operator's license issued by another state.

SECTION 3. Said section 8 of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the second paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following four paragraphs:-

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 a certified statement from a parent or guardian or designee over the age of 21 that the applicant has completed not less than 12 hours of supervised driving in addition to the requirements of said driver education and training course;

(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 six 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 such vehicle unless also accompanied by an operator, duly licensed by his state of residence, who is 21 years of age or over, who has had at least one year of driving experience and who is occupying a seat beside the driver and any such junior operator who violates the passenger restriction provided herein shall have such junior operator's license suspended for a period of 30 days for a first offense, for a period of 60 days for a second offense and for a period of 90 days for a third or subsequent offense; provided, however, that such suspension shall be imposed in addition to any other penalty, fine, suspension, revocation or requirement that may be imposed for such violation. The six-month passenger restriction provided herein shall be tolled during any suspension or revocation of a person's junior operator's license.

No person holding a junior operator's license shall operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 12:00 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 such license in his possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and any such operator who violates the time restriction provided herein shall be deemed to be operating a motor vehicle without being duly licensed under this chapter; provided, however, that for such operation between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. and between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., the provisions of this paragraph shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when a junior operator of a motor vehicle has been lawfully stopped for a violation of the motor vehicle laws or some other offense.

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

SECTION 4. Section 8B of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 12, the word "eighteen" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 21.

SECTION 5. Said section 8B of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 38, the word "one" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 12.

SECTION 6. Section 20 of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "registrar", in line 73, the following words:- ; provided, however, that a holder of a junior operator's license who is convicted of a violation under section 17, 17A or 17B, or under a special regulation under section 18 shall, in addition to any other penalty, fine, suspension, revocation or requirement that may be imposed for such violation, have such license suspended for a period of 180 days for a second offense and for a period of one year for a third or subsequent offense.

SECTION 7. Said chapter 90 is hereby further amended by striking out section 24P, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 24P. (a) Upon evidence that a person under the age of 21, after having been arrested for or charged with a violation under section 24, 24G or 24L, had a blood alcohol percentage of two one-hundredths or greater or upon evidence that such person refused to submit to a chemical test or analysis of his breath or blood under section 24, notwithstanding the finding upon any such charge, such person shall have his license or permit to operate a motor vehicle suspended by the registrar for a period of 180 days; provided, however, that any such person who is less than 18 years of age at the time of such violation shall have his license suspended by the registrar for one year. Such suspension by the registrar shall be imposed in addition to any penalty, license suspension or revocation imposed upon such person by the court as required by said section 24, 24G or 24L.

If a person has not been previously arrested for or charged with a violation under said section 24, 24G or 24L, such person shall, if he consents, be assigned to a program specifically designed by the department of public health for the treatment of underage drinking drivers; provided, however, that such assignment shall not be precluded by a finding or disposition upon a charge against such person under said section 24, 24G or 24L. Upon entry into such program, as authorized by this section or as otherwise required under any disposition pursuant to section 24D, the suspension of a license or permit to operate as required by this section shall be waived by the registrar for a person under 21 years of age but over 18 years of age; provided, however, that such suspension shall be for a period of 180 days for such person who was under the age of 18 at the time of such violation. Upon the failure of a person under the age of 21 to successfully complete such program, the registrar shall forthwith suspend such license or permit to operate for 180 days; provided, however, that upon such failure to successfully complete such program by a person who was under the age of 18 at the time of such violation, the registrar shall forthwith suspend the license or permit to operate for one year.

(b) The license or permit to operate of a person convicted of any violation under section 24, 24G, 24I or 24L who was under the age o 18 at the time of such violation and whose license or permit to operate was not suspended under subsection (a) for such violation shall have such license or permit suspended for a period of 180 days for a first offense and for a period of one year for a second or subsequent offense.

SECTION 8. Section 34A of chapter 138 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 19, the word "ninety" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- 180.

SECTION 9. There is hereby established a special commission to consist of two members of the senate, three members of the house of representatives, the registrar of motor vehicles or his designee and two persons to be appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Professional Driving Schools and one of whom shall be a representative of the American Automobile Association for the purpose of making an investigation and study relative to the effectiveness of driver education programs certified by the department of education for public schools and driver education programs provided by private driving schools. Such investigation and study shall include, but not be limited to, the development of procedures to evaluate schools, an evaluation of training programs for instructors and the feasibility of providing an electronic data communication between driving schools and the registrar for the purpose of facilitating the efficient transfer of information as required under chapter 90 of the General Laws and rules and regulations established thereunder relative to the operation and certification of driving schools and of the certification of persons completing the program requirements of such driving schools.

Such commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerk of the house of representatives on or before the first Wednesday in December, 1999.

SECTION 10. The provisions of clauses (a) and (c) of the second paragraph of section 8 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in section 3 of this act, shall apply only to persons who apply for a junior operator's license under the provisions of said section 8 of said chapter 90 on or after the effective date of this act. The provisions of sections 6 and 7 shall apply only to violations committed on or after the effective date of this act. Notwithstanding the provisions of said clauses (a) and (c) of said second paragraph of said section 8 of said chapter 90 or any other general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, a license issued under the provisions of said section 8 of said chapter 90 or under a similar law of another state before the effective date of this act shall continue in force and be subject to the remaining provisions of this act and any other general or special law, or rule or regulation.

Approved August 6, 1998.