Montana Department of Transportation

Teen Drivers: Driving is a Privilege

A privilege, not a right

It's a common misconception that everyone has a right to drive. In reality, operating a motor vehicle is a serious responsibility; it's a privilege not a right. Everyone who drives by the rules keeps the privilege. Those who don't can lose their license.

You & your parents

Becoming a safe, experienced driver, takes time and practice. Teen drivers need parental involvement and guidance to keep them safe.

Expect your parents to be concerned and involved—they know the risks young driver's face, and they care.

Plan to Live


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Plan to live. Help us spread the word to Buckle Up Every Trip, Every Time!

Avoid these violations

Download the Montana GDL Violation Codes

Decide to be safe

Before you enroll in a driver's education course in your school, decide to become a safe driver, then make the most of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program.

Graduated Driver Licensing

Montana's GDL law ( MCA 61.5.132-135) is a three-step program that reduces the risk while new drivers under age 18 develop and improve their driving skills. Teens still get to drive—with supervision—and gradually gain experience to begin driving on their own, but with restrictions on night driving and passengers.

Young drivers face the highest crash risk in darkness and each teen passenger doubles the crash risk. Safety research is clear that newly licensed drivers should start driving with no young passengers. Learning to drive is a complex, ongoing process that requires responsibility and thousands of miles of practice to develop competence, skill, and judgment. Just like with sports and music, good habits and abilities grow through experience and good coaching.

When teens have their full privilege license, parents should continue to drive with their teen, monitor, model, and enforce the rules, and encourage safe driving habits.

61-5-132. First year restrictions...
Driver's Manual
Graduated Driver License (GDL)
Teen Driver Tip Sheet
Traffic Education Program

Buckle up—for life

You're already in the habit of buckling up, right? As you begin driving, make sure it's the first thing you do whenever you get in a vehicle. When you're the driver, make sure everyone is buckled before you start out.

Montana law requires seatbelt use. Montana law also places the burden on the driver to ensure that each occupant is wearing a properly adjusted and fastened seatbelt or is properly restrained in a child safety restraint. (Source: Montana Code Annotated 61-13-103)

If friends won't buckle, they can walk.