9 Steps to Obtaining Your License
Drivers License Quick Guide
- Choosing a Driving School
- Tri-Town Pre-Permit Tests
- Applying for a Learner’s Permit
- When to Enroll in a Driver Education Program
- Scheduling Your Behind-the-Wheel Training
- Driving with Parents
- Prepare for and Take the Road Test
- Get Behind the Wheel
- Understand Restrictions & Penalties
1. Choosing a Driving School
When it comes to choosing a driving school, the quality of education and services provided is what you’ll be paying for! Please keep in mind that all driving schools are not created equal.
At Tri-Town Driving School, we offer the most comprehensive driver training available in New England. All successful graduates of our program also receive a substantial discount on their automobile insurance — up to $1,100.
Important Questions to Ask
Be sure to choose a driver education provider as carefully as you want your child to drive!
- What type of training methods and materials are used during the classroom presentation? Ninety-five percent of schools are lecture- and video-based.
- What type of grading method or evaluation processes are used for the behind-the-wheel training portion of the program? Nearly all schools lack these elements.
- Does the school have a website and/or brochure that explains what they offer, including all program fees?
- How many instructional vehicles does the school own? This impacts how soon you can schedule driving lessons.
- When did the driving school receive its license to operate?
- Is the school bonded and insured? They should be bonded at $50,000 and also carry a $3-$5 million umbrella policy (95% of schools do not carry sufficient coverage).
2. Tri-Town Pre-Permit Tests
We know there are many others offering a similar service. However, the practice permit tests that you’ll find on the Internet are offered all over the country and do not provide preparation for the Massachusetts tests. Each state has a different set of laws with regard to operating an automobile as well as suspension periods, restrictions and fines.
Before applying for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Learner’s Permit Test, we recommend you study the Massachusetts Drivers Manual and complete our pre-permit tests. These tests allow you to practice and study via the convenience of the Internet. We’re the only local driving school offering this valuable service to our customers.
Purchase Up to 10 Pre-Permit Tests
You can purchase from 1 to 10 of our online pre-permit tests. Each test has 25 of the same types of questions you’ll find on the MassDOT test. And you get 25 minutes to finish, just like with the MassDOT test. (Remember: A common reason for failure is an inability to complete the MassDOT’s questions in time.)
We give you the flexibility to take the same test multiple times or to take up to 10 different tests. You’ll acquire the knowledge and confidence to increase your chances of passing the MassDOT test the first time. Plus, you’ll become a smarter, safer and more aware driver — today and for the rest of your life.
3. Applying for a Learner’s Permit
Please review the following information.
Taking the Test
- Massachusetts Learner’s Permit Tests are conducted daily.
- Plan on arriving at the MassDOT at least 1 hour before closing.
- The test consists of 25 random, computer-generated questions.
- You take the test at a touch-screen computer station.
- You must correctly answer at least 18 questions in 25 minutes to pass.
In addition to passing the MassDOT test ($30 per test), you must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Provide an original birth certificate and/or passport.
- Provide an original social security card.
- Fill out a learner’s permit application (ideally, before you’re waiting in line).
You may pay your license fee ($35 application fee and $50 fee for five-year photo license) before or after taking the Learner’s Permit Test. Assuming you pass the test, the advantages of prepay are:
- You won’t have to make another trip to the MassDOT.
- After taking and passing your road test, your permit will become a temporary license, and you’ll receive your plastic license in the mail in 7 to 10 days.
4. When to Enroll in a Driver Education Program
At Tri-Town Driving School, we recommend that you begin and complete the classroom portion before you take the Massachusetts Learner’s Permit Test. This will greatly increase your knowledge, which will help you pass the test on your first try.
This approach will also ensure you or your child have a greater understanding of the vehicle and the rules of the road before attempting to drive with a parent or guardian. Remember: Each student must also complete an additional 40 hours of practice driving with a parent or guardian before obtaining a Massachusetts driver’s license.
Enrolling in a driver education program has proven to have a positive effect on each step of the license process. It will also ensure your best chances of passing your road test on the first attempt and greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a crash!
Our Curriculum Will Teach Your Child to Think Critically on the Road
By the time your teen graduates from the classroom segment of our program, we suspect he/she will have plenty of driving information to teach YOU.
Our 30 hours of lively classroom instruction is designed for all learning styles — audio, visual and kinesthetic (hands-on). This comprehensive approach includes:
- Personal anecdotes that reinforce safety issues in a descriptive, memorable way.
- A customized PowerPoint presentation that allows students to observe driving techniques as they’re being discussed.
- High-quality videos that portray real-life driving situations and consequences.
- Computer-simulated driving scenarios that reinforce safety concepts.
- Quizzes and/or tests after each learning segment
5. Scheduling Your Behind-the-Wheel Training
Tri-Town Driving School features an online scheduling system, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In order for your online scheduling to be activated, you must:
- Provide payment in full.
- Complete all classroom segments (including the parent awareness class).
- Provide your permit number and date of issue.
- Give us your email address.
Once you’ve addressed all of these items, we’ll send you a user name and password so that you can begin scheduling driving lessons at your convenience.
If you’ve held your learner’s permit for at least four months, please email or call our office and ask to be added to our priority list. This list is exclusively for students who are eligible or soon to become eligible to obtain their driver’s license.
With the combination of our priority list and our online scheduling systems, you’ll have the ease and availability to obtain a driver’s license as quickly as possible!
Your Driving Lessons
During the time that you’re not eligible for our priority list, we recommend scheduling your driving lessons using our online scheduling system. Driving lessons will be added to this system about two or three times per week.
At Tri-Town, we do our best to keep each lesson to about two hours. However, a number of factors can influence lesson length, such as traffic, location and the students’ abilities.
During each lesson, students will receive a 50-point evaluation form. This document records all of the behind-the-wheel and observation time to ensure the student receives at least the required 12 hours of behind-the-wheel time and six hours of observation time before being certified as successfully completing our program.
Please keep in mind:
- In order to provide exceptional service, we’ll only add you to the priority list if you’ve held your learner’s permit for at least four months.
- We’ll activate the online scheduling only if the parent awareness class has been completed.
- Schedule these lessons so that you can take your road test within two weeks of their completion.
- Waiting longer than two weeks has proven to increase the failure rate.
6. Driving with Parents
As driving instructors, we understand how much anxiety and tension this may cause. However, we also know that the greater the level of education, training and practice, the more likely the student is to succeed! This is particularly important for someone who is getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle at such a young age.
Remember These Facts
- Driving is the first major responsibility of a teenager’s life.
- Driving is the most dangerous activity in which we participate on a daily basis.
- Driving is the #1 killer of teenagers.
Driving schools cannot ensure a student will drive in every environment, situation or condition, which is the primary reason why Massachusetts adopted the 40 hours of additional practice.
Tips for Training a New Driver
- Make sure the vehicle has a working emergency brake in the center console.
- Alert other drivers that you have a “Driver in Training” with one of our magnets.
- Choose a safe area (preferably an empty parking lot) to begin and then graduate slowly into neighborhoods, straight-aways, etc.
Hint: Once your child has completed the first lesson (or two) with a driving school, he/she will be better prepared to begin the 40 hours of required behind-the-wheel practice at home. Each time you get out there, we recommend recording things such as:
- Amount of time on the road
- Time of day (or night)
- Skills you’ve practiced
- Weather conditions
Tri-Town Driving School offers pocket folders to help you keep track of everything during your behind-the-wheel training.
7. Prepare for and Take the Road Test
If you’re like most anyone else, you’re going to have butterflies in your stomach the morning of the road test. However, preparing for the test with Tri-Town Driving School will help increase your chances of passing.
Weekly Road Tests with Tri-Town
With Tri-Town, you won’t have to wait five to eight weeks to take a test with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). And you won’t have to miss a minute of school or work. Most important, you’ll be able to concentrate on your driving — we’ll take care of the rest!
We offer weekly road tests at our location at 474 Main St. in Wilmington. Please schedule the road test with us at least 18 days in advance.
By the Wednesday before your test date, you’ll receive a confirmation email; please review it carefully. Also, please fill out the MassDOT license application and have it signed by a parent or guardian. And be sure to pay any outstanding or additional MassDOT fees (e.g. $85 fee for five-year photo license and license application fee).
On the day of the test, we’ll give you road test information and a quick tip sheet. The test itself takes place in a pre-approved Tri-Town vehicle, and an Tri-Town instructor will act as your sponsor (i.e. riding in the back set during the test).
Weekday License Tests with the RMV: The Facts
Did you know that 50-60% of people taking a weekday Massachusetts driver’s license test at the MassDOT do not pass? And that 10-20% of these people are turned down because the paperwork or vehicle does not meet MassDOT requirements?
At Tri-Town, we believe these high failure rates are directly related to worrying and nervousness. Being better prepared and informed heading into the test will help you succeed. In fact, the pass rate for students who completed our 12-hour behind-the-wheel program is 98%.
8. Get Behind the Wheel
9. Understand Restrictions and Penalties
Drivers and parents of teenagers under age 18 should understand the following restrictions and penalties.
For the first six months after receiving your Massachusetts driver’s license, you cannot have any passengers under age 18 in the vehicle. Penalties for violating this restriction include:
- Possible arrest
- Being taken to police station
- Having vehicle towed
- Court costs
- Suspended license
- License reinstatement fee
- Insurance surcharge
Total costs related to this offense could reach $1,000. In addition, criminal charges may be filed for serious injury or death.
Keep in mind:
- Immediate family members are allowed, as is anyone 18 or older
- Any one under 18 can also be allowed if someone 21 or older occupies the passenger seat (must be licensed for at least 1 year)
First Speeding Offense
If you’re under 18, the total cost for your first speeding ticket could total $945 or more. Here’s the breakdown of fines and other penalties:
- Minimum fine, first 10 mph:
(plus $10 per mph above this)
- Completion of the SCARR (road rage) program:
- Attitudinal retraining program:
- Learner’s permit fee:
- Application fee for road test:
- Fee to retake road test:
- 90-day license suspension*
- License reinstatement fee:
*Although the law states it will be a 90-day suspension, be prepared to wait for up to nine months before full reinstatement of your license.
Mobile Phone/Text Messaging
No one under 18 may use a mobile device while driving! This includes talking, texting, IM’ing, accessing the Internet or using a hands-free device.
Violations and Penalties
- 1st offense: $100 fine, 60-day suspension and must complete the attitudinal retraining program
- 2nd offense: $250 fine, 180-day suspension
- 3rd offense: $500 fine, one-year suspension
18 or Over
Those who are 18 or older may use a mobile device while driving, as long as:
- One hand remains on the steering wheel at all times.
- It does not interfere with safe operation of the vehicle.
However, you may not text, IM, email or access the Internet while driving! This includes while you’re stopped at a red light.
Violations and Penalties
- 1st offense: $100 fine
- 2nd offense: $250 fine
- 3rd offense: $500 fine