Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles


What You Need to Do to Renew Your Massachusetts License

Renewing your license? It’s never been easier!  Read up on some of the info you need to know for drivers license renewal in Massachusetts.

The Basics:

 

  • Your Massachusetts license is valid for 5 years and expires on your birthday.
  • You may renew your license up to one year prior to the expiration date.
  • The fee to renew a Class D driver’s license is $50.
  • Your temporary license is valid for 30 days but can not be used as a valid form of identification.
  • You can not renew your Mass. license at all if you have outstanding obligations or violations that have not been paid.
  • If you attempt to renew your license online you will be denied and given a list of your outstanding obligations and told how to resolve them before you visit an RMV branch and complete the renewal process.
  • Examples of outstanding obligations include unpaid parking, excise, or abandoned vehicle tickets,  fast lane violations, an outstanding warrant, or outstanding child support payments.
With online applications and express service lanes, Mass drivers can save valuable time at the RMV.  To renew online, you must first complete a questionnaire to determine eligibility. If you are able to renew online, you simply pay the $50 fee and your new license will be mailed to you in 7-10 days.  If you are not eligible, you can complete the application, print it and sign it, then bring it to any RMV branch for renewal. Examples of situations where you would not be eligible to renew online would be if you are over the age of 75, or if you are a Veteran and would like the Veteran’s indicator on your license, you must go into a branch as this can not be added during an online transaction.Don’t forget to check your license expiration date!  Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to renew your license before it expires.  The RMV no longer mails out renewal notices so make sure to go in at least 7 days before your current license expires so that you can receive your new license on time.  The only exception to this applies to drivers that are turning 21.  If you renew your license before you turn 21, you will be issued a vertical license that reads “under 21”.  If you go in on or after your 21st birthday you will be issued the standard horizontal license.

For more information on renewing your license in MA, visit the Massachusetts RMV website or call (617) 351-4500.  You can find RMV branch locations here.

Photo By: sixninepixels

Schedule Your Drivers Exam ONLINE!

The younger tech-savvy generations may fall in love with the newest addition to the Massachusetts RMV site: on-line driver’s exam scheduling. Until last week teenagers were only able schedule a driver’s exam by calling the RMV hot line. These calls annually number approximately 260,000 and greatly slowed the routing of other call-center customers.

Hopeful teen drivers can pay the $20 exam fee while registering and, if they’re feeling confident, the $50 licensing fee eliminating another trip to a Registry branch once they’ve passed the exam. If paid for through the website the teenager’s licnese will be sent through the mail with the learners permit photo. During a two week test period almost 900 permit holders successfully scheduled their driving examinations!

Drivers license exams were previously administered by State Police troopers and as of two years ago are now handled by Registry examiners. About 2,500 road tests are given a week through the 29 Massachusetts examination locations. Serving more than 4.6 million drivers the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will be able to better service drivers as those scheduling examinations begin to navigate to the website rather than phone hot line.

To schedule a driver’s examination online visit the Massachusetts Department of Transportation site here.

MADD Honors Massachusetts Officers

Yesterday MADD Massachusetts honored more than 30 state troopers, 45 local police officers, five assistant district attorneys and 10 local police department for their commitment to enforcing drunk driving laws. The local police departments received the Drive for Life award for holding sobriety check points in 2010. The honorary breakfast speaker this year was Chris Doyle, a former Wilbraham  Police Officer. Doyle was seriously injured sustaining a traumatic brain injury among others while on duty August of 2006 when he was struck by a three-time offender at a construction roadblock. The combined efforts of this year’s honorees worked together making over 2,800 drunk driving arrests in 2009 averaging almost eight drunk driving arrests per day!

An article from the WNYT writes:

“Drunk driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the United States, affecting three out of every 10 Americans. In Massachusetts, 124 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2008 representing 34% of all traffic fatalities in the Commonwealth.”

Taking the fight against drunk driving to another level the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles shares drunk driving statistics with the public. The RMV has also released that over 4,000 repeat drunk drivers have ignition interlock devices installed on the vehicle. Only 27 of the 1,600 repeat offenders who’ve already completed the interlock program have re-offended after the interlocks removal.

MADD is non-profit organization with more than 400 entities nationwide. MADD proclaims their mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. The organization was founded in 1980 by two mothers who transformed their losses into a national movement putting a stop to drunk driving. MADD works to provide critical emotional support for survivors, family members and friends coping with the death of a loved one caused by a drunk driver.

MADD’s website claims in 2007 almost 13,000 people died in drunk driving crashes, representing 305 of all highway fatalities in the Commonwealth. Reiterating the fact found in the WNYT article above, MADD cites the National Highway Safety Administration to estimate during one’s life time three in ten people will be killed or injured by a drunk driver. Drunk driving is NOT something to take lightly, for more information on how to become involved with or seek help from MADD please visit their website at: www.maddmass.com.

Check Twice Save A Life – Motorcylists are Everywhere

As the snow melted and floods subsided, March’s beautiful weather lured motorcyclists out early this riding season, a drastic change from last year when many motorcyclists did not ride until July. As of last September 182,215 motorcycles were registered in Massachusetts, which may sound impressive until it’s placed side by side with the 4.3 million cars also registered.

Today marks the end of Motorcycle safety week as proclaimed by Governor Deval Patrick. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles sponsors the Mass Rider Education Program, providing training, materials, new Rider Coach training and promotional and technical assistance to a statewide network of training sites. Numerous motorcycle safety courses are available for beginners and advanced riders throughout Massachusetts. For more information on safety courses visit the motorcycle safety page of the Massachusetts RMV website.

Driving through many areas of Massachusetts it’s difficult to miss the yellow signs with black writing, “Check Twice, Save a Life. Motorcycles are everywhere.” Originally thought up by Bob Doiron in 1982 the stickers and signs have caught a wave of popularity across the state. Doiron, a founder of the  Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA), has now retired and transferred the rights of the “Check Twice” signs to Paul Cote of Amesbury, a fellow motorcycle activist. Both Doiron and Cote have fought for motorcyclist rights however above all, for their safety. Think to look twice before switching lanes or making a sharp turn, as the signs say – it may just save a life.

According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, an accident with a motorcycle is more likely when:

  • Making a left turn in front of a rider.
  • A motorcyclist is riding in your blind spot.
  • There are hazardous road conditions such as potholes, wet leaves, railroad tracks, and other obstructions that may force a motorcyclist to ride in a way you would not otherwise predict.
  • You have an obstructed line of sight. Sport utility vehicles, delivery vans, and large trucks and those with cars too full of cargo may block motorcyclists from your view.

Teen Driving Fatalities Decrease Significantly!

Fatal accidents involving teenagers under 18 years of age has fallen 75% in the past three years after Massachusetts began implementing the Junior Operation License Law creating harsher penalties for younger drivers and making it more difficult to obtain a license. These added difficulties and punishments junior operators face have not only driven down fatalities, but speeding tickets as well. The number of speeding tickets young drivers under 18 has fallen almost 60% in the past three years. According to an article in The Boston Globe, the number of teens cited for seat-belt violations, passenger restrictions, and other offenses has fallen at a similar rate as the speeding ticket decrease.

These numbers are welcomed graciously as motor vehicle accidents is the number one killer of teens in the nation. According to the Massachusetts RMV website new drivers are four times more likely to be killed and 14 times more likely to be injured in an accident than any other group.  The tougher laws and testing are key efforts used to keep these high risk drivers from being involved in an accident, injured, or killed.

Massachusetts officials believe the decreasing fatalities may be accredited to the Junior Operator License Law passed in 2006 after a number of highly publicized fatalities involving junior operators or drivers under 18 years. The stricter laws took effect March 31st, 2007 increasing driver’s education requirements and penalties for violations junior operators.

A great example of just how firm these new laws are would be the consequences a junior operators experiences after their first speeding ticket. Under old legislation a young driver would be given a fine and slap on the wrist, however the newer 2006 legislation goes much further. Now a junior operator first time ticketed speeder will have his or her license suspended for 90 days. After a three month suspension the teenager must pay a $500 reinstatement fee, attend two four-hour training classes, and retake the state driver’s exam to regain a license. The newer laws have also doubled the time spent behind-the-wheel in driver’s education from six to twelve hours. It has also increased the supervised driving time from 12 to 40 hours teens must accumulate before seeking a license.

“As governor and as a parent I am happy to see that we are creating safer streets and better driving habits among our young drivers. Our number one priority is protecting the safety of the traveling public, and our successful implementation of the Junior Operator License Law is clearly reducing teen driver crashes and saving lives.’’

-Governor Deval Patrick

Patrick has earned bragging rights, from merely glancing over the decreasing number of tickets, violations and accidents involving junior operators since the new legislation. Massachusetts for years averaged two or more fatal accidents a month involving these young drivers, with over 79 in the three years prior to the new stricter legislation taking effect. The following year there were 20, the year after that 15, ans six over the last year. Speeding tickets were greatly reduced as well. The year prior to the Junior Operator License Law enactment, Massachusetts junior drivers received 10,127 tickets. This number has dropped drastically to 4,291 tickets from March 31, 2009 through March 30, 2010. Although it the consequences of young adult driving are harsh, our roads have been made a safer place.

VIP at the RMV

New Drivers & Those Transfering to a Massachusetts License Make Appointments Online Avoiding the RMV Wait

The mere idea of visiting the RMV is a dreary nightmare to many: taking a number, filling out paper work, waiting, and waiting… and waiting. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has recognized your impatience and frustration of visiting a branch in creating numerous opportunities for drivers to complete transactions and other. For a number of drivers who are still required to visit a branch, the RMV has made the visit an even less stressful process.

The registry is working on creating additional web functions for new drivers and new Massachusetts residents to set meeting times to process paperwork without the wait. The RMV tested a pilot program at its Springfield branch for the past few  months, and with its success will now make the service available statewide. During the pilot a total of 89 customers scheduled appointments.

The Massachusetts RMV website mass.gov/rmv holds an interactive guide that will walk applicants through the process and notify the driver of required documents that will be needed at the meeting to verify identity and residency.

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