State-Approved Driver Education for Montana Teens (14.5 to 19 years of age)
Montana's school districts offer quality state-approved driver education that includes traffic safety, parent/guardian involvement, and Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). The Traffic Education Unit approves instructors and school-based programs to ensure Montana standards and requirements are met (10.13.3: Program Standards and Course Requirements for Traffic Education).
Teens who successfully complete a state-approved driver education course in Montana have at least:
- 60 hours of traffic education instruction including 6 hours of behind-the-wheel in-traffic instruction (see Curriculum Standards).
- A minimum of 25 days of instruction taught by a state-approved traffic educator.
- The opportunity to study for and take the Learner License knowledge exam and receive a Learner License during the traffic education course.
Download the Montana Traffic Education Standards & Requirements (updated 2017-2019) for detailed information on Montana's traffic education programs.
Looking for a Driver Education Course in Montana?
Teens under the age of 16 who wish to drive must complete a state-approved traffic education course offered by a Montana school district. Teens under the age of 19 can enroll in a state-approved driver education course if they are 14.5 years of age before the course completion date. Districts may prioritize equitable enrollment based on additional criteria such as older students, first come-first serve, or by lottery.
Online driver education courses and privately-run driver education schools are not approved by the State of Montana because they do not meet the minimum standards and requirements.
To learn more about registering a teen driver for driver education, please contact your local school district or high school.
Visit Approved High School Driver Education Programs to search for Montana school districts offering driver education. Program dates and traffic education instructors for the current and previous school years are shown.
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.
Montana GDL Factsheet & Teen Driving Log
Cooperative Driver Licensing Program (CDTP)
The OPI partners with the Montana Department of Justice, Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to oversee the Cooperative Driver Testing Program (CDTP), which allows certified teachers to administer driver license tests and issue Learner Licenses (MCA 61-5-110). Traffic education funding from a percentage of driver license fees is reimbursed to schools to partially offset school district driver education expenses. Teens must be at least age 14.5 to take the knowledge exam and receive a Learner License.
Students with Disabilities in Driver Education
This guide to Accommodating Students with Disabilities in Driver Education can help administrators, teachers and parents determine the best situation for a teen driver with physical or mental challenges.
The Informational Guide for Driver Education Instructors who work with Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Students is also an excellent resource.
Montana's state-approved traffic education instructors are dedicated professionals who are specially trained to offer high-quality driver education and traffic safety training in more than 130 school districts. Driver education teachers use a curriculum with hands-on classroom activities as well as a minimum of six hours behind the wheel.
Driver education instructors are in demand in Montana's cities and towns. Visit the OPI Jobs for Teachers page to find a job or post a job opening for your school district. Download the Montana Traffic Education Teacher Recruitment Guide to encourage teachers in your school to join the profession.
Click HERE for information about the CDTP updates in effect August 2022.
To teach traffic education in Montana’s public schools, teachers must have an active Montana educator license, an acceptable driving record, and at least 8 semester credits in initial traffic education coursework taken at Montana State University-Northern (MSUN). Traffic education courses taken elsewhere may be transferable to Montana. To maintain their approval to teach traffic education, teachers need to be working toward their Traffic Education Endorsement and earn the 20-credit minor.
Traffic education teachers are in demand in Montana. One way a school fills this gap is to encourage a currently employed teacher to seek the traffic education endorsement. In just a few weeks from late spring to early summer, an educator can receive enough training to begin teaching traffic education in mid-summer with initial approval from the OPI Traffic Education Office. Visit the MSUN Traffic Education webpage for details.
To learn more about becoming a teacher of traffic education and what is required to maintain your approval, download Teaching Traffic Education in Montana FAQ's.
Driver educators who have received their initial approval need to continue earning traffic education credits toward their traffic education endorsement. After the first eight initial credits, a minimum of 12 additional credits need to be earned. See Steps to Traffic Education Approval and Endorsement for details.
TE05 Montana Traffic
Education Teacher Renewal Form
Current or returning Traffic Education teachers who need to renew their approval to teach traffic education in the State of Montana must submit a TE05 form to the OPI. The form can be filled out above and submitted electronically.
If you are a teacher applying for the FIRST time to become a traffic education teacher, please return to the Driver Educators page and follow the instructions for new approvals.
Approval to teach traffic education must be renewed with each renewal of the teacher's educator license. SUBMIT THE TE05 FORM BEFORE SEPTEMBER 30. Your approval to teach traffic education expires on October 1 the same year your educator license expires. Please note: Your educator license needs to be renewed by June 30.
We require the TE05 form so we can 1) check your driving record, 2) affirm your intention to continue teaching driver education, and 3) update your contact information.
Submit this form anytime following renewal of your educator license. We will approve your TE05 when:
- Your educator license is renewed.
- Your driving record has been checked.*
- Any required college credits earned toward your traffic educator minor have been verified by MSU-Northern, Havre.**
* If you are registered to drive in a state other than Montana, you will need to obtain a current copy of your driving record from the appropriate state agency and submit with this renewal form.
** Upon request, MSU-Northern will send OPI an updated Traffic Education Program Sheet.
Not sure how many credits you need to renew? Contact LeAnn Haas at (406) 444-4432 with any questions you may have.
Visit the Montana State University-Northern (Havre) website for more information on obtaining the required credits to maintain approval while working toward a traffic education minor.
Earn one college credit by attending and writing a paper on the spring conference of the Montana Traffic Education Association.
Earn one college credit by completing a Montana Drive Workshop and student-teaching the following day.
All state-approved traffic educators in Montana must be CDTP-trained and certified. Training is provided at MSU Northern as part of the initial coursework to become a traffic education teacher. Upon hiring by a school district, the instructor and the district must submit two required forms to the MVD/DOJ to be certified to give CDTP tests to students. Contact the Traffic Education office to obtain CDTP certification forms.
CDTP training manuals are available from the Motor Vehicle Division at the Department of Justice or from the Traffic Education Office and distributed only to CDTP-certified instructors. Individuals with TEDRS access can download CDTP learner license and road test forms at the Student List entry screen.
The OPI Traffic Education Office partners with the Montana Traffic Education Association throughout the year to guide professional development opportunities for Montana’s traffic educators. We also co-host the annual spring conference for traffic safety and driver education professionals.
- Become a member or recruit a new member in your school district.
- Visit MTEAOnline.org to read MTEA News and learn more about the organization.
- Plan to attend the 2024 annual spring conference April in Great Falls, MT.
- Find conference handouts and presentations.
- New conference attendees can put their name in a drawing for one of three David Huff Memorial Scholarships.
- Find MTEA on Facebook!
Registration Opens February 1st!
Teens Register March 1st!
Spend one day on the closed race track in Lewistown, Montana, and learn life-saving skills to respond safely to driving risks. Since 1979, more than 16,000 drivers have participated in a Montana DRIVE Workshop.
Adult Workshops are scheduled from June 4 to August 9, 2024.
Teen Workshops are scheduled from Jul 18 to July 20, 2024.
The Adapted Illustrated Montana Driver Manual is an easy-to-read, illustrated version of the Montana Driver Manual. It can help driver license applicants understand and remember traffic safety laws and regulations that are required to obtain and keep a Montana driver license. Each of the eight chapters includes a practice quiz with an answer key.
The manual (revised 2023) can be downloaded as an Acrobat pdf file (7.5 MB) and viewed on a computer, tablet or smart phone. The free Adobe Acrobat reader can be downloaded here. Contact the State of Montana Print and Mail to inquire about printing this manual.
From the Introduction: This adapted illustrated driver manual is based on the 2015 Montana Driver Manual published and distributed by the Motor Vehicle Division of the Montana Department of Justice. The adapted manual is organized and presented in a clear and easy-to-read format with graphics and images.
In addition to helping new drivers learn the rules of the road and pass the test for a first Montana driver license, the Adapted Illustrated Montana Driver Manual includes positive encouragement to drive without distractions and impairment, to share the road safely, and to always buckle up.
First published in 1971, this manual has been updated and republished four times, including this 2018 edition, which includes minor changes reflecting new motor vehicle laws passed by the 2017 Legislature. Contact the Traffic Education Office with any questions or comments about the Adapted Manual.
In 2016, every public library and most high school libraries received a copy of the manual.
Download a copy of the latest Montana Driver Manual published by the MT Department of Justice (as of 6/24/22 the latest version was published in October 2018).
Listen to the Audio Version!
Volunteers at the Montana Talking Book Library completed a recording of this manual in January 2017. Click on the sections/chapters below to open the Windows Media Player (.wav) files and listen while viewing the corresponding sections of the manual.
Contact the Traffic Education Office if you have problems or need to request the audio version on a flash drive. The Office of Public Instruction is indebted to the Montana State Library and many volunteers who clearly and accurately read the 140-page manual to produce this audio version of the Adapted Illustrated Montana Driver Manual.