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.

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.