Missouri New Resident Guide

Welcome to the Show-Me State – Missouri! As you begin to explore our roads, understanding Missouri's specific traffic laws and driving customs is key. This concise guide aims to assist you as you travel across Missouri's varied landscapes, from the rolling Ozark hills to its vibrant cities like St. Louis and Kansas City. While many of the driving rules might be familiar, paying attention to the local specifics of Missouri driving is crucial for a safe and pleasant driving experience.


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Licensing and Residency Requirements


  • You have 30 days from the date of becoming a Missouri resident to title your vehicle.
  • As soon as you establish residency in Missouri, you must apply for and pay for a Missouri driver's license at a Missouri license office. You may surrender a valid current driver's license (or one that is expired 184 days or less) from another U.S. state to the state of Missouri to waive your Missouri skills and written tests. All applicants are required to pass the Missouri road sign recognition and vision tests.
  • To change your name on a vehicle registration, you will need to apply for a new title in your new name.
  • To change the name that appears on your Missouri driver's license, take acceptable documentation of your legal name change to a Missouri driver's license office after you get married, divorced, etc. You may then apply and pay for a duplicate driver's license with your new name. You will be asked to retake your photo and sign the document. If your Missouri driver's license is within 6 months (184 days) of expiring, you may be eligible to renew your driver's license early (instead of just receiving a duplicate of the old license).

Graduated Licensing Program


Class F / Instruction / Learner's Permit


  • Must be 15
  • Must pass written, vision, and road sign test

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May only drive when accompanied by a parent, grandparent, guardian, certified driver trainer, or a driver age 25 or older with written permission from a parent


Intermediate License


  • Be at least 16
  • Hold the permit for at least 6 months
  • Accumulate 40 (10 nighttime) hours of certified driving
  • Pass the vision, road sign, written, and driving tests if results are over a year old
  • Not have an alcohol-related offense within the last 12 months
  • Not have a traffic conviction in last 6 months.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May not drive unsupervised between 1 AM and 5 AM except to and from a school activity, job, or emergency
  • For the first 6 months after being issued their intermediate permit, intermediate license holders may only have 1 passenger who is under the age of 19 (family member exempt).
  • After the first 6 months, intermediate license holders may have no more than 3 passengers under the age of 19.
  • Teen drivers and their passengers are also required to wear seat belts.


Full License


  • Must be at least 18
  • Must pass vision test
  • Must not have had the intermediate license suspended, revoked, or denied
  • Must not have any alcohol-related offenses or traffic convictions within the last 12 months

Violation Point Counts


The number of points you receive depends on the conviction. The following are examples of some state law violations and the point values associated with them:

Speeding3 points
Careless & Imprudent Driving4 points
Knowingly Allowing an Unlicensed Driver to Operate a Vehicle4 points
A Felony Involving a Motor Vehicle12 points
Obtaining a Driver License by Misrepresentation12 points
Operating a Vehicle with a Suspended or Revoked Driver License12 points

If you accumulate a total of 4 points in 12 months, the Department of Revenue will send you a point accumulation advisory letter.

If you accumulate a total of 8 or more points in 18 months, the Department of Revenue will suspend your driving privileges.

  • 1st suspension - 30 days
  • 2nd suspension - 60 days
  • 3rd or more suspensions - 90 days

The Department of Revenue will revoke your driving privilege for one year if you accumulate:

  • 12 or more points in 12 months
  • 18 or more points in 24 months
  • 24 or more points in 36 months

When your driving privilege is reinstated following a Point Suspension or Revocation, the Department of Revenue reduces your total points to 4.

Every year you drive without getting new points on your record, the points will be reduced.

  • 1 year - total remaining points reduced by one-third
  • 2 years - remaining points reduced by one-half
  • 3 years - points reduced to zero

Although your points may be reduced to zero, certain types of convictions must remain listed permanently on your Missouri driver record.

Insurance Requirements


Liability insurance covers your legal liability when injuries or property damage happen to others as a result of your actions. The minimum level of coverage required by state law is shown below:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $10,000 per accident for property damage

The law also requires you to have uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

You must keep some proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times. If a law enforcement officer asks for proof of insurance and you cannot show it, the officer may issue you a ticket. The Department of Revenue will be notified that you do NOT have insurance on your vehicle or the vehicle you drive if you are in an accident or a police officer asks you to show proof of insurance. At any time, the Department of Revenue may also ask you to prove you have insurance.

Headlight Laws


You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or 300 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.

You must use your headlights:

  • From 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise
  • Any time weather conditions require the use of your windshield wipers

On February 3, 2014, a US District Court in Missouri ordered the City of Ellisville to stop enforcing its ordinance against flashing headlights as a speed trap warning because the ordinance violated drivers' First Amendment rights and was not an obstruction of police justice. The ruling only granted a preliminary injunction, and a hearing on a permanent injunction is pending.

Implied Consent Laws


  • First Refusal- Revocation 1 year (90 days mandatory)
  • Second or subsequent refusal (within 5 years) - Revocation 1 year (mandatory)
  • A person must complete a substance abuse program before the license can be reinstated. For cause, the court may modify or waive this requirement unless the offender's BAC is greater than or equal to .15, which eliminates the court's discretion to waive.

DUI Penalties


First offense (Class B Misdemeanor)

  • Up to 6 months imprisonment
  • Up to $500 fine
  • License suspension 30 days, plus 60 days restricted driving privileges
  • Court may order ignition interlock 6 months after license reinstatement


Prior offender (Class A Misdemeanor) (1 previous offense within 5 years)

  • Up to 1 year imprisonment
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Court may order 30 days community service as a condition of parole/probation
  • 2 - 5 years license suspension
  • Court must order ignition interlock 6 months after license reinstatement


Persistent offender (Class D Felony) (2 previous offenses within 5 years)

  • Up to 4 years imprisonment
  • Up to $5,000 fine
  • Court may order 60 days community service as a condition of parole/probation.
  • 3 - 10 years license suspension


Aggravated offender (Class C Felony) (3 or more previous offenses within 5 years, or 1 or more previous vehicular homicide/assault convictions where alcohol was involved)

  • Up to 7 years imprisonment
  • Up to $5,000 fine
  • Court must order ignition interlock 6 months after license reinstatement
  • 3 - 10 years license suspension


Chronic offender (Class B Felony) (4 or more previous offenses, 2 or more vehicular homicide/assault convictions where alcohol was involved, or 2 or more previous offenses and any vehicular homicide/assault conviction)

  • 5 - 15 years imprisonment
  • 3 - 10 years license suspension
  • Court must order ignition interlock 6 months after license reinstatement



Child endangerment (child under age 17 in vehicle)

  • Up to 1 year imprisonment
  • Up to $1,000 fine

Alcohol education

  • Required for persons under 21
  • Court may order

Alcohol treatment

  • If referred

Open Container Law


Missouri does not have an open container law.

Red Light Violation Fines


  • $93.00 fine
  • Missouri does not have a state law governing the use of traffic cameras for red light enforcement but does have a Department of Transportation program to regulate cameras on state-maintained roads.

Construction Zone Penalties


Speeding or passing violations when workers are present are subject to an additional $250 fine for a first offense, and $300 for subsequent offenses.

Turn Signal Information


Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet in advance.

Hazard Light Information


Hazard light use is permitted.

Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws


  • Funeral lead vehicles must have an amber or purple light or lens or alternating flashing headlamps. All vehicles in the procession must follow each other as closely as safely possible. The toll-free passage is given to processions on any toll bridges, tunnels, or other roads.
  • The law gives the procession the right-of-way, except it must yield to emergency vehicles.
  • Once the lead vehicle lawfully enters an intersection, all other vehicles in the procession may follow without stopping but must exercise due care.
  • Other vehicles are prohibited from driving between, joining, attempting to pass, or crossing the path of a funeral procession

School Bus Laws



  • Vehicles are required to stop unless:
    • Traveling in the opposite direction on a highway divided by a median where the vehicles traveling one direction are on a separate road from the vehicles traveling the opposite direction;
    • Traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus on a highway containing four or more lanes of traffic
    • The bus is stopped in a loading zone where students are not permitted to cross the roadway



  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required is a Class A misdemeanor and may result in a fine of up to $1,000, up to 90 days driver's license suspension, and up to 1 year imprisonment.

Bicyclist Passing Distance


You are required to pass at a safe distance.

Motorcycle Laws



  • It is unlawful to operate a motorcycle or motor tricycle unless the operator has a valid license that shows the operator has successfully passed an examination for the operation of the vehicle. Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces may waive the driving skills portion of the examination by submitting a proof of completion card from a military Motorcycle Rider Training Course.
  • Any person at least 15 1/2 years of age who, except for age or lack of instruction in operating a motor vehicle, would otherwise be qualified to obtain a motorcycle or motor-tricycle license or endorsement, may apply, with the written consent of the parent or guardian of such person, for a temporary motorcycle instruction permit to operate a motorcycle or motor-tricycle.


Protective Gear

  • Every person riding on or operating a motorcycle or motor tricycle shall wear protective headgear.



  • Daytime use of headlight not required.


Sharing the Road

  • Lane splitting is not authorized.
  • Motorcycles traveling side-by-side in a single lane is not addressed in state law.

Using the Shoulder to Pass


You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.

Passing Laws


Do not pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel


When being passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle

Speed Limits


  • 70 mph on rural interstates and freeways.
  • 65 mph on rural expressways.
  • 60 mph on urban interstate highways, expressways and freeways, and other roads except State two-lane "lettered" roads outside of urban areas.
  • 55 mph on State two-lane "lettered" roads.

Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws


Safety Belts

  • Occupants 16 and older seated in the front seat must wear safety belts.
  • Police may stop a vehicle solely for a belt law violation if the occupant wearing a safety belt is younger than 16.
  • The fine for a first offense is $10.


Child Seats

  • Children 3 years and younger must be in a child restraint.
  • All children who weigh less than 40 pounds must be in a child restraint.
  • Children 4 - 7 years who weigh at least 40 pounds but less than 80 pounds and who are 4'9" or shorter must be in either a child restraint or a booster seat
  • Children 4 years and older who weigh at least 80 pounds or who are at least 4'9" tall must be in either a booster seat or a safety belt
  • All children 8 - 15 years, and all children 8 years or older who weigh at least 80 pounds or who are at least 4'9" tall must be restrained and may use an adult safety belt
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $50, or $10 for violations involving children taller than 4'9" or who weigh 80 pounds or more.

Emergency Vehicle Laws


Move Over

  • When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:
    • Emergency vehicle
    • Law enforcement vehicle
    • State highway and transportation commission vehicle
    • Wrecker or tow truck
  • You must do the following:
    • If on a highway with at least 4 lanes, 2 of which are proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle, and it is safe to do so, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic condition.
    • If changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe, reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintain a safe speed for road conditions, and be prepared to stop.



  • Do not follow any emergency vehicle traveling in response to an emergency call closer than five hundred feet or drive into or park within the block where a fire apparatus has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.


Collision Procedures

  • Stop
  • Provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or to any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Driver's name and address
    • Vehicle registration number
    • Driver license number
  • If the crash resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $500 or more, or if you were involved in a crash and do not carry motor vehicle liability insurance, you must report the accident in writing within 30 days after the accident.