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Colorado’s Graduated Drivers License Law

(Randy Novotny, on behalf of the Colorado State Patrol, is a new columnist who will write periodic articles addressing new laws, changing laws and clarification of existing laws. His goal is to promote community safety and keep readers informed of laws, which may affect everyone. The state patrol’s goal of community safety begins with education and understanding of the laws.)The latest changes to the Colorado Graduated Drivers License law went into effect July 1, 2004.The law helps ensure young drivers have sufficient behind-the-wheel experience under the supervision of a valid adult driver prior to driving on their own.New Provisions for Colorado’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing Law

  • Permit is now valid up to three years from date of issuance.
  • To get a learner’s permit:
    • Age 15 if enrolled in a driver’s education course
    • Age 15 1/2 if enrolled in four-hour defensive driving course
    • Age 16 if none of the above
  • Must hold permit for one full year prior to obtaining license
  • As part of the GDL Law that took effect on July 1, 1999, new drivers must still complete 50 hours of logged driving including 10 hours of night driving prior to obtaining license.
  • Passenger restrictions apply to licensed drivers under the age of seventeen. Each passenger must wear a seat belt. Only one passenger is allowed in the front seat and the number of back seat passengers cannot exceed the number of seat belts.
  • Once the driver’s license is obtained, minors under the age of seventeen are restricted from driving during the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by their parent or guardian or another responsible adult. Exceptions are driving to and from work, an emergency, or if the city and/ or county of residency has enacted its own curfew. Minors driving to and from work during restricted times must have in their possession a signed statement from their employer, parent or guardian stating work schedule times.
Minors may apply for an instruction permit under the following conditions:
  • Minor is at least age 16
  • Minor is at least age 15 and 1/2 and has completed a four-hour pre-qualification driver awareness program approved by the department of revenue
  • First-time instructional permits must be held for at least one year and minors must be at least 16 years old before they can obtain a Colorado drivers license.

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