- Location: Colorado
Drivers Ed in Colorado
Getting your license is no longer as simple as getting a permit on a Monday, having an older buddy or parent whirl you around a parking lot in a four-speed stick shift for a couple of days, and then taking the driving test on Friday, with a license in tow for a weekend joyride.
No, those days are long gone because most states, including Colorado, have become more cautious and are taking an intensive approach to ensuring young license seekers are fully educated on all facets of driving.
In Colorado, all new drivers under 16 years old must complete an approved driver education course before they can be issued a permit.
Teens may begin the training program at age 14 ½ years old , and will be eligible for the learner’s permit at age 15 years old once they have completed and passed the classroom portion. After the student has received the permit, they must hold the permit for 12 months and complete the required behind the wheel training described above. Students and parents interested in online learning must be 15 years old ½ before getting their learner’s permit.
Parent-taught driver training has become very popular. Once purchased, a state-approved driver’s education course guides the student and the parent from beginning to end. With such courses, teaching your teen to drive just might be easier than it sounds. By following the program, students can learn all state rules, laws, and driving techniques needed to be a safe first-time driver.
The state of Colorado issues three types of learner permits designed for minors. Each asks for permit-specific documents, but to apply for any one of them requires some basic interchangeable aspects:
- An official birth certificate is needed or a valid exception from the state's acceptable identification list.
- A Social Security number, although it does not have to appear on any final copies of a permit or license.
- If you're under the age of 18 years old, a completed Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship form is necessary, with a witnessed signature by a notary or motor vehicle officer. This form essentially puts the burden of your driving mishaps (if any) on your parents. If not the parent, court-ordered papers and/or a Power of Attorney should be presented with the affidavit.
- Pass a written exam. The multiple-choice test covers all components of the driving process including rules of the road, sign recognition, emergency procedures, and safe driving tips. All of the material on the test is taken directly from the Colorado Driver Handbook.
- Pass a vision check.
Driver Education Permit
This permit is offered to minors between ages 15 years old and 15 and 6 months. It is about the earliest document you can finagle when cresting the almost-legal driving age. The big prerequisite here is a filled out Affidavit of Enrollment in Driver Education, which is with the Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship form. This lets the folks at the driver license office know that you've signed up for a driver training course. These programs are offered by various third-party companies accredited by the state.
Limitations: Until you turn 16 years old, you can only drive with the course instructor or the person(s) who signed the liability affidavit. The restraint ends at 16 years old and you can operate a vehicle with a licensed driver over 21 years of age.
Driver Awareness Permit
A permit designed for those ages 15 years old and 6 months to 16 years old with a specific precondition of supplying proof of having attended a four-hour, state-approved Driver Awareness Course. The course is also provided by numerous third-party businesses.
Limitations: Until you turn 16 years old, you can only drive with the person(s) who signed the liability affidavit. The restraint ends at 16 years old and you can operate a vehicle with a licensed driver over 21 years of age.
Minor Instruction Permit
The general permit most people are familiar with, available to those between the ages of 16 years old and 21 years old. To apply, you will only need to bring the information described above under "The Basics."
You can only drive with licensed individuals over the age of 21.
With all the driver training available and recommended by the state you would think you could hold onto the permit for a few learning jaunts around town and then head in and take the driver test. But this is where Colorado puts the clamps down and becomes strict in enforcing the "learning" phase of driving with the Graduated License Law.
The law states that any minor under the age of 18 years old must hold one of the above permits for at least 12 months before attempting to upgrade to a license. So, you will have plenty of parking lot time with the parents. A driver log must also be maintained and presented at a driver license office when applying for a license, showing a minimum of 50 hours behind the wheel, with at least 10 of those hours being at night.
Note: All learner's permits expire after 3 years and the fee is $14.00.
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