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    Connecticut requires drivers under 18 years old to have specific training before they may even apply for a license, and then the state sets some hefty restrictions on teens during their first year of legal driving. If you are a teenager about to hit the road, or a parent getting ready to hand over the keys, it's important that you find out more about specific requirements for teen drivers and driver education programs.

    Driver Training Rules

    The Department of Motor Vehicles wants young drivers―who are statistically more likely to be involved in traffic accidents―to have as much education and training on the road as possible before they're out on their own. The following rules have been put in place to ensure young drivers gain the necessary experience:

    • Drivers under 18 years old are required to take a driver education class or complete home driver education in order to apply for a license.
    • Drivers under 18 years old who have taken driver education must hold their permit for 120 days (180 days if you received home training) before applying for a license exam.
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    Once a teen under 18 gets a driver's license, they face specific restrictions, including the following:

    • No driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless traveling for work, school, religious activities, medical reasons, or if designated as an assigned driver in the Safe Ride Program.
    • In the first 6 months of driving, a teen under 18 may only drive with parents or guardians, driving instructors, or one other person over 20 years old who has held a license for at least four consecutive years. During the second 6 months, the teen driver may also transport immediate family members.
    • Teens are not permitted to drive while talking on a cell phone.

    Teens and Driving

    Why require extra driver training for teens? According to AAA, about 70% of fatal traffic accidents involving teens result in the death of the teen drivers themselves or their passengers.

    In other words, the statistics show that despite ongoing efforts at education and training, teen drivers are still much more likely than any other group to be involved in fatal accidents, especially at night and on weekends.

    Since that AAA study came out, Connecticut has been recognized nationwide as being on the forefront of addressing teen driver safety issues.

    What Parents and Teens Can Do

    In addition to the Connecticut Driver's Manual, the Connecticut DMV offers a fairly extensive library for both parents and teens.

    Remember, parents should make sure their teen follows all rules of the road and cuts no corners when it comes to driver education and training. It's an important reminder to all of us that driving is both a responsibility and a privilege that can be taken away at any time.

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