• As most people already know, teenagers are a high-risk group when it comes to driving. Statistics show that 25 percent of 16-year-old drivers either receive a ticket or are involved in a traffic accident during their first year of driving. That's why, on July 1, 1999, Colorado approved a graduated drivers license law.

    The law aims at reducing the number of vehicle-related death among teens by gradually introducing teenagers to driving. According to the law, a teenager is forced to go through stages before he or she can obtain a full drivers license.

    The graduated drivers license law in Colorado closely resembles those in other states. A teenager who is trying to obtain a drivers license is required to go through three stages:

    • Stage 1 – obtaining an instruction permit
    • Stage 2 – obtaining a minor license
    • Stage 3 – obtaining a full drivers license
    • Types of Permits

      In Colorado, the type of permit you get depends on your age. If you are between 15 and 15 ½ years old when you apply for your permit, you'll receive a Driver Education Permit. In order to qualify for your permit once you are 15, you need to complete a DMV-approved drivers education course and receive an affidavit of completion.

      As of April 23, 2007, if you are at least 14½ years old, you can take an approved Colorado drivers education course entirely online and receive a DMV-approved Affidavit of Completion.

      Once you pass the written permit test, you'll be issued a Driver Education Permit if you are younger than 15 years and 6 months old. If you are between 15 years 6 months and 16 years old, you'll get a Drivers Awareness Permit and if you're 16 to 21 years old, you will be issued a Minor Instruction Permit. All these three permits types expire three years from the date of issue.

    • Instruction Permit Restrictions

      • If you are under 18, you can drive with a drivers education instructor or any licensed adult over the age of 21. Only the person who signed the DR2460 can log your 50 hours of driving time.
      • When driving with an instruction permit, you cannot use a "mobile communication device" (e.g., a cell phone) except when you're trying to contact the police or fire department, it's an emergency, or you've already parked your vehicle.
      • If you are under 18, you must hold the permit for a minimum of 12 months before applying for a drivers license. If you are under 16½, you must complete 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training with an instructor from an approved driving school. If there is no approved driving school offering at least 20 hours of behind-the-wheel training per week within 30 miles of your home, you may instead complete 12 hours of behind-the-wheel training with your parent, guardian, or alternative permit supervisor.

      If you hold your instruction permit for at least 12 months and meet all of the above conditions, you can then apply for the road test and obtain a minor drivers license, which will expire 20 days after you turn 21. The minor drivers license has the following restrictions:

      • You are not allowed to carry a passenger under 21 who is not a family member until you have had your license for at least six months.
      • You are not allowed to carry more than one passenger under 21 who is not a family member until you have held your license for at least one year.
      • While you are under 18, you cannot drive between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless you have held your license for at least one year.

    Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the CO DMV. You can visit the CO DMV website or call the DMV for more information.

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