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Colorado Learners Permit Restrictions - CO Driving Permit Rules

Colorado Permit Restrictions

The main purpose of having a learners permit is to be able to practice driving before you take a drivers test and that's why the Colorado drivers permit comes with a number of permit restrictions that must be observed at all times. Colorado permit restrictions are different for adult drivers license applicants and teenagers and you must make sure to observe the restrictions that apply to your permit type. If you choose to ignore the Colorado learners permit restrictions, your driving privilege may be suspended or revoked.

Many Colorado drivers license applicants wonder why they need to observe these restrictions and the answer is very simple - the restrictions are there to protect both the drivers license applicant and other drivers who surround him on the road. An inexperienced driver has neither the motor skills, nor the right mindset to be able to meet the challenges of the road. The learners permit restrictions are there to ensure that inexperienced drivers don't get into potentially dangerous situations and steer them clear of most hazards.

When it comes to teenage drivers, there are also age-specific factors to consider. Teen drivers often treat driving as a fun game rather than a potentially dangerous activity. Teenage drivers frequently overestimate their driving skills, which may lead to a disaster. This is why the state has developed a graduated drivers license system that introduced additional drivers permit and license restrictions for drivers who are under 21 years of age.

Colorado Permit Restrictions - Over 21 years of Age

If you are 21 years of age or older and you received a drivers permit, there are not that many permit restrictions for you to observe. Just make sure that whenever you get behind the wheel, there is always another licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age seated in the front seat next to you. The supervising driver should coach you on the aspects of safe driving and help you get through any difficult driving situation. There is no minimum amount of time for holding a learners permit at this stage, so you may take a drivers test and get a drivers license whenever you feel comfortable behind the wheel.

Although there is no law that would prevent you from talking on a cell phone while driving, we strongly advise that you withhold from this activity until you get at least a few years of driving experience and even then - use a hands-free device. Driving is a complex activity and you have to commit as much attention as possible to watching the road, especially when you don't have much driving experience. This is not a restrictions, but rather a good practice.

Colorado Permit Restrictions - Under 21 Years of Age

If you are under 21 years of age, the graduated drivers license rules apply to you and you must observe a number of addition restrictions. You can read more about the graduated license law in the Colorado drivers license handbook that is provided free of charge by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In this section, we are describing only the learners permit restrictions, not permit requirements. We provided a short outline of different types of Colorado learners permit and the requirements that must be met before the permit can be issued at the end of this article.

If you are under 21 years of age, the following Colorado permit restrictions apply to you:

  • No driving alone. You must have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age accompany you at all times.
  • The supervising driver must either be the person who signed your Affidavit of Liability or someone appointed by this person if the signer does not currently hold a valid Colorado drivers license.
  • No cell phones. Colorado learners permit holders are not allowed to use a cell phone while driving. If you need to make a phone call or send a text message, you will need to stop and turn the engine off.
  • Safety belts. Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.

The permit restrictions will be removed once you pass your Colorado drivers test and obtain a minor's drivers license. The minor's license will allow unsupervised driving under certain conditions, but still has a number of restrictions of its own.

Colorado Minor's License Restrictions

If you got your minor's drivers license, you can getting out on the road alone. However, in order to reduce your chances of being involved in a traffic accident, the DMV wants you to observe these rules:

  • No cell phones for license holders who are under 18 years of age.
  • Passenger restrictions. For the first six months, no passengers under the age of 21 are allowed to be in the vehicle unless they are members of the driver's immediate family. For the second six months, no more than one passenger under the age of 21 are allowed to be in the vehicle. Only one passenger is allowed to be in the front seat of the vehicle.
  • Curfew. There is a nighttime driving restriction that does not allow you to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. for the first 12 months following the issuance of the drivers license unless you are accompanied by another licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age.
  • Seat belts. Safety belts must be worn by everyone in the vehicle operated by a minor's license holder.

On your 21st birthday you can apply for an adult drivers license and all these restrictions will be removed.

Colorado Learners Permits

The licensing procedure in Colorado is somewhat confusing due to the fact that four different learners permit, each with its own requirements, can be issued. In order to help you locate the learners permit you need, we compiled short descriptions of all permits available to you.

Colorado Drivers Education Permit

The drivers education permit is available only to the drivers license applicants who are 15 to 15 years, 6 months old. Before you can apply for the drivers education permit, you will need to complete a state-approved Colorado drivers education class and get an Affidavit of Completion. Drivers ed classes can be completed online or through one of the local commercial driving schools, just make sure that the school is accredited by the Colorado DMV so you don't waste your time and money.

Once you have completed the class and got the affidavit of completion, you can visit your nearest DMV office, present the required paperwork and take a Colorado permit test. More than 50 percent of all first time applicants fail the knowledge exam the first time they take it, so even though taking a drivers ed class should have taught you everything you need to know to be able to pass the exam, you may still want to take a Colorado practice permit test to see if you're truly prepared.

Once you get your drivers ed permit, the Colorado graduate license law also requires you to complete at least six hours of driving lessons with a professional driving instructor and 50 hours of supervised driving with an adult licensed driver. You must hold your drivers education permit for at least 12 months before you can apply for a minor's license. During this period, you are to observe all learners permit restrictions that are outlined below.

Colorado Driver Awareness Permit

The driver awareness permit is issued to applicants who are 15 years, 6 months to 16 years of age. Before you can apply for a driver awareness permit, the GDL law requires you to complete a short driver awareness program. The class is not as extensive as drivers ed classes required for a drivers education permit and the information provided in the class won't be enough for passing a learners permit test, so you may want to think of obtaining additional study materials, such as the drivers license handbook and online practice permit tests. The testing requirements for a drivers awareness permit are the same as for the drivers education permit, you still have to take a knowledge exam and a vision test and provide a certificate of completion of a state-approved driver awareness program before you can be issued with a driver awareness permit.

Just like with any other minor's permit, the driver awareness permit must be held for at least 12 months before you can apply for a drivers license. During this period, you must complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with a licensed adult and observe all learners permit restrictions. Once the 12 months are up, you will be able to take a Colorado driver test and obtain your minor's drivers license.

Minor Instruction Permit

The Colorado minor instruction permit can be issued to applicants 16 to 21 years of age. The graduated drivers license law does not require applicants to complete any classes or special programs before this learners permit can be issued, but they are still strongly advised to do so, if only to prepare for the learners permit test. The testing requirements are the same for all types of learners permits and there is no way around taking a vision test and a knowledge exam. Just like other permits that are issued to applicants who are under 21 years of age, the minor instruction permit must be held for at least 12 months and during this time the applicant must complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving. At the end of this period, the applicant can take a driver skills test and obtain a Colorado drivers license.