To obtain a driver’s license in Colorado, teenage drivers must pass two types of tests: the written permit test and the actual road test. Teenagers passing their written tests with flying colors and then failing their road tests are not unheard of. These scenarios are pretty common, in fact.
Therefore, it is worth emphasizing that new drivers must pass BOTH tests to get a driver’s license. It is not enough that you are enrolled in an appropriate driving course or have logged the requisite number of practice hours. You still must pass the road test to progress from being a permit driver to a licensed driver.
The Colorado driver’s permit
The Colorado driver’s permit is what the DMV issues to teenagers aged 15 and older upon passing the written test. Keep in mind that the permit type you get, including its corresponding requirements, will depend on your age, as stipulated in the Colorado Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program.
- 15 - 15 ½. Driver’s education permit. Required: 30-hour driver’s education from a licensed driving institute.
- 15 ½ - 16. Driver’s awareness permit. Required: Driver’s education OR a four-hour driver awareness course also from an accredited driving school.
- 16 and older. Minor learner’s permit. No formal driving education required. However, you still must pass the written exam, so be sure to review the Colorado driver’s handbook before taking the test.
Once you are issued a driving permit, you can start doing the following:
- Practice driving behind the wheel with either a professional driving instructor or a designated adult supervisor who is at least 21 years old and has held a driver’s license for at least one year.
- Log the required practice driving time of 50 hours, including 10 at night.
From permit driver to licensed driver
If you are at least 16 years old and have held your driver’s permit for a minimum of one year, you are ready to apply for a driver’s license. Again, you must pass the road test to obtain a driver’s license.
The road test can be taken at a driving school. Otherwise, schedule a drive test appointment with the DMV.
Driver’s license application prerequisites to be aware of:
- You are at least 16 years old.
- You have held your driver’s permit for at least 12 months.
- You have completed the 50 hours required drive time, 10 of which for nighttime driving.
- If you are 16 to 16 ½, you must also complete six hours of behind-the-wheel training with a driver education instructor. If no accredited driving school is within 30 miles of your residence, a 12-hour behind-the-wheel training with an approved driving supervisor is required.
- Teenage drivers must at least be 15 to apply for a driver’s permit.
- You must pass the vision and written permit tests to obtain a permit.
- To qualify, teenage drivers aged 15 to 15 ½ must present proof (certificate of completion) that they have taken the mandatory driver’s education program from a DMV-approved driving school.
- Teenage drivers aged 15 ½ to 16 can complete either the driver’s education course OR the four-hour driver awareness program.
- Teenage drivers must at least be 16 years old to apply for a driver’s license.
- They must pass the road test.
- If they are under 18, they should have held their driver’s permit for at least 12 months and have completed the mandatory 50 hours of practice driving (10 hours of which at night).
- If they are between the ages of 16 and 16 ½, an additional six hours of behind-the-wheel training with a driver’s ed instructor is required (or its equivalent 12 hours with an approved driving instructor, if no driving school exists within 30 miles of their residence).
Teenage drivers must pass the road test to go from permit driver to a licensed driver in Colorado. As such, remember to never take your driving lessons for granted. Practice and keep practicing with a driving professional or an experienced adult driver until you have mastered not just the rules of the road but the techniques required to become a safe, responsible driver.
For additional questions on driving permits and how to obtain a driver’s license in Colorado, give us a call and we would be happy to assist.
You may also check out our available courses for your teenage driver by clicking here.