Information & Tips To Make You A Better Driver

What Your Teen Driver Should Know about the Driver's Test in Colorado

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 21, 2017 2:11:29 PM / by Lindsey Robideau

What Teen Drivers Should Know about the Driver's Test

Getting a Colorado driver’s license for minors is a strictly regulated process, largely because teenagers are a high-risk driving group, as evidenced by numerous traffic and driving fatality statistics across the country. As such, teen drivers must pass two types of Colorado driver’s tests to obtain a driver’s license:

  • Written permit test
  • Actual road test

But what happens when your teenager successfully passes each test? 

Read on as we attempt to answer that question.

The written test

A teenage driver at least 15 years old must pass the written driving test to obtain a learner’s driving permit. This provisionary license allows your child to practice driving behind the wheel with the supervision of a licensed adult or a driver’s ed instructor.

If you, the parent, are unable or unavailable, the state allows you to designate another licensed adult as your child’s driving supervisor.

Driver’s permits are mailed to the address you provide and should arrive within 30 days. They expire after three years from the date of issuance, and if your child is under the age of 18, they must hold the permit for at least 12 months before taking the road test.

If they between the ages of 18 and 21, your child may proceed with driver’s license application at any time after getting her driver’s permit.

Actual driving test

Teen drivers must at least be 16 years old to apply for a driver’s license. They also must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Mandatory driver’s permit holding period of at least 12 months for teenagers under 18
  • Behind-the-wheel practice with a driving instructor for six hours if between the ages of 16 and 16 ½, (or 12 hours of practice with a qualified driving supervisor if no state-accredited driving institution exists within 30 miles of your residence)
  • Supervised practice driving of 50 hours, 10 hours of which are at night

They will then be required to pass the road skills test, which can be administered either at your local DMV office or a certified driving school.

Just like the driver’s permit, your child’s driver’s license will be mailed to the address specified in their application and should arrive within 30 days. After 30 days and it is yet to arrive, contact the issuing office.

Driver’s license restrictions you and your child must be aware of, if they are under 18:

1) Unless in the company of a licensed adult at least 21 years old who has held their license for at least one year, in a medical emergency, or when minor passengers are all family members and each wearing their seatbelts:
  • Cannot drive with a passenger under 21 until your child has held her license for at least six months
  • Cannot drive with more than one passenger under 21 until your child has held her license for at least one year
  • Only one passenger in the front seat

2) The number of passengers in the back seat cannot be more than the number of seatbelts.

3) Everyone in the vehicle, including the teen driver, must wear their seatbelts at all times.

4) No driving between midnight and 5 a.m. until your child has held their license for at least one year, except when:

  • In the company of a licensed adult aged 21 and older who has held their driver’s license for at least one year
  • In an emergency
  • Your child is driving to and from school with a signed statement from the school
  • Your child is driving to and from work with a signed statement from the employer

Driver’s licenses expire 20 days after your child turns 21. Better to renew early or at most within a year after expiry. Renewing after one year of expiry will require them to retake both the written and road tests.

To recap

  • Your teenager must at least be 15 years old to take the written driving test and obtain a driving permit. Permit types will depend on their age.
  • The driving permit lets them hone their skills behind the wheel with the supervision of a licensed adult. They can then start logging the mandatory practice hours and behind-the-wheel training hours with a driving instructor (or an alternative adult supervisor in the absence of a driving institute within 30 miles of your home address).
  • Your teenager must at least be 16 years old and has held their driver’s permit for at least one year to apply for a driver’s license and take the road skills test.
  • You should receive your child’s driving permit or license within 30 days at the address indicated in their application. Otherwise, follow up with the licensing office.
  • Educate your child on the driving restrictions for licensed drivers under 18 to avoid any run-ins with the law.

Final word

Your teenage driver must pass two type of tests to obtain a driver’s license: the written test for the driver’s permit and the road skills test for the minor’s driver’s license. Both driving permit and license carry privileges and limitations that your child must be aware of at all times.

If you have any questions on the written permit test or road skills exam, we can help you. Give us a call to speak with any of our experienced driving instructors or if you want to enroll your teenager in any of our driving courses.

Topics: Drivers Ed

Lindsey Robideau

Written by Lindsey Robideau

New Call-to-action

Subscribe to Email Updates