Getting a Colorado Drivers Permit
Colorado teenagers usually can’t wait to get their drivers permits and hit the road for the first time. It’s one of the most exciting rites of passage in our culture. As exciting and empowering as it all can be, though, it’s also statistically the most dangerous time to be on the road. In fact, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers, and their fatality rate is four times greater than that of older adult drivers.
The Dangers of Teen Driving
Beginner drivers need experience in real-life conditions in order to become comfortable on the road. Generally, this lack of experience makes teenagers more reckless and overconfident in their abilities. They lack the same facilities of a fully-developed brain that allow for a more complete analysis of a potentially dangerous situation.
While a responsible teen is clearly capable of driving safely under the right circumstances, parents still need to be extra careful about introducing them to the world of driving. It is also the reason the state of Colorado places restrictions on when and how teenagers can first legally get behind the wheel of a car.
Permits for 15-Year-Olds
A teen can apply for a drivers permit as early as their 15th birthday, but they must present a certificate of completion of a Colorado drivers course or behind-the-wheel (BTW) training. These classes give teens their first taste of real, applicable education on safe driving practices.
Colorado teens who are at least 15 years and six months of age can receive their driver awareness permit if they have completed a four-hour driver awareness program. Driver awareness programs allow for a much more comprehensive understanding of the physical and emotional aspects of keeping control of a vehicle on the road today.
Permits for Age 16 through 21
After age 16, the restrictions get much looser. You only need to provide a birth certificate and some other form of government ID, as well as pass the standard vision and writing tests. If you can demonstrate your competency now for at least 12 months, you’ll be ready to take your drivers license test and become a real independent driver.
Remember, a Colorado drivers permit is not the same thing as a drivers license. There are heavy restrictions on how it can be used. You can only drive with an approved instructor, or the person who has signed your Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship. Additionally, your drivers permit only remains valid for three years, after which you will have to renew it and essentially start the process over again. If you can agree to these rules however, having a drivers permit is the next best thing to calling yourself a licensed driver.
Make the most out of this time to cautiously extend your driving abilities out into less controllable conditions. When you feel 110% sure of your ability to act safely and responsibly behind the wheel, talk to your parents about going in for your Colorado license test. The more you practice, the greater chance you will have of passing it on your very first attempt. Good luck!