Graduated Driver Licensing laws in Colorado
Article and photo by Catalin Varela
With summer break upon us, teens in the 80108 area have buckled up and hit the road for summer fun activities. As the adult ultimately responsible for their actions, make sure you and your teen drivers are informed on the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws in Colorado.
Though the laws pertaining to hourly driving requirements or the number of passengers a teen can carry and when may seem confusing or even daunting, the number one most important thing to remember is to eliminate distractions and make sure everyone in the car (driver and passengers) are wearing seat belts, according to Castle Rock Police Department Commander Todd Brown.
Brown encourages parents to set a good example for their student drivers by following the laws and driving safely. He reminds us that for the first six months of a minor holding a driver’s license, teens may not have any passengers younger than the age of 21 other than siblings and medical emergencies. Additionally, minors may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. and ALL cellphone use is prohibited.
In regard to cellphone use, Brown said “When you hear that ring or vibrate just don’t answer it! If we, as parents can instill that in our kids, it allows them to focus, it allows them to learn, and they develop a habit. I have four kids. When they get to the driving age, if I can instill no use of cellphones while driving right off the bat, then they can carry the habit into their later years.”
Brown also emphasized the importance of teaching young drivers how to be safely contacted by a police officer. Remind your young driver to always pull to a safe spot on the right side of the road. If your teen driver mentions that they have been contacted by a police officer, review the incident, ask questions and make it a learning experience. Because at the end of the day, we all learn from our mistakes.
Finally, Brown said with a warm smile, “If young drivers have any questions, police officers are always available.”
To review the full list of GDL laws in Colorado, visit the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicle website at www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/minor-license.