Graduated Licensing Information for Teen Drivers

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Graduated Licensing Information for Teen Drivers

Options for Parents

Young, inexperienced drivers, particularly 16- to 17-year-olds, are significantly over-represented in fatal crashes. Our research tells us that immaturity and inexperience are primary factors contributing to these deadly crashes by young drivers. Parents can support their future teen driver by understanding the options available when it comes to driver’s education and encouraging their teen to get as much training as possible. There are three ways to help improve teen survival:

  • Parent involvement with the teen’s driving during and after the permit phase.
  • Graduated Driver Licensing laws (GDL).
  • Teaching teens advanced crash avoidance skills.

Training Options

Generally speaking, some sort of classroom-based education is required before a teen can obtain a drivers permit. Once the youth has a permit, they will need to log 50 hours of drive-time over the course of one year before applying for a license. There are a variety of training options available:

  • Driver’s Ed Course – This is a minimum 30-hour classroom-based course that covers all aspects of driving, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation. If the goal is to get a license on the 16th birthday, enrollment in a private for profit company is necessary.
  • Driver Awareness Program – This is a minimum four-hour classroom-based course that encourages safe driving practices and taking responsibility for your behavior by adopting sound decision-making skills, offering tips for resistance to peer pressure, and educating on the consequences of reckless and/or inattentive driving. The South Metro Safety Foundation offers this class.
  • Teen Crash Avoidance Driving Skills – This is a seven-hour behind-the-wheel class taught by the South Metro Safety Foundation and focuses on teaches crash avoidance techniques, skid control and recovery, threshold braking, arm lock and hand-to-hand steering, off-road recovery, and visual perception training. This course is not required by the State of Colorado for a permit of for a drivers license; however, it provides advanced driving skills and is taught by off-duty law enforcement offices and firefighters. This is offered at the Fire Training Facility in Parker and costs $175.
    • Threshold Braking – Braking at the threshold of lock up while avoiding a skid or spin
    • Crash Avoidance – Maintaining control of the vehicle while maneuvering out of harms way
    • Skid Control and Recovery – Maneuvering and braking on icy, snowy, or slippery surfaces and recovery from a skid or spin
    • Off-Road Recovery – Teaching car-control techniques when uneven road surfaces are encountered
    • Defensive Driving – Encouraging the consistent use of defensive techniques such as: “Hand to Hand Feed,” “Aim-High Vision Technique,” proper braking, as well as stressing the critical importance of proper hand positioning for quick reaction and controlled steering.

For more about driving schools, permit applications, and testing locations, go to the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles website