Colorado Graduated Driver Licensing

When can a teen get a learner’s permit?
  • Minimum age 15, if enrolled in a state-approved driver’s education program.
  • Minimum age 15 ½ after successfully completing a 4-hour driver awareness course.
  • Minimum age 16 if none of the above.
    All new drivers under age 18 require a parent/legal guardian’s signed affidavit to obtain a learner’s permit.
What does a teen under 18 with a learner’s permit need to do before applying for a driver’s license?
  • Hold a learner’s permit for at least one year.
  • 50 logged hours of driving time with a responsible, licensed adult prior to obtaining a license. 10 of those supervised hours must be nighttime driving.
  • A teen under age 16 with a learner's permit may not drive with anyone except their driving instructor, parent, or legal guardian.
  • Teens age 16 and older with learners’ permits may drive with any licensed driver 21 years of age and older.
  • No cell phones while driving.*
What rules apply to licensed drivers under age 18?
  • No passengers under age 21 until the driver holds a valid driver’s license for at least six months (siblings and passengers with medical emergencies excepted).**
  • No more than one passenger under age 21 until the driver holds a valid driver’s license for at least one year (siblings and passengers with medical emergencies excepted).**
  • No more than one passenger in the front seat of a vehicle driven by a person under age 17, and the number of passengers in the back seat must not exceed the number of seat belts. All passengers with drivers under seventeen must wear seatbelts.
  • No driving between midnight and 5 a.m. until the driver holds a valid driver’s license for at least one year, unless accompanied by a parent/legal guardian.** Exceptions: Driving to a school or school-authorized activity and the school does not provide transportation (signed statement from school required), Driving to/from work (signed statement from employer required), Medical emergency, Driver is an emancipated minor
  • No drinking and driving
  • Obey all traffic Laws
  • Carry proof of insurance

*Effective August 10, 2005 **Effective July 1, 2005

What's New in Graduated Driver Licensing?

Governor Bill Owens and Colorado Legislators have just added important features to Colorado’s graduated licensing laws by limiting the number of young passengers a new teen driver may carry, having a curfew through the first year of a new driver’s license, and prohibiting cell phone use while driving with a learner’s permit. Each of these factors limits dangerous situations and distractions, allowing new teen drivers to focus on the task at hand: Driving safely between point A and point B. The new laws take effect this summer.


Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws are designed to give young, novice drivers more experience behind the wheel and limit driving in high-risk situations while they are in the learning stages. States began enacting GDL laws in the 1990s. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, effective GDL laws require a learner’s permit stage of at least six months with 30-50 hours of supervised driving, and an intermediate stage with limits on night driving and passenger restrictions.

Colorado’s first parts of graduated driver’s licensing went into effect July 1, 1999. The law required teens to drive supervised a minimum of six months with their instructional permits, log 50 hours of driving time with parents or driving instructors (including 10 nighttime hours), no driving for drivers under age 17 between midnight and 5 a.m., and young licensed drivers had to limit passengers to the number of seatbelts in the car.

In 2004, Colorado strengthened the law by raising the minimum learner’s permit age to 16 unless a driver takes a drivers education course at age 15, or passes 4-hour driver awareness course at 15 years 6 months. The new law also lengthened the permit period to 12 months.

Teen driving statistics

  • 96 16-20 year-olds died on Colorado roadways in 2004; Of those, 44 were 16-17 years old.
  • In 2004, 65.6% of Colorado teens killed in car crashes did not wear seat belts.
  • In 2004, nearly 80% of teen passengers who died in car crashes were riding with teen drivers.
  • As of December 31, 2004, there were 218,581 licensed teen drivers ages 16-20 in Colorado. Teen drivers represent nearly seven percent of the licensed drivers in Colorado.
  • 16 year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age, and are three times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than other drivers.
  • A study released by the National Institute of Health in 2005 found that the part of the brain that controls risk-taking and impulsive behavior is not fully developed until age 25.
  • Graduated licensing laws around the country appear to be making a difference. The overall number of 16-year-old drivers fell from 1,084 in 1993 to 938 in 2003 despite an 18% increase in the 16-year-old population.
What is Colorado Graduated Driver Licensing?

What is Colorado GDL? Colorado Graduated Driver Licensing is a system for phasing in on-road driving, allowing beginners to get their initial experience under conditions that involve lower risk and introducing them in stages to more complex driving situations.

Take some time to watch the Young Drivers video here. See if your teen likes this video. If they do, they will love our Colorado graduated driver licensing program.

  • We begin with combining the in-class with the behind-the-wheel training process concurrent with one another.
  • Then we add more hours behind-the-wheel to give the new drivers an opportunity to experience all four seasons and weather conditions under a controlled risk factor.
  • We take away the 6 hour driver training clock and base achievement and graduation on performance, skill and experience.

Remember when we were trying to teach our new teenagers as if we were traveling on a two-lane dirt road at 35 MPH, when our average traveled speed in Colorado exceeds 55 MPH on a six-lane highway? Most families had a single vehicle in the fifties and sixties, and then to two vehicles in the seventies. The days of driving on weekends with mom and dad for the first year or two is over. In today’s hectic schedules, we are not allowing ourselves time to protect our Colorado teens and teach them to drive as we should be. Parents need to realize that as the times change we must keep pace with that change.

Our driving generation, 35 to 50 years old, will be remembered as the worse driving generation in the history of the vehicle. We average 40,000 fatalities per year. Our generation needs to change the way we think and teach Colorado graduated driver licensing.

If you look closely, you'll realize we spend about 12 years on basic education, reading writing, math, history and physical education…and only 6 hours behind the wheel training in a vehicle.

We need to be remembered as the generation that created the best Colorado drivers in history. The generation that did something about the way we think and teach driver training. We need help from every mom and dad to complete this goal. We need to invest our time in our teenagers and take the time needed to teach our children to drive better.

This could mean as much as 1 or two years of guidance. And to do this you will need the very best Colorado curriculum and training videos available. You will need to allow Colorado graduated driver licensing to become part of your families dinner conversation and sharing experiences on new intersections, changes on the interstate on ramps or maybe a lost of a fellow student friend.

Colorado Driver education and training is no longer a project to hire out to the local driving school. Parents need to get involved and stay involved for at least two or three years. Placing driving restrictions and hours on when a new driver is allowed to drive and with whom. This, in essence, is Colorado Graduated Driver Licensing.


Online Video Library

As soon as you enroll, the student will have access to over 7 hours of excellent quality video content at the click of the button. All graduated driver licensing videos are also available on our Video Library DVD featured below. The online program is easy to follow, and provides over 100 video clips throughout the course to guide the teen driver along the way. A high speed internet access is required.

What is Graduated Driver Licensing?

Essentially an apprentice system, graduated driver licensing utilizes three stages. the first is a supervised learner's period, lasting a minimum of 6 months in optimal systems, then an intermediate licensing phase that allows unsupervised driving, but only in less risky situations, and finally a full-privilege license becomes available when requirements of the first two stages have been met.

Within this framework, substantial variation is possible in terms of the provisions of the stages and their duration. This variation often has created difficulty for jurisdictions that are producing a graduated driver licensing system. Lawmakers need to know what sections their system should include and what the features should be.

About Us About Us

NDT's foundational curriculum combines the at-home or classroom study with hands-on activities, focusing on all parts of the mind while examing the young driver's grasp of the lesson. Not only does this make concepts easier to learn and remember, it’s a blast!

There are seven levels to the curriculum, providing over 30 hours of accreditation. Each lesson ends with a written exam, which can be taken repeatedly if necessary to achieve the desired score.