If you want to pass the Colorado permit test and eventually become a fully licensed driver in Colorado, you will need to learn about the state’s graduated license program. The (GDL), a multistage process that begins with getting your learner’s permit. The process exists to help you become comfortable with the rules of the road as well as behind the wheel. Over time you will be become a better and more knowledgeable driver.
In Colorado, the GDL program consists of obtaining a:
- Instruction permit (or learner’s permit)
- Minor driver’s license
- Full driver’s license
In this guide, you will learn how to pass the Colorado permit test, receive your minor driver’s license and eventually move on to get your full license.
There are three types of instruction permits (or learner’s permits) in the state of Colorado: the driver’s education permit, the driver’s awareness permit and the minor instruction permit.
The state of Colorado requires that all new drivers age 16 or under complete state-approved driver’s education training before they can apply for an instruction permit. You may begin a training program as early as 14 and a half years of age, which will make you eligible to apply for a driver’s education permit at 15 years of age. When you are 15 and a half, you can apply for your driver’s awareness permit after completing a four-hour driver awareness course.
If you would like to skip these classes, you will need to wait until you are 16 years of age, when you can finally apply for your minor instruction permit, which is the general learner’s permit most people are familiar with.
Study, Study, Study
No matter when you apply for your instruction permit, you will be required to take a written exam. More commonly known as the permit test, this exam will test your knowledge of the rules of the road as well as various traffic signs and signals. Spend plenty of time studying before you take the test. Reading the entire handbook and going back over areas you don’t feel sure about will do a lot to ensure success. We provide a free copy of the Colorado Driver’s Manual for you to use.
Take Practice Exams
After you’ve studied the handbook, you should consider taking some practice exams to prepare yourself for the test. Our Colorado practice permit test includes much of the same material you will find on the real test, and taking it is a great way to up your chances of passing.
Visit Your Local Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Take the Written Test
Before you go to take your test, you should ensure that you have all the required materials:
- A state-certified birth certificate or other form of identification from the state’s accepted list
- Your social security card
- 14 for license and testing fees
- Proof of your Colorado residency and address
- A completed Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship with a witnessed signature by a notary or motor vehicle officer
- An Affidavit of Enrollment in Driver’s Education if you are applying for your driver’s education permit
Take your time while completing the exam. To pass, you must make a score of 80 percent or higher. You will also be required to take a vision test to make sure you can see well enough to drive safely.
There are certain limitations for each of the Colorado instruction permits:
- With a driver’s education permit, you may only practice driving with a course instructor or the guardian who signed the affidavit
- With the driver’s awareness permit, you can only drive with the guardian who signed the liability affidavit until you turn 16
- With a minor instruction permit, you can only drive with a licensed driver over 21 years of age
Minor Driver’s License
When you are 16 years of age, have held an instruction permit for at least one year and have completed all the required training hours, you are eligible to apply for your minor driver’s license. Requirements include six hours of behind-the-wheel training and passing a driving test. If you took a driver awareness course as a part of your learner’s permit preparation, you can include that time as part of your six-hour requirement.
Be aware that there is a $21 fee to receive your minor driver’s license, and it comes with some restrictions:
- For the first year, you can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless you are going to school, work or church, there is a medical emergency, or you are accompanied by your parent or guardian
- For the first six months, you can’t drive with passengers under age 21 unless the passengers are family members, a guardian is present or you are taking care of a medical emergency
- For the second six months, you can only have one passenger under the age of 21
- Until you are 18 years of age, you can’t use a cell phone while driving, even if it has a hands-free option
- You and everyone in the car must always wear seat belts
When you reach age 18, your license will no longer be restricted. It will remain valid until 20 days after you turn 21, and at that time, you will be required to go to the DMV to exchange it for an adult license.
If you are moving to Colorado and need to transfer your license from another state, you must visit the DMV office, surrender your old driver’s license or permit, show proof of your new Colorado address and pay the fees listed in the above sections. In certain cases, additional identification may be required.