Connecticut’s Teen Driver’s License and Insurance Requirements

Learn about the requirements for teens to obtain a driver’s license in Connecticut and what insurance is required.

In Connecticut, teens have two routes for obtaining a driver’s license—registered driver’s education and self-study. And once the teen obtains a license, certain restrictions apply until the teen reaches the age of 18.

Instruction Permit

The first step for a teen who wants to obtain a driver’s license is to obtain an instruction permit. A 16 or 17-year-old can apply for an instruction permit (with the consent of a parent or guardian) by passing a written exam.

Driver’s education. Both public and private schools are permitted to host driver’s education courses for youth. The youth can take a written exam and obtain an instruction permit from the driver’s education school and begin practicing with a licensed instructor. After 120 days with the permit, the youth may apply for a driver’s license. The driver’s education school can issue a driver’s license after the teen driver completes 40 hours of driving time, eight hours of driver’s safety education, and the final driving test.

Self-study. Persons who do not proceed through a registered driver’s education course will begin by taking a written and vision exam to obtain their instruction permit (the testing is available at certain DMV locations). This permit allows the youth to drive only with a licensed instructor or an adult who is at least 20 years old and has a driver’s license. However, the applicant’s parent or guardian is required to complete two hours of instruction concerning the rules and regulations for youth drivers. After 180 days with the permit, the youth may apply for a driver’s license with the DMV. To obtain the license, the youth must show completion of eight hours of driver’s safety education, 40 hours of behind-the-wheel time, pass the final driving test, and pay a $72 fee.

Restrictions

Even after obtaining a driver’s license, drivers until the age of 18 have specific rules applicable to only them:

  • Youth drivers are not permitted to operate a vehicle between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., except for religious, school, or employment purposes.
  • For the first six months of licensure, youth drivers may not have any passengers other than instructors, parents, or immediate family members.

Any violation of these restrictions will result in the police officer immediately seizing the driver’s license for 48 hours. After the 48 hours have passed, the driver can retrieve the license at the police station if accompanied by a parent or guardian. If found guilty of these infractions, the driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days. For a second offense, the driver’s license will be suspended for six months or until the age of 18, whichever is longer.

Additionally, drivers under the age of 18 are subject to increased penalties for certain offenses:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Using a cellphone while driving

$150 fine, 30-day suspension

$300 fine, 90-day suspension

$500 fine, 6-month suspension

Speeding 20+ miles per hour over the limit

60-day suspension, fine

90-day suspension, fine

6-month suspension, fine

Reckless driving

6-month suspension

1-year suspension

1-year suspension

Street racing

6-month suspension

1-year suspension

1-year suspension

Violations for excessive speeding, reckless driving, and street racing also include the normal fines, penalties, and possibly jail time, depending on the severity of the offense.

Insurance

Before any driver can operate a vehicle in Connecticut, the vehicle must be properly insured. In Connecticut, the mandatory insurance requirements are:

  • Liability coverage. Must include at least $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 property damage per accident.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured coverage. Must include at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.

Failure to display valid insurance is a $50 infraction. But failure to hold the required coverage results in a $100 to $1000 fine and license suspension. The driver’s license will be suspended for one month on the first offense and six months for a second or subsequent offense.

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