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Are you worried about your teen driving? While it may help with your own convenience, it can also lead to some sleepless nights. The Next Street is here to help – not only to teach your teen the right way to drive, but also to help you be a “good coach.” Use the following tips and tricks to set your house rules now so there are no questions later.
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For Parents: Connecticut New Teen Driver Requirements
In order to begin the Driver’s Licensing process in CT, your teen must be 16 years old.
Your teen cannot test for their Learner’s Permit or begin Driver’s Education until their 16th birthday.
In Connecticut, the new license process is all overseen by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The Next Street recommends your teen schedule their Permit Test as they are nearing their 16th birthday.
The DMV wait times for a Learner’s Permit can be 8-14 weeks.
Your teen must hold a Learner’s Permit for 120 (If they take the Full Driver Education Course) or 180 days (If they take the minimum requirement 8 Hour Safe Driver Education Course).
While holding their permit, your teen is required to log 40 hours of time behind the wheel. This time can either be done with a Driving School or with anyone that has had their license for 4 years, with no suspensions.
After your teen has completed the required driving time and held their Permit for the required wait period, they will take their Driver’s License Test – which is a 20-30 minute behind the wheel assessment.
Upon obtaining their Driver’s License, your New Teen Driver is subject to the Connecticut Graduated License Laws until they expire or your teen turns 18 years old, whichever comes first.
Important Note: By CT law, students under 18 can only attend ONE class on school days and TWO classes on non-school days.
Parent’s Involvement in Teen Driver Training
When your teen is learning to drive, you are going to want to be involved. We encourage that involvement. In fact, the more reinforcement of the laws, safety regulations and proper driving techniques that your teen gets, the better.
The State of Connecticut requires that all new divers under the age of 18 have a minimum of 40 hours of behind the wheel practice with a qualified trainer before they can test for their license.
To be considered a Qualified Trainer, you must be must be 20 or older, and have held a driver license for at least 4 years with no suspensions during the past 4 years.
As long as these requirements are met, Qualified Trainers can include the spouse of a married minor (under 18) applicant, a parent, grandparent, foster parent or legal guardian.
If the applicant has no spouse, parent, grandparent, foster parent or guardian who is qualified & available: a step parent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, by blood or marriage.
The Parent as a Driving Coach
While The Next Street offers additional Private Driving Instruction, many parents want to spend some time driving with your teen.
If you are serving as a Driving Coach, seeing how your teen is progressing can be very eye opening.
Questions to ask yourself include:
What are their strong suits?
Where do they need improvement?
Are they having trouble learning how to back out of a space?
Go over information with your teen a few times. The more they are exposed to the actual task of driving, the better they will become at it.
We have a very useful Parent/Student Driving Log to help you and your teen reach those 40 hours while providing a general outline of what to practice.
As a first step, there is a mandatory 2 hour Parent Class – which both you and your teen must attend.
If you are unable to attend the 2 hour Parent Class, your teen will be unable to test until they are 18 years old.
The Parent Class will cover such topics as State Teen Laws, Social Host Laws, and your role as a Driving Coach.
Teen Driving Restrictions
In the State of Connecticut, there are certain driving restrictions for 16 and 17 year olds, both when they have a Learner’s Permit and a Driver's License.
With a Learner’s Permit, the only passenger a 16 or 17 year old can have is a parent, legal guardian or Qualified Trainer for the duration of the permit. However, a parent or guardian may accompany the Driving Instructor on any driving lessons.
All passengers in the vehicle must use permanently installed seat belts.
Any cell phone (even if hands-free) or other mobile electronic device may not be used while driving. This includes any hand-held computer or other device with a video display.
For the first 6 monthsafter obtaining a Driver’s License, a 16 or 17 year old may only drive with a Licensed Driving Instructor, their parents or legal guardian (at least one of whom holds a valid driver license) – or a person providing instruction who is at least 20 years old, has held a license for at least 4 years with no suspensions during the last 4 years.
For the second 6 months after obtaining a Driver’s License, a 16 or 17 year old may drive with the above people or with immediate family (such as brothers and sisters).
Untilthey turn 18, your teen may not drive between hours of 11pm – 5am unless it is for employment, school, religious activities or a medical necessity.