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New Year Brings New Law for New Adult Drivers

The DMV is reversing 106 years of history by now requiring adults to obtain a learner's permit before they can get a driver's license in Connecticut.

Changing 106 years of history in Connecticut, new adult drivers will have to hold a learner's permit for three-months before they can take a road test for a driver's license starting today, Jan. 2.

Highway safety issues, including the need to better understand how to operate a vehicle, and learning through practice driving prompted the need for this requirement, according to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

"Cars are more sophisticated today, traveling roads can be more dangerous for inexperienced drivers and some form of a learning period is required now for those over 18, just as we have done for those under 18," said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey when DMV made the announcement of the change in early December.

The DMV expects that more than 30,000 people annually will be affected by this change. These include teens who delayed licensing to avoid the state's restrictions on 16- and 17-year-old drivers. The 18- and 19-year-olds this year account for about 11,000 who will need a learner's permit as an adult.

The new requirement changes 106 years of history in which an adult had no required training period to complete prior to obtaining a driver's license.

Highlights of the new requirement:

  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, the state will require an adult learner's permit for new drivers who are 18 years old and over other than those holding a valid driver's license from another state.
  • The adult learner's permit must be held a minimum of 90 days prior to taking a road test.
  • Applicants will get the adult learner permit when they pass the 25-question knowledge test and vision test.
  • They will be required under state law to take the current eight-hour safe driving practices course at driving school. Passed in 2008, the law mandates that new first-time license holders must attend this course at a driving school. The cost is set by state law at $125.
  • While holding the adult learner's permit, they will need in the vehicle a qualified trainer who is either a licensed driving instructor or any driver who is over 20 years-old who has held a license for four or more consecutive years and has not been suspended at any time in the last four years.
  • Anyone over 18 who has taken the 25-question knowledge test prior to Jan. 1, 2013, will have until April 1 to obtain a license and will not need to get a learner's permit.
  • Until April 1, any adult receiving on-the-road training with a licensed driving instructor does not need an adult learner's permit.

While many states offer some version of a learner's permit for adults, Connecticut will be among a few that require it. Safety experts applaud Connecticut's step toward having a required driving practice period for adults.

"There is more license delay than there used to be, so there are more novices 18 and older, and they are vulnerable during the learner period. Connecticut has been in the forefront of GDL policy making, and has one of the strongest licensing systems in the country. This new policy extends their leadership in protecting Connecticut drivers," said Allan F. Williams, an authority on driving safety and an associate of Preusser Research Group, in Trumbull, which does safety studies for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Dr. David S. Shapiro, trauma surgeon at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center and researcher in crash prevention, added, "Automobile collisions are frequent causes of injuries—both mild and severe—we see every day in our trauma centers. The addition of an adult learner's permit can help to add confidence and safety to the inexperienced but mature driver."

The new law also carries a safety benefit for the teens who may try to avoid a training period when 16 or 17 years old, said Dr. Brendan Campbell, medical director of the Pediatric Trauma Program at Connecticut Children's. "Now they will be required to obtain additional driving experience under conditions of lower crash risk," Campbell said.

The above report is based on a press release from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles.

Paul Bahre January 02, 2013 at 02:23 PM
The People's Republik of CT never required permits at all for anyone. Then they decided to grab some cash, because that is all socialist oppressive governments know how to do and they forced all our children to get learner permits. They claimed it was under the guise of public safety, what a crock. Now they want to grab some more cash and force all adult drives to do the same. They have been doing this for motorcycle endorsements since like 1983. It's all about money and not about safety. We as citizen's of this totalitarian state must wake up and vote out all the idiots in Hartford, all of them and replace them with a bunch that actually have working synapses in their craniums.
JCR January 02, 2013 at 05:55 PM
There are alot of adult drivers that do not know the rules of the road. Safety should come first. If you read it properly. You do not have to take the 12.005 training course. How about being happy that its a new year and you are alive in a state that actually cares about the safety of other people on the road.I am one of these people that will have to get the adult permit ,.I am not griping.
Paul Bahre January 02, 2013 at 06:36 PM
JCR, that is not my point. I never said do not learn to drive or take a driving class. The People's Republik of CT, never forced anyone to take any driver classes, even the youngsters. Forcing people to get driver's permits has nothing to do with learning to drive, it's about sticking people for a few dollars when before they never had to shell out for a permit. The State of CT cares nothing for it's "Subjects" (citizens) It only cares about making it harder and harder to live here and to subjected people to more and more onerous regulations and taxes. As for someone who is from the GOD Forsaken Land, I feel like a God Dammed Prisoner and I my desire some day is to dump my house and get to a state where real free people live.
Dimmie Campbell January 02, 2013 at 07:23 PM
I believe that ANY new driver should have to learn to drive in the WINTER! So many people don't have a clue any more. Four wheel drive does not mean you can stop any better. I am not a poke behind the wheel, but learned how to drive in the snow and ice, something I see little evidence of lately.
Paul Bahre January 03, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Learning to drive and having to have a permit are 2 different things. Don't get them confused. With a permit a person can drive with someone over 18 who has had a license over 2 years. Before we started to use permits the law was exactly the same. The only thing the permits do is to fill the coffers of the CT State Treasury. It's just another tax/fee that hit people up for when the never did before. Are you people, my fellow CT citizens and residents, sick and tired of getting hit with an new tax and fee every time you turn around and have our lawmakers make us feel its for our own good. More taxes and fees are always for the good of the law maker and never good for the tax payer. Get a clue folks and vote the clowns out !!!

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