Auto insurance quotes for teenage drivers in Colorado have always been notoriously expensive and driving laws have been toughened over the past decade in a bid to bring down the number of serious road traffic accidents involving young motorists. Between 2003 and 2008, accident rates involving teen drivers fell by 44% although this figure included an astonishing and sobering statistic; 80% of all Colorado road traffic accident fatalities in 2004 were drivers between the ages of 16 and 19.
In a conscientious effort to reduce these figures, the state of Colorado has implemented the Graduated Licensing Program and tightened laws on DUI driving. If a teenage driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, parents will find themselves liable to prosecution. In many instances, this can result in a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Colorado Graduated Licensing Program and Requirements
Young drivers in Colorado become eligible to apply for an instruction permit as soon as they reach 15 years of age provided they participate in a state-approved driving education program. There is also a mandatory requirement to complete 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training. Six months before their sixteenth birthday, teen motorists can apply for an instruction permit with a reduced total time of 4 hours in terms of training. If an instruction permit is applied for from 16 years of age, no certification from an education program or driving course is required.
Teen drivers under the age of 18 must provide a signed affidavit from a parent or legal guardian before an instruction permit can be issued. Even with the correct certification in place, car insurance quotes will still be extremely expensive.
Driving License Qualification Information
In order to obtain a driving license, young motorists must be able to fulfill the following criteria:
- An instruction permit must be held for a minimum period of 12 months
- A minimum of 50 hours driving experience must be accumulated and this has to include at least 10 hours of driving in the dark
- A clean driving record must be maintained. Any violations relating to the use of cell phones will make the young driver illegible for consideration
As well as meeting a series of standards relating to driving skills, teen drivers in Colorado must also provide detailed information to the local Department of Motor Vehicles to establish their legal identity, place of residence and age. This can be provided in the following manner:
- A social security card
- United States birth certificate
- United States passport
- A certificate pertaining to citizenship of the United States
- Military identification
- A current VA card with photographic identification
- A Colorado Department of Corrections identification card
- A Colorado Federal Bureau of Prisons identification card
Laws in Colorado relating to Teen Drivers
Before obtaining auto insurance quotes, young drivers in Colorado must be aware of the legislation that restricts their driving as this will have an effect on daily road use and insurance requirements. The legislation is enforced under the guidelines presented by the Graduated Licensing Program and motorists under the age of 18 are not allowed to carry passengers under the age of 21 if a license has been held for less than 6 months. The only exception to this legislation is in cases of emergency or if passengers under the age of 21 are siblings. Other restrictions drivers below 18 years of age will face can be listed as follows:
- Only one passenger below 21 years of age can be carried until a license has been held for a full calendar year
- Only one passenger can travel in the front seat
- There must never be more passengers in a vehicle than the number of seatbelts available
- No driving to take place between midnight and 5am until a license has been held for a full calendar year unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The only time exceptions to this rule can be applied is during states of emergency, when a young driver is using the vehicle for a school or work activity or if the driver is emancipated
Teenage drivers in Colorado are also expected to carry proof of insurance at all times. When car insurance quotes are offered and a policy is purchased, the carrier will provide a plastic card which should be kept in the vehicle at all times for presentation purposes. Traffic laws must also be obeyed at all times.
Failure to comply with Colorado state law will result in the suspension of driving privileges for a period of time determined by the courts. During this period, fines may also be applied and some motorists may have to perform community service tasks. A suspension will inevitably lead to higher auto insurance quotes in the future.
Cell Phone Use
Loss of concentration is a major factor in most road traffic accidents and the use of cells phones has seen a large increase in related incidents over recent years. House Bill 1094, passed in 2009, prohibits any motorist below 18 years of age from using a cell phone whilst driving. Those aged between 18 and 21 may only use a cell phone if it is fitted with a hands-free accessory. Disregard of this law is a Class A violation and incremental fines of $50 and upwards will be applied. In addition, a perfect driving record will be instantaneously flawed and this will make car insurance quotes more expensive.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Colorado is a Tort state and all motorists found to be at fault in a road traffic accident are financially responsible for any injuries caused to other drivers. In addition, the at-fault driver is also accountable for any damage caused to third party vehicles and property. Young drivers in Colorado must carry the following levels of mandatory coverage and these requirements should be incorporated into all car insurance quotes:
- $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident
- $15,000 of property damage liability