Overview of 16 and 17 Year Old Driver Restrictions

Sadly, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for 15-19 year old teenagers. There is a pamphlet that you may print out on the ct.gov/dmv website that summarizes the safety risks that teenagers assume when getting behind the wheel, as well as the adult’s obligations when having a teenager behind the wheel. Due to the serious consequences of car accidents involving teenagers, driving restrictions have been imposed on Connecticut drivers under the age of 18. You can learn more about these restrictions here.

If you teenagers who have just received their license or permit, or you have children who are about to start learning to drive, you should understand what the restrictions are for teenage drivers in Connecticut. Teenagers get passenger and curfew violations all the time in Connecticut because they either do not know about the special restrictions, or they do not understand the consequences of these violations.

Learner’s Permit Restrictions

First, there are restrictions on 16 and 17 year old drivers who drive with a learner’s permit. A parent, legal guardian, or qualified trainer must be in the car with the driver. No one else is allowed in the car with a 16 or 17 year old who has their learner’s permit. There is no curfew restriction for these drivers. These drivers are restricted from using any cell phone device while driving, even hands-free devices.

License Restrictions

Second, there are specific restrictions for 16 and 17 year old drivers who have a license. These drivers may not have any passengers in the car with them in the first six months of driving except for driving instructors, legal guardians, or someone at least 20 years old and is providing instruction and has had a license for at least four years without any license suspensions in the past four years. These drivers may not have any other passengers that do not qualify as one of the three exceptions mentioned above. The accident risk increases by each passenger in the car, and this law is in place in order to limit the amount of distraction on a new driver.

Curfew Restrictions

These drivers cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m unless it is for work, school, religious activities, or medical necessity. Fatal car accidents are more likely to occur at night. There are exceptions to this rule which include those who are volunteer firemen, volunteer EMTs, and assigned drivers in a Safe Ride Program. All 16 and 17 year old drivers must have permanently installed seat belts and cannot use cell phones in the car, including hands-free devices. These drivers are not allowed to drive public service vehicles, commercial motor vehicles, or vanpool vehicles.

Motorcycle Driver Restrictions

Third, there are restrictions for 16 and 17 year old motorcycle drivers. These drivers are not allowed to have passengers for the first six months. There are also restrictions for 18 year old motorcycle drivers. These drivers are not allowed to have passengers for the first three months.

Before letting your teenager take the wheel, understand these restrictions because they can not only keep your child safe while driving, but following them can help to avoid unnecessary curfew and passenger violations on your teenager’s driver’s license.

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