New driver education law for teenagers in Colorado

Prospective drivers under the age of 18 will be required to complete 30 hours of driver’s education courses before obtaining their permit.

DENVER – Future young drivers in Colorado will need to spend more time learning about the rules of the road before they can get behind the wheel.

Starting in April 2026, drivers under the age of 18 will be required to complete 30 hours of driver’s education before obtaining a learner’s permit. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 will be required to complete a four-hour driver awareness program before obtaining their permit or license.

“Basically what the state of Colorado is saying is we need more training, we need more education,” said Steve Rohman, owner of Community Driving School.

Rohman said previous laws allowed drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 to obtain their permit without an official form of driver’s education. Before obtaining a license, hours of supervised driving and having a permit for at least a year were required.

He said 18-year-olds could avoid school hours and supervised driving hours and could technically get their permit and license on the same day.

“I think between the ages of 16 and 18, you started to see some kids waiting to get their license, so they didn’t have to meet some of the requirements because of the cost, because obviously there’s a cost as well,” Rohman. saying.

The 30-hour course will delve into traffic rules and driving fundamentals.

“Everything from registering your car to getting insurance to regulating stop signs, so it really covers a lot more information than what’s in the Colorado manual,” Rohman said.

AAA Regional Public Affairs Director Skyler McKinley said the new laws will have a positive effect on young adult crash data.

“What we know is that crashes and deaths in Colorado were skyrocketing, that 2022 was the deadliest year on our roads in recorded history,” McKinley said. “17-, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds are among the most dangerous drivers, in part because historically they were able to skip driver’s education entirely.”

McKinley said he has worked with Colorado legislators for years to push for a change in these standards.

“We had looked at driver education as something we could do to improve driving in Colorado,” McKinley said. “By improving driving, we reduce the accident rate, and that’s proven. And by reducing the accident rate, we save lives and save Coloradans money, at least when it comes to what they pay and insurance.” .

Drivers will have to pay for the 30-hour course, but McKinley said there are state-certified online courses for less than $100. Some cost as little as $30.

“Of all the investments you can make in a new engine, investing in education is probably the most sensible and price-wise because you will see the benefits of that investment almost immediately,” McKinley said.

He said that in the coming years, driving schools and AAA may offer programming at a reduced price.

“The goal is for everyone to be able to attend driver’s education, to make it affordable, accessible, fun and easy,” McKinley said.