Getting and Keeping Your License

Here you will find everything you need to know to get your license, and the specific laws for teen drivers in Colorado, so you can keep your license – and stay safe on the road.

Getting Your License

The more training you get, the better driver you’ll be.

The training required before you can apply for a license depends on how old you are when you start the process.

Typically, you’ll need some sort of classroom-based driver’s ed before you can apply for a permit.  A permit then allows you to practice driving with a parent or other licensed adult.  After you’ve had your permit for a year, you can apply for your driver’s license.

For the specific requirements detailed by age, follow the steps in this downloadable poster about the steps for getting a license.

What types of driving courses are offered?

  • Driver's Ed Course – A minimum 30-hour classroom-based course that covers all aspects of driving, as recommended by the USDOT.
  • Driver Awareness Program – A minimum 4-hour classroom-based course that encourages safe driving practices and taking responsibility for your behavior by adopting sound decision-making skills, offering tips for resistance to peer pressure and educating on the consequences of reckless and/or inattentive driving.
  • Behind-the-Wheel Training – A minimum 6-hour field-based course provides opportunities for traffic experiences under real conditions.

For more about driving schools, permit applications and testing locations, go to the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles website.

Keeping Your License

Don’t risk your driving freedom.  Pay attention to the rules—they’re designed with your safety in mind.

Colorado’s GDL laws apply to new teen drivers.  GDL stands for Graduated Driver Licensing, which are laws designed to help you develop important driving skills gradually while adhering to important restrictions in your first years of driving. GDL laws work: Since they were put into place in 2002, teen motor vehicle fatalities have decreased by 67%.

Breaking driving laws, including GDL restrictions, can, at best, put you at risk for losing your license, and worse, cause injury in the case of a crash. Even one violation comes with hefty fines and may require community service.

Who Can Ride?

Teen Driver Tip illustration of a woman in front of her car. Text overlay reads "Learn the passenger restrictions for teen drivers"

While you still have your permit, you can only drive with a driving instructor, parent/legal guardian or a licensed adult 21 years of age or older.

  • For the first six months of your license, only passengers 21 and over.
  • For the second six months, only one passenger under 21.

Remember, only one passenger in the front seat at any time, and all passengers must wear seatbelts.


  • Siblings
  • Passengers with medical emergencies

Click It or Ticket

Teen Driver Tip illustration of a man within his blue car. A seat belt icon is in front of the car. Text overlay reads "Always buckle up."

You and your passengers are required to wear seat belts—you can get pulled over and ticketed if you or your friends are not wearing one.

Power Down

Teen Driver Tip illustration of a man inside his car. A "no cell phone" graphic is near the car. Text overlay reads "No cell phone use while driving"

Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving is against the law for drivers under age 18 in Colorado.

Emergency calls to police are the only exception.


Teen Driver Tip illustration of a man standing next to his car at night. A clock icon is near the car. Text overlay reads "home by midnight"

Driving is not permitted between midnight and 5 a.m. for the first year of your license.  Curfew laws may vary by city or county.  To properly follow the curfew in your area, please confirm restrictions with your local government.


  • Accompanied by a parent/legal guardian
  • Driving to school or school-authorized activity and the school doesn't provide transportation (signed statement from school required)
  • Driving to/from work (signed statement from employer required)
  • Medical emergencies
  • Emancipated minors

Zero Tolerance for Drinking and Driving

Teen Driver Tip illustration a hand holding a cellphone. Cell phone screen is made to look like it's calling a rideshare. An icon of an alcohol bottle with a car is next to the phone, crossed out in red. Text overlay reads "Never drive under the influence."

Even a trace of alcohol for minor drivers is punishable by law.

In Colorado, you could lose your driver's license if you drink under the legal age limit—even when you're not driving.