Connecticut DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you’re preparing to apply for your Connecticut driver’s license, then make sure you pick up and study a current copy of the Connecticut Driver’s Handbook at your earliest convenience. When you arrive to take your written knowledge exam, you could be tested on any part of the information contained therein. You may also wish to skim the following FAQ for further information on what you can expect from the application process on the whole.
How old do I need to be before I can get my driver’s license in Connecticut?
Age requirements vary from state to state, but in Connecticut you must be at least 16 years old before you can apply for your learner’s permit and associated driving privileges.
What else do I need to do in order to successfully obtain my learner’s permit?
At the time you arrive to apply for your permit, you will also be taking your written knowledge test. That said, make sure you’re prepared to receive a passing score. (This can best be accomplished by thoroughly reading of the Connecticut Driver’s Handbook and studying with a solid practice test.) You will also be taking a vision exam and paying all applicable fees ($40 for the test and $19 to apply for your permit) so make sure you bring cash or money orders in these amounts when you arrive. Last but not least, you will need to show all of the following:
  • Two state-recognized documents that prove your legal identity
  • Proof of your social security number
  • Proof of your residency in the state of Connecticut
  • A completed permit application
  • A notarized certificate of parental consent (if under 18)
Do I need to bring my parents with me to the DMV when I apply for my learner’s permit?
Most underage drivers do decide to simply bring their parent or legal guardian with them when they arrive to apply for their learner’s permit, as the DMV requires proof of parental consent before a permit can be granted. However, if you are not able to have a parent bring you, you can bring a completed and notarized parental consent form instead.
What happens if I fail my written knowledge test?
If you aren’t able to pass your written knowledge test on the first try, don’t panic. You will be able to retake it. However, you should be aware that you need to wait 7 days, as well as pay another $40 testing fee. That said, it pays to pass on the first try. Study with a reputable practice test to increase your chances. This is the best way to prepare you for what you can actually expect to see on the test itself.
Once I have my Connecticut learner’s permit, what’s next?
Once you have your permit, it’s time to enroll in driver’s education and practice driving if you are under 18. Connecticut requires that you complete 30 hours of classroom instruction (for commercial/secondary licensing) or 22 hours of at-home instruction. You will also be required to complete 40 hours of behind the wheel driving practice with a licensed driver that is 20 years old or older and has had a driver’s license for a minimum of 4 years. In addition to fulfilling these requirements, you will need to have held your permit for 120 days for a commercial license or 180 days if you’re going the home-training route before you will be allowed to take your road test. If you decide to learn to drive via a third party driving school or instructor, make sure they’re state certified before you sign up.
How long is a Connecticut learner’s permit valid for?
Although you need to hold your permit for 180 days before you can take your road test and obtain your license, your permit is actually valid for up to 2 years. That said, take as long as you feel you need to get the hang of driving. You’re not required to take your test 180 days later if you don’t feel ready.
What restrictions do I need to keep in mind when driving under my provisional license?
Eventually – when you’re of age – you’ll be eligible to receive your permanent Connecticut driver’s license complete with full rights. However, in the meantime, you’ll be driving under what is known as a provisional license. This means:
  • You must drive for the first 6 months while accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, driving instructor, or other qualified supervising driver that is 20 years old and has 4 years of driving experience.
  • For the second 6 months, you still need to drive with one of the people listed above. However, you may also have other members of your immediate family in the car as passengers.
  • You are prohibited from driving between the hours of 11PM and 5AM unless you are driving to/from school, work, or church. You are also allowed to drive if it’s an emergency.
Provisional driver’s license holders are also prohibited from use of a cell phone or other handheld device in any capacity while behind the wheel. You are also not allowed to drive any public service or vanpool vehicle.
Am I required to have car insurance in Connecticut? What about if I only have my learner’s permit?
In Connecticut, you are not ever allowed to operate a motor vehicle unless you’re properly ensured. It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law. That said, most teen drivers are covered under their parents’ car insurance or the insurance of their supervising driver, but you may want to check with your carrier beforehand just to confirm. If you are not covered under that person’s policy, you are required to obtain a policy of your own. In order to obtain your provisional driver’s license, you will need to provide proof of insurance anyway, so most people find it best to take care of business sooner rather than later.
What will I be tested on when I take my road test?
DMV road tests generally take about 20 minutes. They cover basic driving skill, response to traffic signals, parking skill, skill in backing up your vehicle, and overall ability to interact with other drivers while on the road.
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