Obtaining a driver’s license is a rite of passage for most American teens, and it can be incredibly exciting for a minor driver to start exercising their newly earned driving privileges. However, newly licensed teen drivers are one the highest risk groups for accidents and must follow specific rules on the road. As they gain experience and become more cautious and confident drivers, they must follow a few laws designed to limit their risk of experiencing accidents. All teen drivers and their parents should know Colorado curfew laws.
The curfew laws of Colorado are aimed at limiting the amount of time new drivers spend behind the wheel during the riskiest time of day, which is midnight to 5 am. During this time, visibility is typically at the lowest possible point, and teen drivers may not know how to operate their vehicles safely in poor lighting. Colorado also enforces strict rules regarding passengers for teen drivers. While many newly licensed may look forward to driving around with their friends, they can face citations if they violate Colorado’s passenger restrictions for minor drivers.
What Are the Curfew Laws of Colorado?
A minor driver must follow specific curfew restrictions for the first year they have their driver’s license. Specifically, they may not drive between midnight and 5 am unless they have an instructor or a parent or guardian with them. Some exceptions to this law include driving to or from school or work, with a signed statement from the teen’s school or workplace. Medical emergencies may also be an exception. Emancipated minors are also legally exempt from this law.
Minor drivers in Colorado must remember that while the state enforces this late-night driving curfew, certain local ordinances will alter their curfew. Check the curfew restrictions in your area to avoid fines and other penalties.
Passenger Restrictions for Teen Drivers
Due to the fact that minor drivers are one of the highest risk groups for accidents, Colorado law limits their ability to take passengers in their vehicles for the first year they have their driver’s licenses. For the first six months that a new driver has their license, they may not take any passengers under the age of 21 unless they have a parent or another licensed driver over 21 in the vehicle. For the next six months, they may have no more than one passenger under the age of 21. Medical emergencies are the only exceptions to this law. Teen drivers may not have more than one passenger in their front seat at any time, and teen drivers and all passengers must wear seatbelts at all times.
Other Important Teen Driving Laws
Aside from the curfew and passenger restrictions that apply to teen drivers in Colorado, teens must also understand the state’s law regarding cell phone use behind the wheel and the state’s Zero Tolerance policy regarding alcohol consumption. It is illegal for any minor driver to use a cell phone behind the wheel for any reason except for medical emergencies. Cell phone use is a leading cause of distracted driving accidents in the US. Teens can face fines, driver’s license points, or even license revocation for breaking this law.
The most important driving restriction that all teen drivers must follow in Colorado is the Zero Tolerance policy regarding alcohol. In Colorado, it is illegal for any driver over 21 to operate a vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. However, teens are not old enough to purchase or consume alcohol in Colorado, so the state enforces a Zero Tolerance policy. This means that if a teen drives with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, they qualify for prosecution for driving under the influence (DUI). If a teen causes a DUI accident or is stopped by police for suspected DUI, this can lead to fines, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time if they hurt or kill anyone.
FAQs Passenger and Curfew Laws for Minor Drivers Colorado
Can a 16-Year-Old Driver Have Passengers in Colorado?
A 16-year-old driver may not have any passengers under the age of 21 for the first six months they have their driver’s license. Once this six-month period ends, they may have no more than one passenger under the age of 21 unless their parent or guardian is in the vehicle, too. This restriction lasts for another six months. After the first year of driving, the teen may have other passengers in the vehicle as long as every passenger has a seatbelt.
What Is the Legal Age to Sit in the Front Seat in Colorado?
It’s technically legal for any child to sit in the front seat in Colorado once they are at least one year old and weigh at least 20 pounds. However, the safest place for children in any vehicle is the back seat. Additionally, children should ride in car seats or use booster seats until they are big enough to sit comfortably with the lap and shoulder belt attached securely. Drivers of all ages must wear seatbelts at all times, and they can be ticketed if police see them driving without seatbelts.
What Happens If You Break Curfew in Colorado?
Breaking the teen driving curfew in Colorado is a minor traffic offense that qualifies for penalties, including a $50 fine, two points on the teen driver’s license, and 8 to 24 hours of community service. A second curfew violation would increase these penalties to a fine of $150 and 16 to 40 hours of community service.
What Happens If a Teen Driver Breaks Colorado Laws for Teen Drivers?
Teen drivers must abide by the laws specifically applied to minor drivers in Colorado. Failure to do so can not only lead to fines and points on their driver’s licenses but also loss of driving privileges and other penalties. For example, if a teen repeatedly violates the Colorado law against cell phone use behind the wheel, they could lose their driver’s license. Parents also have the right to revoke their child’s driver’s license if the child causes an accident or commits a traffic violation until the child turns 18.
Teen Driving Legal Help for Colorado Residents
All teen drivers must abide by the applicable laws for newly licensed minor drivers in Colorado. If you believe a teen driver is responsible for your recent accident, the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and speak with an attorney about your case.