Starting next year, state residents older than 18 who want to get a license will have to hold a three-month learner’s permit before taking the road test.
The new requirement changes 106 years of history in which an adult had no required training period to complete prior to obtaining a driver's license, the state Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday in a news release.
The DMV said that highway issues, including the need to better understand how to operate a car, prompted this requirement.
Connecticut is among only a few states to require a learner’s permit for adults. The law goes into effect Jan. 1.
"Cars are more sophisticated today, traveling roads can be more dangerous for inexperienced drivers and some form of a learning period is required now for those over 18, just as we have done for those under 18," said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey who made the announcement with transportation safety advocates at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.
The DMV expects that more than 30,000 people annually will be affected by this change, including teens who delayed licensing to avoid the state's restrictions on 16 and 17-year-old drivers.
The 18 and 19 year-olds this year account for about 11,000 who will need a learner's permit as an adult, the DMV said.
Here are some other highlights of the new requirement:
- Beginning January 1, 2013, the state will require an adult learner's permit for new drivers who are 18 years old and over other than those holding a valid driver's license from another state.
- The adult learner's permit must be held a minimum of 90 days prior to taking a road test.
- Applicants will get the adult learner permit when they pass the 25-question knowledge test and vision test.
- They will be required under state law to take the current eight-hour safe driving practices course at driving school. Passed in 2008, the law mandates that new first-time license holders must attend this course at a driving school. The cost is set by state law at $125.
- While holding the adult learner's permit, they will need in the vehicle a qualified trainer who is either a licensed driving instructor or any driver who is over 20 years-old who has held a license for four or more consecutive years and has not been suspended at any time in the last four years.
- Anyone over 18 who has taken the 25-question knowledge test prior to January 1, 2013, will have until April 1 to obtain a license and will not need to get a learner's permit.
- Until April 1, any adult receiving on-the-road training with a licensed driving instructor does not need an adult learner's permit.