DENVER (KDVR) — On the heels of Colorado’s deadliest year for car crashes since 1981, lawmakers at the state Capitol are working on solutions to keep roads safe. Lawmakers want the state to focus on more training, specifically for new and young drivers in Colorado.
State Sen. Faith Winter wants young Colorado drivers to be better and equally prepared to drive on state roads.
“Getting behind the wheel and taking control of something that could take someone’s life, that’s a big responsibility, and we want to adequately prepare them,” Winter said.
More training for young drivers in new bill
Winter said the bill she is sponsoring would require people ages 18-21 to have four hours of training before they try for their driver’s license.
For people ages 15-17, the bill proposes they would have to complete 30 hours of driver’s education, in-person or online, and receive six hours of behind-the-wheel training with an instructor. Right now, those teen drivers can get a license if they have had an instruction permit for a year and completed 50 hours of supervised driving.
“There is a lot of support, so support from law enforcement, State Patrol, support from insurance agencies. So this will help drive down the cost of insuring a new driver, because we are actually giving them the training,” Winter said.
She said the goal is to make sure all young drivers know what they are doing.
“There’s a weird provision that’s in Colorado law that’s incentivizing folks to get their license with less training the older they get. So right now, we require a lot of training for 15-year-olds, less for 16-year-olds, less for 17-year-olds. So we are incentivizing waiting, we are incentivizing less training,” Winter said.
She said there are ongoing discussions about partnerships with driving schools to make it more affordable for everyone. Another aspect of this is bill includes a refund income tax credit of up to $1,000 per student for people who have to cover the costs. The bill made it out of the Transportation and Energy committee and heads to the Finance committee next.