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Connecticut New Resident Guide

Welcome to Connecticut! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Connecticut. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements



  • You have 30 days to obtain a Connecticut driver's license unless you are a student, military personnel (or spouse) or out-of-state resident, who is at least 16 years old and holds a valid license.
  • You have 60 days to register your vehicle in Connecticut.


Graduated Licensing Program



Learner's Permit

Requirements

  • Must be at least 16 years of age;
  • Parental or legal guardian permission, and appearance at DMV or notarized consent form;
  • Pass a 25 question knowledge test.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May only drive when accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian, an adult at least 20 years old who has held a drivers license for at least 4 suspension-free consecutive years, or a driving instructor;
  • All passengers in vehicle must use permanently installed seat belts;
  • May not use cell phones (even if hands-free) or other mobile electronic devices while driving. This includes any hand-held computer or other device with a video display.

Driver's License

Requirements

  • Must have held permit for at least 6 months, or at least 4 months if also enrolled in driver education;
  • Must have completed 40 hours of certified practice driving, 8 hours of which must be done with a professional driving school;
  • Pass road test.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • During first 6 months, drivers are permitted no passenger other than a licensed parent or guardian, a licensed driving instructor giving instruction, and adult at least 20 years old who has held a driver's license for four or more consecutive suspension-free years.
  • During the driver's second 6 months, all immediate family members are permitted as the only passengers. Permit holders are also restricted from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Until 18th birthday, all passengers in vehicle must use permanently installed seat belts.
  • Until 18th birthday, may not use cell phones (even if hands-free) or other mobile electronic devices while driving. This includes any hand-held computers or other device with a video display.
  • Until 18th birthday, may not operate any public service vehicle, commercial motor vehicle or vanpool vehicle.
  • Teens who complete the graduated drivers license system are eligible for an unrestricted license at age 18.


Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.



1 Point Violations

  • Operating at unreasonable rate of speed;
  • Speeding;
  • Failure to drive in right-hand lane;
  • Illegal use of limited access highway by bus, commercial vehicle or vehicle with trailer;
  • Improper operation on multiple-lane highways;
  • Improper operation on divided highway;
  • Wrong direction at rotary or one-way street;
  • Improper turn, illegal turn, illegal stopping, failure to signal intention to turn;
  • Improper backing or starting;
  • Failure to give proper signal;
  • Operator's duties on stopping a school bus;
  • Operation of motorcycles abreast, illegal passing;
  • Wrong way on one-way street.

2 Point Violations

  • Slow speed, impeding traffic;
  • Disobeying orders of officer;
  • Entering or leaving controlled access highway at other than designated entrance or exit;
  • Entry upon a limited access highway other than a highway intersection or designated point;
  • Executing turn from wrong lane or contrary to traffic control devices;
  • Failure to obey signal at railroad crossing;
  • Failure to stop at railroad crossing by school bus, commercial motor vehicle carrying flammable or explosive substance, taxicab, motor vehicle in livery service, motor bus, motor vehicle used for the transportation of school children;
  • Failure to observe parkway or expressway restrictions;
  • Failure to obey traffic control signal light;
  • Failure to obey stop sign;
  • Failure to obey yield sign;
  • Operating a vehicle through pedestrian safety zone.

3 Point Violations

  • Driving while impaired;
  • Failure to keep to right when meeting opposing traffic;
  • Improper passing or failure to yield to passing vehicle;
  • Passing on righ;t
  • Passing in no passing zone;
  • Failure to keep to right on curve, grade or when approaching intersection;
  • Failure to drive reasonable distance apart;
  • Failure to grant right of way at intersection;
  • Failure to grant right of way at junction of highways;
  • Failure to yield when emerging from driveway or private road;
  • Failure to grant right of way when emerging from alley, driveway or building;
  • Failure to grant right of way to ambulance, police or fire apparatus;
  • Failure to grant right of way to pedestrian.

4 Point Violations

  • Wagering, speed record;
  • Failure to drive reasonable distance apart, intent to harass;
  • Passing stopped school bus.

5 Point Violations

  • Operation of school bus at excessive speed;
  • Negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.

Time violations remain on record

Points remain on driving record for 24 months (2 years) from the date of assessment.

11 points results in license suspension



Insurance Requirements



  • Compulsory liability insurance. No owner of any motor vehicle may operate the vehicle without automobile insurance.
  • Minimum insurance coverage:
    • $20,000 for injury to 1 person
    • $40,000 for injuries to more than 1 person;
    • $10,000 for damage to property;
  • Motorcycles are required to maintain the same levels of insurance.


Headlight Laws



Dim your high beams whenever you come within about a one-block distance of an oncoming vehicle. Use your low beams when following another vehicle or when in heavy traffic.

You must use your headlights:

  • 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise;
  • In conditions of insufficient light/adverse weather;
  • When visibility is less than 500 feet.

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.



Implied Consent Laws



  • First action (refusal) - Suspension 6 months (90 days mandatory).
  • Second action (refusal)- Suspension 1 year.
  • Subsequent action (refusal) - Suspension 3 years.
  • A person's participation in an alcohol or treatment program does not affect the mandatory license suspension. Furthermore, for a second or subsequent refusal, the person must satisfactorily complete an alcohol treatment program before driving privileges can be reinstated.


DUI Penalties



First Offense (misdemeanor)

  • $500 - $1,000 fine;
  • 48 consecutive hours - 6 months imprisonment;
  • 100 hours community service as part of probation, allowed in lieu of 48 hours of imprisonment;
  • Up to 1 year license suspension.

Second Offense (within 10 years - felony)

  • $1,000 - $4,000 fine;
  • 120 consecutive days - 2 years imprisonment;
  • 100 hours community service as part of probation, mandatory in addition to incarceration;
  • Up to 3 year license suspension;
  • Ignition interlock may be required by court, or available to reduce or reverse license revocation.

Third and Subsequent Offense (within 10 years - felony)

  • $2,000 - $8,000 fine;
  • 1 year - 3 years imprisonment;
  • 100 hours community service as part of probation, mandatory in addition to incarceration;
  • Permanent license revocation;
  • Ignition interlock may be required by court, or available to reduce or reverse license revocation.

Other

Alcohol education and treatment

  • Court may order alcohol education and treatment.

Community service

  • Court may require community service as part of probation.


Open Container Law



Connecticut does not have an open container law.



Red Light Violation Fines



  • $60 fine.


Construction Zone Penalties



  • All moving vehicle violations when workers are present are subject to two times the original fine.
  • Under a separate law, endangerment of a highway worker is subject to a fine of up to $1,000. Aggravated endangerment of a highway worker is subject to a fine of up to $5,000 if the worker is injured and $10,000 if the worker is killed.


Turn Signal Information



Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet in advance.



Hazard Light Information



Hazard light use is permitted in the following circumstances:

  • When a motor vehicle on a limited access divided highway is unable to maintain the minimum speed of 40 MPH due to the grade of the road.
  • When a motor vehicle is operating at such a slow speed as to obstruct or endanger following traffic.
  • When a disabled vehicle is stopped on a hazardous location on the highway or in close proximity to the highway.


Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws



Connecticut has no state laws regarding funeral processions.



School Bus Laws



Requirements

  • Vehicles are required to stop unless approaching from the opposite direction on a parkway or divided highway.
  • You must stop your vehicle at least 10 feet from the school bus.

Penalties

  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a fine of $450 for a first offense.


Bicyclist Passing Distance



A 3-foot minimum passing distance is required.



Motorcycle Laws



Licensing

  • Applicants are eligible for a learner's permit at age 16, after passing a vision test and written test.
  • Applicants for motorcycle licenses between the ages of 16 and 18 must have the notarized consent of a parent, guardian, or spouse, proof that they have completed a novice motorcycle training course.
  • All applicants who want to obtain a motorcycle endorsement also must satisfactorily complete a novice motorcycle training course.
  • Classes are offered through the CT Department of Transportation's Connecticut Rider Education Program (ConRep) at certain locations throughout the state. A list of locations may be found at the Connecticut DMV.
  • All applicants who have not had a Connecticut driver's license in the previous 2 years must pass a vision test, written test, and an on-the-road examination.
  • Learner's permit and provisional license holders under age 18 may not transport any passenger on a motorcycle for six months after the issuance of a motorcycle endorsement. Permit holders age 18 and older may not transport passengers for 90 days after the permit expires.

Protective Gear

  • All motorcycle operators must either have a safety shield installed on the motorcycle, a helmet shield, or wear safety goggles.
  • All motorcycle operators must wear a protective helmet if they are in their 1st year of licensure, holding learner's or instructor's permits, or under age 18. Passengers under age 18 are required to wear a protective helmet.

Headlights

  • Any person operating a motorcycle manufactured after January 1, 1980, on a highway, shall illuminate the head lamp of such motorcycle at all times it is being operated.

Sharing the Road

  • Two motorcycles may travel side-by-side in a single lane.
  • Lane splitting is not authorized.


Using the Shoulder to Pass



You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.



Passing Laws



Do Not Pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing.

When Being Passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.


Speed Limits



  • 65 mph on multiple lane, limited access highways that are suitable for such a speed limit.
  • 55 mph upon other highways.
  • 50 mph for a school bus on a divided limited access highway.
  • 40 mph for a school bus on all other highways, or where highway signs indicate lower speeds, then a school bus shall not exceed that posted speed.


Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws



Safety Belts

  • Occupants age 7 or older in the front seat must wear safety belts.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $15.

Child Seats

  • Children younger than 1 year or less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing restraint system.
  • Children 1 - 6 years who are less than 60 pounds must be in a child restraint system. Booster seats may only be used in a seating position with a lap and shoulder belt.
  • Children 7 - 15 years and at least 60 pounds must be restrained, and may use an adult safety belt.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $60, or $15 if the child is 4 - 16 years old and weighs 40 pounds or more.
  • First and second time offenders will be required to take a mandatory child restraint education program.


Emergency Vehicle Laws



Move Over

When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:

  • Emergency medical, fire, or police vehicle;
  • Maintenance vehicle.

You must do the following:

  • Reduce speed to a reasonable level below the posted speed limit;
  • On a highway with two or more travel lanes that proceed in the same direction, if traveling in the lane adjacent to the shoulder, lane or breakdown lane containing the emergency vehicle, move over one lane, unless such movement would be unreasonable or unsafe.

Following

Do not follow a fire apparatus traveling in response to a fire alarm closer than 500 feet, or park within the block where the fire apparatus has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.

Collision Procedures

Stop

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled.

Provide Information

Provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, to any witness, or to any police officer at the scene of the crash:

  • Driver's name and address;
  • Operator's license number;
  • Vehicle registration number.

Notify authorities immediately

  • If unable to provide the required information to the injured person or any witness or officer, you must immediately report the accident to law enforcement.

Render assistance

  • Provide assistance to any injured person, including transporting them or making arrangements for transportation to a hospital or doctor, if necessary or requested.

Move vehicle

  • If there has been property damage only, move the vehicle off the roadway if it is safe to do so.


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