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Connecticut Public Acts 1996

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Substitute Senate Bill No. 387

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-248

AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE LEARNER'S PERMIT FOR DRIVERS SIXTEEN AND SEVENTEEN YEARS OF AGE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, of section 14-36 of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section and section 14-40a, no person shall operate a motor vehicle on any public highway of this state or private road on which a speed limit has been established in accordance with subsection (a) of section 14-218a until he has obtained a motor vehicle operator's license.

(b) (1) [A person sixteen years of age or older may operate a motor vehicle without a motor vehicle operator's license if (A) he has not had a Connecticut motor vehicle operator's license suspended or revoked and (B) he is under the instructions of, and accompanied by, a person eighteen years of age or older who has been licensed to operate, for two or more years preceding the instruction, a motor vehicle of the same class as the motor vehicle being operated. The instructor shall have full control of the motor vehicle as provided by law.] ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 1997, A PERSON WHO IS SIXTEEN OR SEVENTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND WHO HAS NOT HAD A MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE OR RIGHT TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE IN THIS STATE OR IN ANY OTHER STATE OR JURISDICTION SUSPENDED OR REVOKED MAY APPLY TO THE COMMISSIONER FOR A LEARNER'S PERMIT. THE COMMISSIONER MAY ISSUE A LEARNER'S PERMIT TO AN APPLICANT AFTER THE APPLICANT HAS PAID THE EXAMINATION FEE REQUIRED BY SUBSECTION (b) OF SECTION 14-50 AND HAS PASSED ALL PARTS OF THE EXAMINATION, OTHER THAN THE ON-THE-ROAD SKILLS TEST, FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE AS REQUIRED BY SUBSECTION (d) OF THIS SECTION. THE LEARNER'S PERMIT SHALL ENTITLE THE APPLICANT, WHILE HE HAS THE PERMIT IN HIS IMMEDIATE POSSESSION, TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE ON THE PUBLIC HIGHWAYS FOR A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS, EXCEPT THAT IT SHALL NOT ENTITLE THE APPLICANT TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE ON A MULTIPLE LANE LIMITED ACCESS HIGHWAY UNTIL NINETY DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF ISSUANCE; PROVIDED HE IS UNDER THE INSTRUCTION OF, AND ACCOMPANIED BY, A PERSON TWENTY YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER WHO HAS BEEN LICENSED TO OPERATE, FOR AT LEAST FOUR YEARS PRECEDING THE INSTRUCTION, A MOTOR VEHICLE OF THE SAME CLASS AS THE MOTOR VEHICLE BEING OPERATED AND WHO HAS NOT HAD HIS MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR'S LICENSE SUSPENDED BY THE COMMISSIONER DURING THE FOUR-YEAR PERIOD PRECEDING THE INSTRUCTION. No person may cause or permit the operation of a motor vehicle by a person under sixteen years of age. (2) A person holding a valid out-of-state motor vehicle operator's license may operate a motor vehicle for a period of thirty days following his establishment of residence in Connecticut, if the motor vehicle is of the same class as that for which his out-of-state motor vehicle operator's license was issued.

(c) (1) No motor vehicle operator's license shall be issued until (A) the applicant signs and files with the commissioner an application under oath, except that renewals from the year immediately preceding need not be under oath, stating such information as the commissioner requires, and (B) the commissioner is satisfied that the applicant is sixteen years of age or older and is a suitable person to receive the license. (2) An applicant for a new motor vehicle operator's license shall, in the discretion of the commissioner, file, with the application, a copy of his birth certificate or other prima facie evidence of his date of birth AND EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY.

(d) (1) No motor vehicle operator's license shall be issued to any person between sixteen and eighteen years of age unless a certificate, in such form as the commissioner prescribes, requesting or consenting to the issuance of the license has been signed and filed with the commissioner by (A) one or both parents or foster parents of the applicant, as the commissioner requires, (B) the legal guardian of the applicant, (C) the applicant's spouse, if the spouse is eighteen years of age or older, or (D) if the applicant has no qualified spouse and his parent or foster parent or legal guardian is deceased, incapable, domiciled without the state or otherwise unavailable or unable to sign or file the certificate, the applicant's stepparent, or uncle or aunt, by blood or marriage, provided such person is eighteen years of age or older. (2) No motor vehicle operator's license shall be issued to any person between sixteen and eighteen years of age unless the applicant (A) presents to the commissioner a certificate of the successful completion in a public secondary school, a state vocational school or a private secondary school of a full course of study in motor vehicle operation prepared as provided in section 14-36e or of training of similar nature provided by a licensed drivers' school approved by the commissioner, including, in each case, successful completion of not less than [six] EIGHT clock hours of behind-the-wheel, on-the-road instruction; (B) presents to the commissioner a certificate of the successful completion of a course of not less than five hours relative to safe driving practices, including a minimum of two hours on the nature and the medical, biological and physiological effects of alcohol and drugs and their impact on the operator of a motor vehicle, the dangers associated with the operation of a motor vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs by the operator, the problems of alcohol and drug abuse and the penalties for alcohol and drug related motor vehicle violations; and (C) passes an [examination] ON-THE-ROAD SKILLS TEST as prescribed by the commissioner AFTER HE HAS OBTAINED A LEARNER'S PERMIT. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall approve the content of the safe driving instruction at drivers' schools and the Commissioner of Education shall approve the content of such instruction at high schools and other secondary schools. Such five hours of instruction may be included as part of or in addition to any existing instruction programs. Any fee charged for the course required under subparagraph (B) of this subdivision shall not exceed twenty-five dollars. The commissioner may accept as evidence of sufficient training under subparagraph (A) of this subdivision a certificate signed by the spouse of a married minor applicant, or by a parent, grandparent, foster parent or the legal guardian of an applicant which states that the applicant has OBTAINED A LEARNER'S PERMIT AND HAS successfully completed a driving course taught by the person signing the certificate and that the signer has had an operator's license for at least four years preceding the date of the certificate or, if the applicant has no spouse, parent, grandparent, foster parent or guardian so qualified and available to give the instruction, a certificate signed by the applicant's stepparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, by blood or marriage, provided the person signing the certificate is qualified. The commissioner shall provide forms for the certificates, which shall be called home training certificates. Each such certificate shall be on file with the commissioner for a period of [thirty] NINETY days before the applicant may take the [examination] ON-THE-ROAD SKILLS TEST. If the commissioner requires a written examination of any applicant under this section, the examination shall be given in English or Spanish at the option of the applicant, provided the commissioner shall require that the applicant shall have sufficient understanding of English for the interpretation of traffic control signs. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to implement the purposes of this subsection concerning the content of safe driving instruction at drivers' schools.

(e) Before granting a license to any applicant who has not held a Connecticut motor vehicle operator's license during the preceding two years, the commissioner shall require the applicant to demonstrate personally to him, his deputy or a motor vehicle inspector or an agent of the commissioner, in such manner as the commissioner directs, that the applicant is a proper person to operate motor vehicles of the class for which he has applied, has sufficient knowledge of the mechanism of the motor vehicles to ensure their safe operation by him and has satisfactory knowledge of the laws concerning motor vehicles and the rules of the road. [Each part of the examination for a motor vehicle operator's license shall be conducted on the same day at the same location.] If any such applicant has held a license from a state, territory or possession of the United States where a similar examination is required, or if any such applicant is a person honorably separated from the United States armed forces who applies within two years following the separation and who, prior to the separation, held a military operator's license for motor vehicles of the same class as that for which he has applied, the commissioner may waive part or all of the examination in his discretion. When the commissioner is satisfied as to the ability and competency of any applicant, he may issue to him a license, either unlimited or containing such limitations as the commissioner deems advisable, and specifying the class of motor vehicles which the licensee is eligible to operate. If any applicant or operator license holder has any health problem which might affect such person's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, the commissioner may require the applicant or license holder to demonstrate personally or otherwise establish that, notwithstanding such problem, he is a proper person to operate a motor vehicle, and he may further require a certificate of such applicant's condition, signed by a medical authority designated by him, which certificate shall in all cases be treated as confidential by the commissioner. A license, containing such limitation as the commissioner deems advisable, may be issued or renewed in any case, but nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the commissioner from refusing a license, either limited or unlimited, to any person or suspending a license of a person whom he determines to be incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Consistent with budgetary allotments, each motor vehicle operator's license issued to or renewed by a deaf or hearing impaired person on or after October 1, 1983, shall, upon the request of such person, indicate such impairment. Such person shall submit a certificate stating such impairment, in such form as the commissioner may require and signed by a licensed health care practitioner.

Sec. 2. Subsection (v) of section 14-49 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(v) THERE SHALL BE CHARGED FOR EACH MOTOR VEHICLE LEARNER'S PERMIT OR RENEWAL THEREOF A FEE OF SIX DOLLARS. There shall be charged for each motorcycle learner's permit or renewal thereof a fee of [one dollar and fifty cents. On and after July 1, 1985, the fee shall be two dollars and twenty-five cents, on and after July 1, 1989, three dollars and fifty cents, on and after July 1, 1991, four dollars and fifty cents, and on and after July 1, 1993,] five dollars and fifty cents.

Sec. 3. Section 14-214 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Any licensed operator, being [eighteen] TWENTY years of age and having had an operator's license to operate a motor vehicle of the same class as the motor vehicle being operated for at least [two] FOUR years preceding the date of such instruction, may instruct a person sixteen or more years of age [, not a licensed operator] WHO HOLDS A LEARNER'S PERMIT ISSUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBSECTION (b) OF SECTION 14-36, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 1 OF THIS ACT, in the operation of a motor vehicle. Any person so instructing another in the use of any motor vehicle [except a motorcycle] shall be [so seated as to control the operation of the motor vehicle and shall be] responsible for the operation thereof. Violation of any provision of this section shall be an infraction.

Sec. 4. This act shall take effect January 1, 1997.

Approved June 6, 1996. Effective January 1, 1997.

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