(a) Motor vehicle operator’s license required for operation of motor vehicle. 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 such person has obtained a motor vehicle operator’s license.

(b) Adult instruction permit. Out-of-state license holders. Minimum age. (1) A person eighteen years of age or older who does not hold a motor vehicle operator’s license may not operate a motor vehicle on the public highways of the state for the purpose of instruction until such person has applied for and obtained an adult instruction permit from the commissioner. Such person shall not be eligible for an adult instruction permit if such person has had a motor vehicle operator’s license suspended or revoked. An adult instruction permit shall entitle the holder, while such holder has the permit in his or her immediate possession, to operate a motor vehicle on the public highways, provided such holder is under the instruction of, and accompanied by, a person who holds an instructor’s license issued under the provisions of section 14-73 or 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 or her motor vehicle operator’s license suspended by the commissioner during the four-year period preceding the instruction. (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 such person’s establishment of residence in Connecticut, if the motor vehicle is of the same class as that for which his or her out-of-state motor vehicle operator’s license was issued. (3) No person may cause or permit the operation of a motor vehicle by a person under sixteen years of age.

(c) Youth instruction permit. (1) 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 suspended or revoked may apply to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles for a youth instruction permit. The commissioner may issue a youth instruction permit to an applicant after the applicant has passed a vision screening and test as to knowledge of the laws concerning motor vehicles and the rules of the road, has paid the fee required by subsection (v) of section 14-49 and has filed a certificate, in such form as the commissioner prescribes, requesting or consenting to the issuance of the youth instruction permit and the motor vehicle operator’s license, signed 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 such applicant’s 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, grandparent, or uncle or aunt by blood or marriage, provided such person is eighteen years of age or older. The commissioner may, for the more efficient administration of the commissioner’s duties, appoint any drivers’ school licensed in accordance with the provisions of section 14-69 or any secondary school providing instruction in motor vehicle operation and highway safety in accordance with section 14-36e to issue a youth instruction permit, subject to such standards and requirements as the commissioner may prescribe in regulations adopted in accordance with chapter 54. Each youth instruction permit shall expire two years from the date of issuance, on the date the holder of the permit is issued a motor vehicle operator’s license or on the date the holder attains the age of eighteen years, whichever is earlier. (2) The youth instruction permit shall entitle the holder, while such holder has the permit in his or her immediate possession, to operate a motor vehicle on the public highways, provided such holder is under the instruction of, and accompanied by, a person who holds an instructor’s license issued under the provisions of section 14-73 or 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 or her motor vehicle operator’s license suspended by the commissioner during the four-year period preceding the instruction. (3) Unless the holder of the permit is under the instruction of and accompanied by a person who holds an instructor’s license issued under the provisions of section 14-73, no passenger in addition to the person providing instruction shall be transported unless such passenger is a parent or legal guardian of the holder of the permit. (4) The holder of a youth instruction permit who (A) is an active member of a certified ambulance service, as defined in section 19a-175, (B) has commenced an emergency vehicle operator’s course that conforms to the national standard curriculum developed by the United States Department of Transportation, and (C) has had state and national criminal history records checks conducted by the certified ambulance service or by the municipality in which such ambulance service is provided, shall be exempt from the provisions of subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection only when such holder is en route to or from the location of the ambulance for purposes of responding to an emergency call. (5) The commissioner may revoke any youth instruction permit used in violation of the limitations imposed by subdivision (2) or (3) of this subsection.

(d) Operator’s license requirements for persons sixteen or seventeen years of age. (1) No motor vehicle operator’s license shall be issued to any applicant who is sixteen or seventeen years of age unless the applicant has held a youth instruction permit and has satisfied the requirements specified in this subsection. The applicant shall (A) present to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles a certificate of the successful completion (i) in a public secondary school, a state technical high school or a private secondary school of a full course of study in motor vehicle operation prepared as provided in section 14-36e, (ii) of training of similar nature provided by a licensed drivers’ school approved by the commissioner, or (iii) of home training in accordance with subdivision (2) of this subsection, including, in each case, or by a combination of such types of training, successful completion of: Not less than forty clock hours of behind-the-wheel, on-the-road instruction for applicants to whom a youth instruction permit is issued on or after August 1, 2008; (B) present to the commissioner a certificate of the successful completion of a course of not less than eight hours relative to safe driving practices, including a minimum of four 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) pass an examination which may include a comprehensive test as to knowledge of the laws concerning motor vehicles and the rules of the road in addition to the test required under subsection (c) of this section and shall include an on-the-road skills test as prescribed by the commissioner. At the time of application and examination for a motor vehicle operator’s license, an applicant sixteen or seventeen years of age shall have held a youth instruction permit for not less than one hundred eighty days, except that an applicant who presents a certificate under subparagraph (A)(i) or subparagraph (A)(ii) of this subdivision shall have held a youth instruction permit for not less than one hundred twenty days and an applicant who is undergoing training and instruction by the handicapped driver training unit in accordance with the provisions of section 14-11b shall have held such permit for the period of time required by said unit. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall approve the content of the safe driving instruction at drivers’ schools, high schools and other secondary schools. Subject to such standards and requirements as the commissioner may impose, the commissioner may authorize any drivers’ school, licensed in good standing in accordance with the provisions of section 14-69, or secondary school driver education program authorized pursuant to the provisions of section 14-36e, to administer the comprehensive test as to knowledge of the laws concerning motor vehicles and the rules of the road, required pursuant to subparagraph (C) of this subdivision, as part of the safe driving practices course required pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, and to certify to the commissioner, under oath, the results of each such test administered. Such hours of instruction required by this subdivision shall 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 one hundred twenty-five dollars, unless the comprehensive test as to knowledge of the laws concerning motor vehicles and the rules of the road is also administered, in which case the fee shall not exceed one hundred fifty dollars. Any applicant sixteen or seventeen years of age who, while a resident of another state, completed the course required in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, but did not complete the safe driving course required in subparagraph (B) of this subdivision, shall complete the safe driving course. The commissioner may waive any requirement in this subdivision, except for that in subparagraph (C) of this subdivision, in the case of an applicant sixteen or seventeen years of age who holds a valid motor vehicle operator’s license issued by any other state, provided the commissioner is satisfied that the applicant has received training and instruction of a similar nature.

(2) The commissioner may accept as evidence of sufficient training under subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection home training as evidenced by a written statement signed by the spouse of a married minor applicant, or by a parent, grandparent, foster parent or legal guardian of an applicant which states that the applicant has obtained a youth instruction permit and has successfully completed a driving course taught by the person signing the statement, that the signer has had an operator’s license for at least four years preceding the date of the statement, and that the signer has not had such license suspended by the commissioner for at least four years preceding the date of the statement or, if the applicant has no spouse, parent, grandparent, foster parent or guardian so qualified and available to give the instruction, a statement signed by the applicant’s stepparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, by blood or marriage, provided the person signing the statement is qualified.

(3) If the commissioner requires a written test of any applicant under this section, the test 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.

(4) 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 requirements for behind-the-wheel, on-the-road instruction, the content of safe driving instruction at drivers’ schools, high schools and other secondary schools, and the administration and certification of required testing.

(e) Requirements for issuance of operator’s license. (1) No motor vehicle operator’s license shall be issued until (A) the applicant signs and files with the commissioner an application under oath, or made subject to penalties for false statement in accordance with section 53a-157b, 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 such applicant’s birth certificate or other prima facie evidence of date of birth and evidence of identity. (3) Before granting a license to any applicant who has not previously held a Connecticut motor vehicle operator’s license, or who has not operated a motor vehicle during the preceding two years, the commissioner shall require the applicant to demonstrate personally to the commissioner, a 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 such applicant has applied, has sufficient knowledge of the mechanism of the motor vehicles to ensure their safe operation by him or her and has satisfactory knowledge of the laws concerning motor vehicles and the rules of the road. The knowledge test of an applicant for a class D motor vehicle operator’s license may be administered in such form as the commissioner deems appropriate, including audio, electronic or written testing. Such knowledge test shall be administered in English, Spanish or any language spoken at home by at least one per cent of the state’s population, according to statistics prepared by the United States Census Bureau, based on the most recent decennial census. 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 such applicant has applied, the commissioner may waive part or all of the examination. When the commissioner is satisfied as to the ability and competency of any applicant, the commissioner may issue to such applicant 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. (4) 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, such applicant or license holder is a proper person to operate a motor vehicle, and the commissioner may further require a certificate of such applicant’s condition, signed by a medical authority designated by the commissioner, 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 the commissioner 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 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. (5) The issuance of a motor vehicle operator’s license to any applicant who is the holder of a license issued by another state shall be subject to the provisions of sections 14-111c and 14-111k.

(f) Limited license. No person issued a limited license shall operate (1) a motor vehicle in violation of the limitations imposed by such license, or (2) any motor vehicle other than the motor vehicle for which such person’s right to operate is limited.

(g) Ignition interlock device. The commissioner may place a restriction on the motor vehicle operator’s license of any person or on any special operator’s permit issued to any person in accordance with the provisions of section 14-37a that restricts the holder of such license or permit to the operation of a motor vehicle that is equipped with an approved ignition interlock device, as defined in section 14-227j, for such time as the commissioner shall prescribe, if such person has been: (1) Convicted for a first or second time of a violation of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 14-227a, and has served not less than forty-five days of the prescribed period of suspension for such conviction, in accordance with the provisions of subsections (g) and (i) of section 14-227a; (2) ordered by the Superior Court not to operate any motor vehicle unless it is equipped with an approved ignition interlock device, in accordance with the provisions of section 14-227j; (3) granted a reversal or reduction of such person’s license suspension or revocation, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i) of section 14-111; (4) issued a motor vehicle operator’s license upon the surrender of an operator’s license issued by another state and such previously held license contains a restriction to the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device; (5) convicted of a violation of section 53a-56b or 53a-60d; or (6) permitted by the commissioner to be issued or to retain an operator’s license subject to reporting requirements concerning such person’s physical condition, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (e) of this section and sections 14-45a to 14-46g, inclusive.

(h) Driving history record check. Before issuing a motor vehicle operator’s license in accordance with this section or section 14-44c, the commissioner shall request information from the National Driver Registry and the Commercial Driver License Information System, in accordance with the provisions of 49 CFR section 383.73. Each driving history record shall contain a notation of the date on which such inquiry was made.

(i) Penalties. (1) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall, for a first offense, be deemed to have committed an infraction and be fined not less than seventy-five dollars or more than ninety dollars and, for any subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars or more than three hundred fifty dollars or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

(2) In addition to the penalty prescribed under subdivision (1) of this subsection, any person who violates any provision of this section who (A) has, prior to the commission of the present violation, committed a violation of this section or subsection (a) of section 14-215, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or sentenced to perform not more than one hundred hours of community service, or (B) has, prior to the commission of the present violation, committed two or more violations of this section or subsection (a) of section 14-215, or any combination thereof, shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of one year, ninety days of which may not be suspended or reduced in any manner.

(j) Regulations. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this section.