Connecticut

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
60 State Street
Wethersfield, CT 06161
(860) 263-5700   |    www.ct.gov/DMV

Connecticut State Police
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, CT 06457-9294
(860) 685-8190    |    www.ct.gov/despp

Connecticut Department of Transportation
2800 Berlin Turnpike
Newington, CT 06111
(860) 594-2000    |   www.ct.gov/dot

Title Application

Application is made to the DMV and shall contain a description of the vehicle, including make, model, Vehicle Information Number (VIN), number of cylinders, type of body, and odometer statement.

Vehicle titles are permanent, and need not be renewed.

Title applications shall also contain the name and address from whom the vehicle was purchased, as well as the names and addresses of all lienholders.

Title applications may be mailed.


Title Transfer of Ownership

At the time of transfer of a vehicle, the transferor shall execute an assignment and warranty of title to the transferee, showing the name and address of the transferee, and the transferor shall deliver such title to the transferee or commissioner.

A lien holder shall, at the request of the owner or transferee, deliver the certificate to the transferee or the commissioner.


Titles for Mobile Homes

N/A

Registration Application

Application is made to the commissioner of the DMV, and shall include a current automobile insurance identification card, a certificate of title, certain acceptable forms or ID, a bill of sale, and emissions testing documentation. Registrations must be renewed biannually.

An odometer statement is required at the time of registration.

Vehicles over 10 years old may not, at the discretion of the commissioner, be registered unless they have passed a safety inspection.

Applications for registration of a vehicle by a minor shall not be accepted unless the minor provides proof of financial responsibility and a signature from a spouse, or from parents/guardian if not married.

Registrations expire upon transfer of ownership. The new owner must re-apply.

There is no grace period for late registration.


Registration for Non-Residents

Drivers have 60 days from the date of moving into Connecticut to register a vehicle.

Military personnel stationed in state may operate vehicle with out-of-state license plates.


Registration Type

The certificate of registration and any automobile insurance identification card shall be carried in the motor vehicle at all times when it is being operated on a public highway.

The commissioner may issue to each registered owner of a motor vehicle an identification card that contains electronically encrypted information concerning the vehicle description, VIN, and registration and title history of the vehicle. The card shall be carried in the vehicle.


Emissions Inspection

All 1968 model year and later vehicles are required to have an effective air pollution control device.

All vehicles except those listed below shall be inspected biannually to ensure that air pollution control equipment complies with the exhaust emissions standards defined by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and approved by the U.S. EPA. OBD is utilized as part of the state emissions inspection process.

The commissioner may issue a sticker that shows the expiration date of the inspection on both sides, and an expiration date for exempt vehicles.

Inspections may be made at authorized dealer and repair locations.

Used motor vehicles registered in Connecticut from out-of-state are required to pass emission testing and VIN verification before they can be registered.

Visit here for more information on the Connecticut Emissions Program.


Safety Inspection

Commercial vehicles over 18,000 pounds GVWR, trailers over 10,000 pounds, ‘grey market’ vehicles, and cars being registered from out of state must pass a safety inspection.  Visit the Connecticut DMV for a complete list of other vehicles needing safety inspections.


Title and Registration Fees

AUTOMOBILE

Title Fee: $25.00

Registration Fee: $80.00 but varies according to vehicle

MOTORCYCLE

Title Fee: $25.00

Registration Fee: $42.00

DUPLICATES

Plate Fee: $5.00

Registration Fee: $20.00

Driver’s License Fee: $30.00

Title Fee: $25.00

Special Plates: $50.00-%139.00 + plate fee

Plate Disbursement

Two license plates are required. Registration stickers are not required (discontinued in 2011).

Each plate issued by the state shall be reflectorized and shall bear the words “Constitution State” and “Connecticut.” The color scheme for license plates is white on blue.

Special plates for disabled persons are available upon application with medical certificate to any DMV branch office.

Transfer of Plates

All plates remain the property of the state and shall be returned to the commissioner’s office within 10 days of the sale of the vehicle.

Driver's License Examination

Prior to receiving an initial driver’s license, an applicant must pass a vision test with minimum visual acuity of 20/40, a written examination of the rules of the road, and a driving test.


Graduated Driver’s Licensing

Connecticut has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

At age 16, individuals are eligible for a learner’s permit.

  • During this stage individuals may only drive when accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian, an adult at least 20 years old who has held a driver’s license for at least 4 or more suspension-free consecutive years, or a driving instructor.
  • Drivers must hold the permit for at least 6 months (4 months if enrolled in driver education) and complete 40 hours of certified practice driving (8 hours of which must be done with a commercial driving school) before being eligible for an unrestricted license.

At age 16, drivers are eligible for an intermediate license.

  • During the first 6 months with this license, drivers are permitted no passengers 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.
  • In addition, learner’s permit and provisional license holders may not transport more passengers than the number of seatbelts in the vehicle or operate any vehicle that requires a public passenger transportation permit or a vanpool vehicle.

At age 18, drivers who complete the graduated driver’s license system are eligible for an unrestricted license. Parents or legal guardians are also required to complete a 2-hour class concerning novice driver laws and safe driving practices.


Driver's License Issuance/Application

No motor vehicle operator’s license shall be issued until the applicant signs and files the application under oath, has proven that he or she is at least 16 years old and has proven that he or she has sufficient knowledge of the mechanism of the motor vehicle to ensure safe operation and satisfactory knowledge of the rules of the road.

Applicants 18 years of age and older who have never been licensed must apply for an adult learner’s permit that must be held at least 90 days before taking an on-the-road skills test. The permit is required for practice driving and is valid for 2 years.

An operator’s license shall contain a picture of the licensee.

License does not usually include a social security number.

For operators under the age of 21, a license shall contain the date of the licensee’s 21st birthday.

Military personnel and dependents assigned to Connecticut do not have to obtain a Connecticut license.

Non-citizens are required to provide proof of legal status in the United States.


Driver's License Renewal

Driver’s licenses are valid for 5 1/2 or 7 years (at driver’s option) and expire on the driver’s birthday.

A personal appearance at renewal generally is required.

Vision screenings are required at the first renewal, and not at further renewals.

A licensed driver age 65 and over has the option to renew a license every 2 years.

Military personnel and residents of the state temporarily living outside of the state may renew a license by mail.


Types of Driver's Licenses

Class 1: Any non-commercial motor vehicle.

Class 2: Any non-commercial motor vehicle, including a combination of motor vehicle and trailer or trailing unit used exclusively for camping or any other recreational purpose.

Commercial Licenses (must be renewed every 4 years):

  • Class A: Any combination of vehicles with GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or more, where the towing vehicle is in excess of 10,000 lbs.
  • Class B: Any combination of vehicles with GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or more; or any vehicle towing a vehicle less than 10,000 lbs.
  • Class C: Any single commercial vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,000 lbs., or any vehicle towing a vehicle less than 10,000 lbs. that is designed to carry at least 16 passengers; or vehicles carrying hazardous materials.

Distracted Driving

No person shall text message or use a hand-held phone while driving. Drivers under 18 are subject to a complete ban on cell phone and mobile electronic device use. Connecticut also has a general law against distracted driving, prohibiting drivers from engaging in any activity not related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the vehicle’s safe operation. School bus drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving except in emergencies.


Emergency Radio/Cellular

Citizen band radio channel 9 is not normally monitored for emergency calls. Emergency cell phone number is 911.


Headsets

No prohibition on wearing of headsets while driving.


Impaired Driving

All 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Connecticut requires the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders.


Move Over Law

State law requires drivers approaching one or more stationary emergency vehicles, including tow trucks, traveling in the same direction, to reduce speed and, if safe and reasonable to do so, vacate the lane closest to the stationary vehicle. Drivers approaching one or more stationary nonemergency vehicles are required to, if safe and reasonable to do so, vacate the lane closest to the stationary vehicle.


Seat Belts

Seat belts are required for the driver and all front seat passengers age 16 and older.

Violation of the seat belt law is a standard offense.

Riding in a pickup truck bed is not permitted for occupants under age 16 unless belted; some other exceptions apply.


Child Passenger Safety

Children over 7 years of age who weigh more than 60 lbs. must be in a seat belt.

Children under age 8 and less than 60 lbs. are required to use a child restraint. Children under age 4 or under 40 pounds must be in a harness restraint. Children under age 2 and under 30 lbs. are required to be in a rear-facing child restraint. Children who ride in a booster seat must use a lap and shoulder belt.

Children riding in a vehicle without lap and shoulder belts are exempt from complying with the booster seat requirement.

Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.


Railroad Crossing

Commercial vehicles transporting passengers, school buses, and operators of vehicles carrying hazardous materials must stop at railroad crossings.


School Buses

Vehicles must stop for school buses loading or unloading. Vehicles from the opposite direction on a parkway or divided highway need not stop.

Bumper Height

Modification of original vehicle bumper height is permitted, up to 4 inches from manufacturer’s original height for passenger vehicle, up to 30 inches above roadway for commercial vehicle.


Headlight Use

Headlights are required to be on 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, in conditions of insufficent light/adverse weather, or when visibility is less than 500 feet.


Hazard Light Use

Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.


Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.  Tire chains are only permitted between November 15 and April 30.


Studded Tires

Studded tires are permitted November 15 to April 30.


Glass/Window Tinting

The side and rear windows shall have a light transmittance of at least 32%.

The front window may have tinting only from the top of the window to a point 29 inches above the top of the driver’s seat.

All vehicles with tinted windows shall have a window sticker legible from the outside of the vehicle that indicates the sticker registration number and a certification of compliance with the tinting laws.


Telematics

No television screen or other device of a similar nature shall be installed in any position where it may be visible to the driver or may interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle. Exempts devices used to assist the operator while backing, parking, or maneuvering at a speed of not more than 12 mph; monitoring passengers seated rearward of the operator; to enhance or supplement the operator’s view of the roadway or to assist the operator in object detection; for control, instrumentation, navigation purposes; or that are automatically disabled whenever the vehicle is in motion.


Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.


Windshield Stickers

Signs, stickers, or other materials may be displayed in a 7-inch square location in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver, or in a 5-inch square location in the lower corner of the windshield nearest the driver.


Other Equipment Rules

N/A

Motorcycle Equipment

All motorcycles must have at least 1 brake, and those manufactured after 1973 must have brakes on both the front and rear wheels.

Every motorcycle must have either 1 or 2 headlamps.

All headlamps must be of sufficient intensity to reveal a person or vehicle at a distance of at least 100 feet when the motorcycle is operating below 25 mph, at least 200 feet between 25-35 mph, and 300 feet when traveling 35 mph or more.

Every motorcycle must have at least 1 tail lamp and 1 rear stop lamp.

Every motorcycle must have at least 1 red rear reflector.

A person operating a motorcycle shall not carry another person unless the motorcycle has a seat designed for 2 persons or there is a second seat firmly attached to the rear or side of the operator’s seat.

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.


Motorcycle Licenses

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  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 DOT.

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.


Motorcycle Noise Limits

Maximum noise level when vehicle is traveling 35 mph or less in soft site: 72 decibels.

Maximum noise level when vehicle is traveling 35 mph or less in hard site: 74 decibels.

Maximum noise level when vehicle is traveling over 35 mph in soft site: 79 decibels.

Maximum noise level when vehicle is traveling over 35 mph in hard site: 81 decibels.

Soft site means a testing site covered with grass or other ground cover, while a hard site means a test site covered with concrete, asphalt, gravel, or other hard compound.


Mopeds & Other

N/A

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 65 feet (excluding the transportation of boats under 4,000 lbs.); trailer and motor home length: 40 feet; width: 8 feet 6 inches (for trailers, excluding safety equipment up to 3 inches and the transportation of boats under 4,000 lbs.; for motor homes, excluding appurtenances up to 6 inches); height: 13 feet 6 inches (excluding appurtenances up to 6 inches).


Trailer Brakes

Each trailer or semitrailer having a GVW of 3,000 lbs. or more shall be equipped with a braking system operating on all wheels.

The braking system shall be adequate to control the movement of the trailer safely and to hold the trailer stationary.

All trailers over 8,000 lbs. shall be capable of braking by foot or hand.


Trailer Hitch/Signals

Every camp trailer is required to be attached by a hitch and shall be coupled to the frame of the towing vehicle by means of a safety chain, chains, cables, or equivalent device which shall be of sufficient strength to control the trailer in event of failure of the regular hitch or coupling.


Trailer Lighting

Every trailer shall be equipped with at least 2 tail lamps mounted on the rear that emit a red light plainly visible from at least 1,000 feet.

Every trailer shall be equipped with at least 2 red rear reflectors.

Every trailer shall be equipped with at least 2 red rear stop lamps.

Trailers 80 inches or more in width shall also have 2 front clearance lamps, 2 rear clearance lamps, 3 identification lamps mounted as close as possible to the vertical centerline, and 2 side marker lamps on each side, 1 at the front and 1 at the rear.

Trailers 80 inches or more in width shall also have 2 reflectors on each side.

Trailers with an overall length of 30 feet or more shall have 1 amber side marker lamp on each side and 1 amber lamp showing the center point of the trailer length-wise.


Trailer Mirrors

Every motor vehicle used for towing a house trailer must be equipped with a mirror located so as to give the operator a clear reflected view of the highway directly to the rear on a line parallel to the side of the body of the vehicle.


Trailer Speed Limits

55 mph where posted. Some areas 65 mph where posted.


Trailer Towing

N/A.


Trailer Other Provisions

No person shall occupy a house trailer while it is being moved upon a public highway.

Accident Reporting

Crashes are required to be reported when property damage exceeds $1000.

The deadline to file a report is 5 days.


Bail Bonds

Recognition of AAA arrest bond certificate up to $1,000-$5,000 with specified exceptions.


Liability Laws

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, and $10,000 for damage to property.

Motorcycles are required to maintain the same levels of insurance.

State has non-resident service of process law; does not have guest suit law.


Weigh Stations

All commercial motor vehicles are required to stop.


Bicycles

Bicycle helmets are required for all riders under age 16.

Drivers passing a bicycle must pass with a space of 3 feet between the motor vehicle and the bicycle.


Other

Connecticut is party to the Non-Resident Violator Compact.