Finally, I am a proud owner of a Connecticut Driver license.
As a foreigner I am only allowed to drive in the USA for one year with the international driver license so it was about time to get an American driver license. Besides, my Pennsylvania ID expired and I was getting tired of using my passport. So here a short description of the three things I needed to do in order to get a Connecticut driver license.
Part 1 - 8h Safe Driving Course ($125)
Overall a good thing. Similar to what we have in Switzerland. If I remember correctly we also had some light math/physics about car behavior where as this course only consistent of how drinking, taking drugs and being tired influences the driving skills. Unfortunately, it is based on the scary tactic and I felt kind of like in a boot camp where they try to “brainwash” you.
Alcohol is bad! If you drink and drive you are going to kill people! Do you want to be a murder?
Where I believe in not drinking while driving and also the designated driver concept I think that is not the best way to teach it. After a few months these teenagers will have forgotten what they learned in this course.
The best part about this course was that there were two Spanish speaking people in the course who barely spoke any English. When asked what their name is they weren’t able to answer till someone translated it to Spanish for them. I wonder how much they learned in this course. But guess what… they passed =)
Part 2 - Written Exam ($40)
I read through the handbook with all the rules about driving in the states, because I really wanted to pass this test. But as it turned out, this was wasted time. After queuing in 3 different lines (sign in, payment, document check) and overall waiting time of 3 hours I was allowed to take the test. Part of the long waiting is the STACK principle rather than the FIFO, which I observed. Even though the explanation on the stack said, that the new paper should be put underneath the stack the new ones always landed on top…
The test was rather easy, 25 questions and after 20 answers I was told, that I passed the test. No need to answer the last 5 questions. At least I saved 2 minutes there.
Part 3 - Road Test ($66)
I was a little nervous for the test when I arrived at the DMB, even though I have been driving for 10 years. The main reason that I was nervous was that it was unclear if I was allowed to take the test in a rented car. Since many friend incl. the car rental guy told me that I wouldn’t be allowed to do that. After a short wait (30min) I was asked to meet the expert by the car. We entered the car and off we went. I started a discussion with the expert which he didn’t mind, so the 10 min driving passed rather quickly. He was a very nice guy and he seemed also to have a critical opinion about the safe driving course and mentioned that he doesn’t understand why Swiss people have to take this test, since the German and French people don’t. After 5 right turns (no kidding, I didn’t do a single left turn ). I passed the test, Jihaa! One more time queuing to get the actual ID and I was done.
The only time, I got nervous was when the expert asked me what type of car I’m driving and I didn’t know the answer. I had to tell him that I rented so many cars, that I don’t care anymore.
But to everyone out there let me tell you this: You are allowed to take the road test with a rental car if you have a valid international driver license! (at least in Connecticut)
13 hours and $231 and I am legal allowed to drive in the states for another 6 years!
If I include the rental car fee and insurance for the two times I drove to the DMV, the price would be around ~$350
Fun fact: The only eye-color which is missing on my ID’s is green! This one is grey, the last one was brown and my old Swiss ID said blue