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Motor Vehicles

Registration and licensing requirements

State laws vary when it comes to motor vehicle insurance requirements, licensing and registration. The term vehicle generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Service members and their families will want to understand their state’s laws on registration and licensing before moving to a new state. Visit the Motor Vehicle Services page for links to state-specific websites.

Motor vehicle laws

State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:

  • Seatbelt use
  • Child safety seats
  • Motorcycle operation
  • The use of cellphones and other digital devices while driving

Learn more about motor vehicle laws in your state at the State Laws page.

Installation Specific Information

Registration & Licensing Requirements

Colorado State law requires you to have sufficient liability insurance and a valid driver’s license in order to operate a vehicle. The term “vehicle” generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Further, your vehicle must be properly registered. Even though you are in the Military, you may be required to register your vehicle in-state and obtain an in-state license within a few months of moving. Access complete information on insurance, driver’s licensing, and where and how to register your vehicle by visiting the State Department of Motor Vehicles website.

State Laws

You and your passengers must always wear seatbelts while driving, you will be ticketed and issued heavy fines if seatbelts are not secured. State law requires that all children under 6 years of age be properly restrained in child seats. Some states also require younger, smaller children to sit in the back seat.

Motorcycles and their operators are subject to special laws. If you own and operate a motorcycle, you must comply with those laws. Visit the State Department of Motor Vehicles website for more information.

Many States and local jurisdictions have strict laws about the use of cell phones and other digital devices while driving. Research these laws on the State Department of Motor Vehicles website. Tickets will be issued and fines assessed for violating these laws. Play it safe and always use a “hands free” device if you must use a cell phone or other PDA while driving. Hands-free devices must be used while operating a motor vehicle on ALL military installations worldwide.

Base Regulations

Restricted Areas -- Access to restricted facilities is strictly controlled and posted with warning signs. Do not enter any area marked as either "Controlled" or "Restricted" without the express written permission of the installation commander. Without proper clearance, armed security forces will respond and detain anyone involved.

Photography -- Allowed, except in the designated restricted sites.

Traffic -- Colorado state traffic laws apply on Buckley AFB. Seat belts are mandatory. State and local base officials can stop vehicles for suspected violations of seat belt laws. Child seats/restraints are mandatory for children under 40 lbs.

Cell phones -- Not authorized while operating a motor vehicle on Buckley AFB.  Hands free devices are allowed. 

Registering Vehicles on Base

It is no longer required to register vehicles on base at Buckley AFB.

Emission Testing

Colorado's Front Range cities require emission testing for all automobiles and nonagricultural use trucks every other year on vehicles 1982 or newer and annually on vehicles older than 1981. Testing locations are centrally located. Colorado state law requires an emissions inspection and VIN verification to license an out-of-state vehicle.


Vehicle insurance coverage is mandatory in Colorado. It must be verified at the time of vehicle registration.

Colorado License Plates

Colorado license plates must be obtained in your county within 5 days of establishing residency or employment. Non-resident students and military personnel are excluded as long as you have valid license plates from your home state.
To obtain Colorado plates, you need to have:

  • Verification of motor vehicle motor and serial numbers
  • Title or registration 
  • Emissions inspection

You can purchase license plates at a vehicle registration office located in the county in which you reside. Fees are based on weight, age and taxable value.

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