Drivers Education for Teens
By Wesley Smith
Virtually every teenager will do it; take a drivers education course to obtain their learners permit and eventually an unrestricted drivers license. Most states have requirements that must be met for a teen to get their learners permit.
What is a learners permit?
A learners permit is a special permit issued by a State Department of Motor Vehicles (often referred to as DMV, but some states have varying titles) office for teenagers to begin "behind the wheel" drivers education training. For many states, the average age you can apply for a learners permit is 15. However, there are a few states where you can apply as early as 14 and as late as 16 years of age. Different states have different requirements. For example, there are a few states that have no formal requirements, where as most require initial written testing of driving basics. Six to eight hours of classroom (or approved home training course) is typically required.
Drivers Education Training
Once you've achieved your initial learners permit, you can expect to continue your classroom study, but can typically begin your "behind the wheel" training with an adult; usually a drivers education instructor or parent. During this time, most states require a certain number of hours of "behind the wheel" experience. You'll learn many of the basics, such as: stopping, watching for traffic around you, turning, identifying various traffic signs, how to parallel park and more. Don't take these for granted! Your initial drivers education training can set an important track for your driving record.
The trip to your local DMV
Once you've completed an approved drivers education course, you'll be issued a license. This varies from state to state. Some allow you to complete a drivers education course while 15, but must wait until you are 16 years of age to obtain a license. Still others impose conditions for a new driver, such as limited hours of driving, driving with an adult of a certain age, etc. Your local DMV office will let you know any special provisions.
Before you get your license, there are some things you should know about that will be necessary to receive your drivers license. DMV offices are very strict about documentation you must present to get your license. You should always check with them first and even get a checklist. Typical items you will need to bring to your local DMV office to obtain your drivers license:
Your original birth certificate, or a certified copy of your birth certificate with a state seal. Be prepared! Simply taking a photocopied certificate will not work for most states. You should be prepared for this very early on in your drivers education training. If need by, contact the state where you were born to obtain a certified copy if you do not have one, or your original certificate.
Social Security Card. Make sure you have your social security card. Most metropolitans have a local Social Security Office where you can quickly go and obtain an SSN card if you've lost your original. Again, make sure you have this early on.
Glasses or contacts. You will be required to take an eye exam when applying for your drivers license. Be sure to bring your glasses or wear your contacts to the DMV office.
Proof of completion of a state approved drivers education course. If you are taking a local classroom drivers education course, they should provide you with a certificate. You should always be sure they are certified by the state, if your state requires such certification. If you have taken a state approved home study course, such as a parent taught course issued by some states, or a third party software training course, they will provide you with a certificate of completion.
Proof of insurance. Check with your local DMV. Some states require this, some states may not. You should have the minimum insurance required for your state, usually liability insurance. Be prepared to present proof of insurance to the DMV clerk.
Proof of enrollment in High School. Many states require that you be enrolled in school and have proof of enrollment to obtain a drivers license under the age of 18. Your school will have the necessary form and can provide it for you to take to the DMV office. In cases where you may no longer be in school, and have opted for a GED, make sure you bring your GED certificate with you.
These are the typical things you will need to take to your local DMV office when applying for your drivers license. Of course, each state can vary and you can visit your State's DMV website for more specific information.
Drivers Education Software
More and more states are offering modern alternatives to the typical classroom drivers education courses. Some states offer a parent taught drivers education where students can study and test at home, as well as "behind the wheel" with a parent or legal guardian. Many states are now allowing students to take an approved CD ROM based or online course.
You can find more information about online drivers education courses at the Drivers Education web site.
About The Author
Wesley Smith is the Product Manager for the Drivers Education web site and helps teens with state driving requirements to obtain their learners permit and drivers license.