Is Driver’s Ed Required, and is it Worth it?

April 25, 2014
Man Driving Car

Learning how to drive is a major milestone in anyone’s life. If your son or daughter is getting behind the wheel for the first time, you’re probably a very proud parent. And you know it’s important to teach your teen that driving is a privilege – not a right.

Driving is a complex task that involves mastery of multiple skills. It requires a full understanding of the rules of the road and how to adjust to different driving situations and circumstances. Over time, your son or daughter may be able to predict actions other drivers may take.

Enrolling your teen in an accredited driver’s education program can help improve their confidence and skill level – and can give you peace of mind when they’re on the road.

Is driver’s ed required for your child?

In many states, teens aren’t required to complete a driver’s ed course to obtain their driver’s license. New York, for instance, doesn’t require driver’s ed; California and Texas do.

Georgia requires drivers to complete a certified driver’s education course to receive their license at 16. Otherwise, they must wait until 17. The law, Joshua’s Law, was passed after teenager Joshua Brown died following a car accident on a wet road.

Since laws regarding driving and driver’s licensing vary by state, check your state’s department or bureau of motor vehicles website to find out about specific requirements.

Is driver’s ed worth it?

Driver’s education courses can offer very real benefits:

Your child can become more confident.

When your teen successfully completes a driver’s ed course, they may feel more self-assured about driving because they’ve learned best practices from a professional training instructor.

Your child will learn about the responsibilities of driving.

After completing a driver education class, your child will have a better understanding of the responsibilities all drivers share.

Your child can become a safer driver.

In addition to teaching driving etiquette, certified driver’s ed courses address safety. Young drivers are taught the rules of the road and the importance of avoiding distractions while driving. Instruction may also include safety tips specific to your area – like tips about driving in different weather conditions and navigating busy roads.

Is driver’s ed alone enough?

While enrolling your child in a certified driver’s ed course is an important first start, it should only supplement the other driving lessons they receive. Teens are new to driving and they need as much experience as possible. Three out of four serious teen driver crashes are due to inexperience, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute.

We recommend that your teen driver receives at least 40 hours of additional behind-the-wheel instruction from a licensed adult, preferably under a variety of different driving conditions, including nighttime and inclement weather driving. Most states require 40 to 50 hours of supervised driving by law, so check your state’s bureau of motor vehicles website for more information.

Teens often emulate how their parents drive, so be sure to set a great example. It’s likely that your teen will make a few mistakes. You should always remain calm and provide clear instructions ahead of time.

During this exciting journey, check out our teen driving resources for more useful information.

  • New Drivers