Turning your teen into a safe driver is a complex task. It involves learning the rules of the road and how to safely operate a vehicle – two big areas where professional driver education and training can help tremendously.
Quality driver education provides a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that can help mold a safe driver. It can also help preserve your relationship with your teen, as even very skilled and safety-conscious parents might not have the time or temperament to be the best teacher.
Choosing a Quality Driving School
When the time comes to pick a driving school, look beyond your budget and timeframe to seek out a quality driving school—one that focuses on your teen’s safety, not just passing the license test at the cheapest price.
- Ask around. Does your local high school offer driver education? Check with friends and neighbors about driving schools they’ve used.
- Call several driving schools. Ask questions about the quality of their operations, and ask for references.
- Talk to people about classroom vs. online classes.
- Visit several driving schools. Ask to sit in on a session, take a look at the vehicles and student materials. Check to see if they use current training materials, have professional instructors and maintain clean classrooms and safe vehicles.
- Focus on quality. Don’t settle for driving schools that advertise quick or easy programs.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau.
|Quality Driving Schools||Requirements for Schools Displaying the AAA Symbol|
|Require instructors to complete ongoing education.||Newer, well-maintained driver training cars.|
|Have reasonable student-teacher ratios.||Up-to-date training materials.|
|Are members of professional associations such as American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association and Driving School Association of the Americas.||Professionally trained instructors.|
|Want, encourage and facilitate parental involvement.||A record of good business practices.|
|Have a solid history of resolving complaints to their customers' satisfaction.||Discounts to AAA members.|
Driver education and driver training provide the foundation for the skills and attitudes teens will use for the rest of their lives. The knowledge, skills, and attitudes they learn in driver education/training classes can help them avoid traffic tickets, lower their chances of being involved in accidents, and make them into safer drivers.
Your teen may take driver education or driver training at a public or private high school, or at a state licensed driving school.
Minimum Requirements in California
Driver Education must consist of at least:
- 30 hours of classroom instruction. The 30-hour minimum does not include breaks or meal times.
- Home study or an Internet training program. If you choose home study or an Internet training program, it must be the equivalent of the requirements for classroom instruction.
Driver Training must consist of at least:
- 6 hours of driver training.
- The driver training cannot exceed two hours per day. If your teen is in a car and observing another driver, that time does not count toward the 6 hours needed for the required behind-the-wheel driver training
Does your local AAA club offer driver education?
- Choosing a Vehicle – How to choose a safe vehicle when the time comes.
- Teaching Your Teens to Drive – A program that gives parents everything they need to be a good driving coach.
- Choosing a Driving School – Driver education courses are designed to teach new drivers fundamental skills required to drive a motor vehicle. Tips in this AAA brochure will help you select the best driver training school.
- Becoming the New Driver in Your Family -This brochure outlines tips and responsibilities of being a safe driver.