Driver Education

California requires driver education and behind the wheel driver training. You may take driver education or driver training at public or private high school, a state licensed driving school, or a home study or internet training program.

Minimum Requirements

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 online training program. If you choose home study or an online training program, it must be the equivalent of the requirements for classroom instruction.

Driver training (behind-the wheel) must consist of at least:

  • 6 hours of driver training.
  • The driver training cannot exceed two hours per day. If you are in a car observing another driver, that time does not count toward the 6 hours needed for the required behind-the-wheel driver training.

Find a Program Right for You

  • When selecting a driving school: Look for a quality school that focuses on safety, rather than cost, convenience or just passing the test.
  • Ask around. Does your high school offer driver education? Check with your friends and neighbors about driver education programs they’ve used.
  • Ask your parents to call and visit several driving schools. They can ask specific questions about operations, curriculum and training vehicles and ask for references.
  • Don’t settle for schools that advertise a quick or easy driver education program—focus on quality.

What You Can Learn

  • The rules of the road and how to control the vehicle.
  • How to combat distracted driving.
  • How to drive defensively, anticipate dangers and minimize risk.
  • What it means to be a safe, courteous and fuel-efficient driver.
  • What’s needed to pass a driving test.
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.

  • Choosing a Driving School – This printable guide has lots of tips about picking the right driving school. Be sure to share it with your parents.
  • Becoming the New Driver in Your Family – This brochure outlines tips and responsibilities of being a safe driver.
  • Driver-ZED – Offered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Driver-ZED is a computer-based program to help you practice driving.