Turning your teen into a safe driver is a complex task. Part of the process 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.|
Teens under age 18 wishing to obtain a driver’s license must present a Driver Education Student Completion Certificate and a Behind-the-Wheel Student Completion Certificate prior to scheduling the mandatory road test. To obtain a driver education student completion certificate, a student must complete a classroom course. The classroom phase of a driver education course is at least 32 hours, which cannot be completed in less than 16 days. The student completion certificate for the driving laboratory component requires 7 hours of behind-the-wheel training and 7 hours of in-car observation with a DOT certified instructor. Additionally, parents are required to provide the student with 30 hours of supervised driving practice, with 10 of those hours taking place at night.
The Texas Parent-Taught Driver Education (PTDE) program became law in 1997 as an alternative to driver education in a conventional school setting. This program allows teens to take their driver education course online (with DPS-approved providers) and allows parents to provide the in-car driver training. In order to participate in PTDE, the parent must first submit a Request for Parent-Taught Driver Education Packet from the Department of Public Safety.
- 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.