Preparing to Become a New Driver: Which States Require Drivers Ed?

State Requirements for New Drivers: Which States Require Drivers Ed 

Preparing to Become a New Driver: Which States Require Drivers Ed?

Driving is overwhelming for many new teen drivers. In fact, that’s the case for many adult drivers as well. Having to learn traffic rules and signs is terrifying and may seem complicated, especially when teens are trying to retain large amounts of information from so many sources. Throw in the added fear of veering or swerving into the neighboring lane while driving and many new drivers become reluctant ever to step foot behind the wheel.

Drivers education courses are an excellent way for teens to learn the rules of the road from licensed professionals with the experience to train them. Not only are these courses beneficial, but in many states, but they are required training for all new drivers.

Why Take a Drivers Ed Course?

If it isn’t necessary in your state, you might be asking yourself why you’d spend the time and money to take a drivers ed course. Drivers education is an excellent resource for teens preparing for their driving exam. In many states, rules are complex and often difficult to remember. And, for some teens, the thought of parallel parking causes fear which hinders their ability to perform well during their exam. 

Licensed and certified driving instructors have seen it all and trained students at all skill levels so that they can help you as well.

Apart from helping teens relax, some benefits of drivers ed courses include:

  • Teaching teens road signs and traffic laws.

  • Teaching them defensive driving habits so they are alert and ready for anything they encounter on the road.

  • Possibly reducing insurance premiums (in some states ).

  • Giving teens more confidence in their skills, since they’re practicing the skills with a licensed professional.

  • Teaching teens what to do if they are stopped by a police officer.

One of the top reasons to take drivers ed is it can make you safer on road. The high rate of accidents which are caused by 15-18-year old drivers is remarkable. Studies indicate that states requiring drivers ed courses can help novice drivers remain safer behind the wheel, and help minimize the total number of traffic accidents in this age range.

Is Drivers Ed Required in My State?

Every state has its own set of rules as it relates to drivers ed courses. Today, 32 states require teens to take drivers ed before they can sit in for the written and driving exam to get their drivers license. In some states, the requirement is only for teens age 14-18 who are sitting in for the exam. 

In other states, all new drivers are required to take an educational training course. There are also rules in place for states that don’t have a drivers ed program requirement. For example, in Alaska, teens must have 40-hours of driving experience, with a licensed adult before they can take their exam.

It is important to get additional information from your state’s DMV office to know the hour requirements for classroom education and driving training before you can get your license.

Should You Participate in Drivers Ed If It Isn’t Required?

Yes! Students will only benefit from the training and instruction a licensed driver education instructor provides. You’ill learn the rules of the road, how to make a 3-point turn, whether or not they can make a U-turn on certain streets and get answers to any other questions they have as new drivers.

States That Require Drivers Ed

California - DMV-approved 30-hour California drivers education course for drivers under 17 and a half years old.

Colorado - Drivers between 15 years old and 21 years old have to complete a drivers education course. 

Connecticut - All teen drivers must complete the 8-hour Safe Driving Course

Delaware - Teens under the age of 18 must complete a drivers ed course to get a Level 1 learners permit.

Florida - The Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course must be completed to get a learner's license.

Hawaii - To get a provisional license, teens under 18 years old must finish a state-approved drivers education course and behind-the-wheel training.

Idaho - Anyone 17 and under are required to take a drivers education course for a drivers license.

Illinois - High school driver education is required for drivers under 18 years old.

Indiana - Minors must take a drivers education course that’s been approved by the Indian Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Iowa - Laws mandate that underage drivers complete a 30-hour course (that can be done online) and 6 hours of in-car instruction. 

Kansas - To get a learners permit at 15 years old students must complete a drivers ed course.

Kentucky - Drivers who get a permit under the age of 18 must complete a driver training program. 

Louisiana - A 30-hour driver education course must to completed by teens between 15-17 years old. An 8-hour behind-the-wheel course must be completed as well. 

Maine - Applicants under 18 years old must have a driver education completion certificate to be eligible for a drivers license. 

Maryland - All new drivers of any age must complete a 30-hour drivers ed course and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training.

Massachusetts - Before scheduling the road test, applicants under 18 have to complete a drivers ed program

Michigan - All drivers under 18 years old has to complete a two segments of drivers education. The first segment includes 24 hours of instruction, 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training and four hours of instruction in a training vehicle. 

Minnesota - All new drivers under 18 need to take a DPS-approved 30-hour drivers ed course and 6 hours of driving training.

Mississippi - To get a learner’s permit at 14, students must prove that they are in a drivers education program at their school.

Montana - To get a learners permit at 14 and a half years old students must take a state-approved traffic education program

Nebraska - To get a Provisional Operator's permit or School Permit at 16 years old applicants must take a DMV-approved drivers ed course.

Nevada - Most teens under the age of 18 have to pass a drivers education course to get an instruction permit.

New Hampshire - Thirty hours of driver education and 40 hours of practice driving is required to get a drivers license in New Hampshire.

New Jersey - To get a student learners permit at 16 years old you must be enrolled in drivers education. 

New Mexico - A 30-hour drivers ed course is required for new drivers in New Mexico under 18 years old before getting an instructional permit. New drivers between 18 and 24 years old must take a DWI awareness class.

New York - Before you can schedule the road test for a license you must complete a 5-hour Pre-licensing Course.

North Carolina - Students who are at least 14 and a half can enroll in drivers ed to become eligible for a Level One Limited Learner Permit.

North Dakota - Fourteen and 15-year-olds must complete an approved driver training program through their school, the Department of Public Instruction or a commercial education provider.

Ohio - To get a probationary drivers license, applicants under 18 must take a 24-hour driver trainer course (in class or online) and 8 hours of driving instruction.

Oklahoma - Drivers ed is only required if you want to get a learners permit at 15 and half years old. 

Pennsylvania - Drivers ed and behind-the-wheel training is required to move from a Junior license to a Senior license before turning 18 years old.

Rhode Island - Drivers under 18 years old can get a limited instruction permit by taking a 33-hour drivers ed course.

South Carolina - All 15 and 16-year-olds must take a drivers ed course to get a license. 

Tennessee - Fifty hours of behind-the-wheel training must be completed by applicants under the age of 18. 

Texas - Teens between the ages of 14 and 17 have to complete a 32- hour driver education course. Applicants between the ages of 18 and 25 must complete a 6-hour adult drivers ed course.

Utah - The required drivers ed course for applicants who are 18 years old or younger consists of 18-30 hours of instruction (depending on how instruction is administered), 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training and 6 hours of supervised driving.

Vermont - Vermont’s driver education requirement for teen drivers includes 30 hours of instruction, 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training and 6 hours of supervised driving.

Virginia - Applicants under the age of 18 must provide proof that they have completed a state-approved drivers ed course to receive a license. 

Washington - Drivers under the age of 18 must complete a 30-hour course to get a license.

Wisconsin - To get a drivers license in Wisconsin, applicants under 18 must pass a 30-hour drivers ed course along with 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training.

Even if your state doesn’t require drivers ed you may get perks for completing a course. Twenty-five states will let you get a permit at a younger age if you’ve taken drivers ed, reduced the number of hours for behind-the-wheel training1 and you may also get a waiver for the driving tests.

Article updated 3/13/2020

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