If so, you’ve come to the right place! Perhaps you’re a parent, daunted by the prospect of your child getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time. No matter what your case may be, below is your guide to help you start navigating the process.

Let’s Start With the Eligibility Requirements

According to the state’s DMV, you must be between 15 ½ years old and 18 years old to obtain a provisional permit, otherwise known as a learner’s permit. The California Graduated Driver Licensing program requires all first-time teen drivers to complete an approved drivers ed class before obtaining this permit. The course can be taken online, and it is required to pass a written exam.

What’s A Drivers Ed Class?

As a part of your California Drivers Ed Course, you will need to complete 25 hours of classroom instruction, and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel professional instruction. As described by the state’s DMV, the course will:

  • Cover the basic fundamentals of being a safe and responsible driver, including knowledge, attitudes, and driving skills necessary for the safe operation of a motor vehicle
  • Teach you pertinent laws in California, such as who has the right of way and proper stopping distance
  • Help you identify California state-specific road signs and what they mean.
  • Prepare you for the hazards and the driving precautions that must be observed during dangerous conditions, emergency situations, construction zones, and railroad crossings

California offers online drivers ed classes; in fact, they are encouraged. The course is $49.50, and offers free certificate delivery and free practice tests. California recommends driversed.com. The course is licensed by the DMV, and comprehensively covers everything required to obtain a learners permit. The course works on any device at any time and offers 24/7 customer support for both teens and parents. The course allows students to study the way that works best for them in the comfort of their own home, maximizing retention.

I Took an Online Drivers Ed Class and Passed. I Can Hit The Open Road, Right?

Almost!

After completing your drivers ed class, you will need to visit a DMV and take a Learner’s Permit Exam. You will need to bring the following:

  • A completed Driver License or Identification Card Application
  • Proof of Social Security
  • Your original birth certificate
  • Proof of identity and lawful U.S. presence
  • Proof of California residency with at least 2 documents
  • Certificates stating that you have either
    • Completed Driver’s Ed
    • Completed driver education and driver training
    • Are enrolled and participating in an approved driver training program

The aforementioned Learner’s Permit Exam consists of 46 questions. You need to answer at least 38 answers correctly in order to pass. You will have three chances to pass the test, although if you fail, you must wait seven days before attempting the exam again.

Once you pass the test, you will pay $33 and earn your provisional permit!

After obtaining a provisional permit, it is required that a student partakes in 50 hours of supervised on-road driving in order to obtain a license. The six hours of professional instruction achieved during drivers ed class does not count toward these 50 hours. At least ten of the 50 hours must be completed at night.

The Driving Test

After completing everything above and holding your provisional permit for at least six months, it is time for the final step. Visit the DMV website to schedule a driving test. If you pass this test, you will receive your provisional driver’s license. Congratulations!

Fewer Teens Are Getting Their License

Nearly 30,000 fewer teens are getting their licenses at 16 compared to a decade ago, ABC reports.

Proper instruction is vital. Studies have shown that the California driving program has reduced the number of crashes involving 16 and 17-year-olds. A student benefits greatly from receiving proper instruction and training when the requirements are rigorous. Remember, the CA driving program encourages online drivers ed. This same program is increasing driving safety and reducing the number of accidents. Perhaps there’s some correlation there!

Let’s be honest: as a parent, allowing your loved one to drive is daunting and stressful. One of the great benefits of an online drivers ed class is the ability for parent interaction. Parents can monitor, and even be active, in their child’s drivers ed coursework. While this is certainly a change from the traditional drivers ed classes that occur on-site, it is a worthwhile one. Students today have been raised on technology, and are often better-off learning in a technological setting. It also ensures that the coursework is actually completed – there is no dodging the system. I remember when I attended drivers ed about a decade ago and students slept, joked around, and treated the program remarkably disrespectfully. How they turned out as drivers, I am not sure. And I am not sure that I want to know. But I do know that that would not have been significantly reduced, if not eliminated, with an online course. I truly believe that drivers ed online can be used as a positive learning tool, not one that should cause concern among parents. Remember too, students will still need to obtain six hours of experience behind the wheel with professional supervision. There is no replacing that!

Remember to Breathe!

At times, the process of obtaining a license will be trying. There will be highs and lows, and moments of frustration. Remember to take your time, complete the necessary requirements, and DRIVE SAFELY! Slowly but surely you will improve as a driver and work your way towards obtaining the license you have always wanted.

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