What to Know
- D.C. public schools used to do training of new drivers for a small cost but dropped it in 2009.
- The course must be at an approved school, consist of 30 hours of classroom and eight hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.
- Taking classes could cost $1,000 or more for new D.C. drivers. D.C. Council wants more information about those costs.
All new drivers in D.C., regardless of age, will be required starting May 1 to successfully complete a driver's education course before they can receive driver's licenses.
The course must be at an approved school and consist of 30 hours of classroom and eight hours of behind-the-wheel instruction before drivers can take the driver’s test. D.C. public schools used to do such training for a small cost but dropped it in 2009.
“I was driving at 16,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “I did have driver education, and I did go through having a learner’s [permit] and then a driver's license.”
Commercial classes from approved driving schools can be expensive. D.C. Council Transportation Chairman Mary Cheh raised a red flag on requiring those costs.
“We're effectively saying then to people without means that they can't get a driver's license,” Cheh said. “So, we have to figure something out.”
Cheh and Bowser said they want to take a second look at the Department of Motor Vehicles' plan for new drivers. They said the plan could affect teens, immigrants and other first-time applicants.
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“Of course, we want people to be trained and drive properly,” Cheh said. “But what will it mean for people of modest means? Some of these courses can cost $1,000 or more.”
D.C. DMV officials said almost all states have education requirements. They told Cheh in a letter that the new requirements have been advertised for months, and they're trying to insure safe driving, particularly among teens.
"Although program costs is a consideration, it should not be the driving factor when it relates to safety," wrote Lucinda Babers, director of the D.C. DMV, to Cheh.
No formal driver training is required to take city tests at this time. Cheh said she'll ask DMV officials for more information in a hearing later this in April.