Drivers Ed in California
Completion of a California Drivers Ed course is required prior to obtaining your learner's permit, and ultimately receiving your Driver's License. DMV.ORG suggests I Drive Safely as a good choice for completing your California driver education requirement online or with a home study course
Drivers Education for Teens
Enroll in a drivers education course. Fulfill your California drivers ed requirement for first time drivers online quickly and easily from the comfort of your home.
Where to Start?
There are four steps to becoming a licensed driver in California. They are:
- Complete a driver education class, such as the one offered by our sponsors above.
- Apply for a learner's permit and hold it for minimum of 6 months (must be 15 1/2 to obtain a permit).
- Learn driving skills in a formal driver's training program (in-car instruction) and practice with your parents.
- Apply for a California provisional driver license.
Step One: Driver Education
Driver education must be taught by a public or private high school, or by a state-licensed driver's education school. Parents are not permitted to teach the basic driver's education course to their home-schooled teens.
The basic requirements are:
- 25 Hours
- If you take an Internet-based course, it must be the equivalent of the requirements for classroom instruction.
And, of course, you must receive a passing grade.
Step Two: Learner Permit
A learner's permit allows you to drive as long as you are supervised by an adult driver who is older than 25.
You will need an original driver's license application form (Form DL 44) signed by your parent or guardian. If he or she won't be accompanying you to your appointment, then you can call (800) 777-0133 to ask the DMV to send you a form your parents can sign in advance. You can also pick one up at your local DMV office.
On the day of your DMV appointment:
- Provide your Social Security number.
- Turn in your DL 44.
- Have your thumbprint taken.
- Have your picture taken.
- Show your original birth certificate or a certified copy of the birth certificate. If you're not a U.S.-born citizen, bring proof that you are a legal U.S. resident.
- Provide your full legal name.
- Have the proper proof-of-completion forms for driver education classes, which the instructor will give you.
- Pay the $27 application fee, which is good for one year (even if you have to retake the written test).
- Pass a vision exam.
- Pass the traffic laws and signs test (the written test). If you have special needs, the DMV administers alternative test taking methods.
The written test is multiple choice. You must get at least 39 questions right out of 46. You can take the test three times if you don't pass the first time, but you must wait seven days between tests.
If you fail the test three times, you'll need to start the application process over with a new Form DL 44. One more thing: All written tests must be started before 4:30 p.m., so that you have time to finish before closing.
Step Three: Driver's Training
California requires drivers younger than 17 1/2 to complete a DMV-approved driver's training course with a licensed instructor before taking the driving test. This course must offer at least 6 hours of behind-the wheel instruction (no more than two hours at a time).
In addition, during the minimum of 6 months that you must hold a learner's permit, you're required to practice driving for an additional 50 hours with a parent or guardian supervising you from the passenger seat, 10 of these hours must be at night. The parent or guardian will then sign the back of your learner's permit testifying that these hours were driven.
To help these practice hours be more productive, you or your parents or guardian may download a copy of the Parent-Teen Training Guide to learn what skills you will need to practice, how to document your hours, and how to make sure you understand the skills required to drive safely.
Step Four: Getting Your License
After you have completed all four steps above and have held your learner's permit for at least minimum of 6 months, you will be ready to apply for your provisional driver's license. Be sure to consult the page that covers Applying for a New License.
After passing the road test you'll be given a provisional license. If you're younger than 18 years old this requires you to be accompanied by a parent, guardian, licensed driver 25 years old or older, or a licensed, certified driving instructor while:
- Driving between 11 pm and 5 am. for the first year or until you turn 18.
- Driving with any number of passengers under 20 years of age years old, for the first year or until you turn 18.
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