Drivers Ed in New York
Completion of a New York Drivers Ed course is suggested and often required prior to obtaining your learner's permit, and ultimately receiving your Driver's License. Although not approved for the state of New York, I Drive Safely is a good course to prepare yourself for your state's licensing exam.
First-time drivers aren't required to take a driving instruction course to take the written test and get a learner's permit, but we can't stress enough the advantages of taking such a course early in your licensing process so you develop good habits as you practice driving.
However, once you do have your learner's permit you must take a course in order to schedule a road test and receive your license. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles recognizes two types of driver learning programs: prelicensing courses and driver education courses.
Prelicensing courses are offered only by commercial driving schools licensed by the DMV (most commercial driving schools offer the DMV-approved course). Completion of this five-hour classroom course earns you a prelicensing course certificate, MV-278. You must provide the certificate number when you schedule your road test and show the certificate to the examiner on the day of your test.
The prelicensing course covers the following driving fundamentals:
- The DMV point system
- The highway transportation system
- The laws of physics as they relate to driving and the effects of restraining devices
- Defensive driving techniques
- What to do in case of a collision
- The effects of driver attitude, emotions, and skills
- Alcohol and drugs, and their effects on driving
The prelicensing course costs around $50, and some schools can also provide hourly driving lessons for an additional charge. The DMV does not provide a list of these schools, so check the phone book under "driving instruction."
If you are under 18, your parent or guardian will need to also certify that you have completed 50 hours of practice driving before you are eligible to apply for a junior license.
Held only at high schools and colleges and approved by the New York State Education Department, driver education courses are comprehensive programs that include both classroom training and in-car driving instruction and practice.
The DMV requires more hours of classroom education with these courses than for the prelicensing course, so this is a good option for teenage drivers. If you complete this type of course, you will receive an MV-285 student certificate (formerly known as a "blue card"). You must provide the certificate number when you schedule your road test and show the certificate to the examiner on the day of your test.
For a list of approved driver education courses, contact your school or the Education Department. Our Driver's Training page has more about this option.
Regardless of which courses you decide to take, you'll benefit greatly from the DMV-prepared Driver's Manual and Study Guide, available online in PDF format. It contains all the rules of the road as well as safety tips and practice quizzes at the end of each chapter.
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