Pennsylvania Drivers Education
Pennsylvania drivers ed is a program intended to help state residents with learning driving skills and traffic laws. Several types of drivers education options exist in Pennsylvania that cater to younger drivers as well as more mature drivers. Many people are more familiar with the driver's education that caters to teenagers. Drivers may have taken these driving lessons when they were teenagers when learning how to operate a motor vehicle for the first time. Driving classes are also available to older drivers in the state to refresh their knowledge and skills. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) approves and regulates these courses. However, they are not responsible for administering them. Rather, a driving course is offered through licensed third parties located throughout the state in a variety of formats. More details on driver training courses are provided in the information below, including an explanation of why Pennsylvania residents take this course and how you can enroll in such a program.
What is drivers education in Pennsylvania?
Drivers ed is primarily associated with individuals who are learning to drive for the first time. This first time driving school is a rite of passage for many teenagers, as it is a requirement for them to take this course if they wish to obtain a regular driver's license prior to them becoming 18 years of age. Pennsylvania has a graduated license program in which different types of license are granted to teenagers versus adults. A state resident who is 16 years of age may qualify for a special driver's license called a junior license after having held a learner's permit for one year and completed 65 hours of supervised training. A junior driver's license will automatically become an unrestricted license once a driver turns 18 years of age. However, a teenager must take driver safety course if he or she would like to obtain an unrestricted license before that time. This teen driving school consists of 30 hours of classroom instruction, as well as six hours of behind-the-wheel training. Behind-the-wheel training is the practical portion of driver's education where a student actually operates a car under the supervision of a licensed driving instructor. Download our comprehensive guide for details on the graduated license program and obtaining a Pennsylvania driver's license.
A driving safety course may also be an option for drivers 55 years of age or older. This driving course is referred to as a Mature Driver Improvement course in Pennsylvania. However, this course should not be confused with driver improvement courses associated with traffic school or traffic violations. Instead, the mature driving training class is intended to help licensed older drivers become updated on current traffic laws and driving techniques. The state's Department of Transportation in no way requires seniors to take this course. However, successful completion of a Mature Driver Improvement course may include certain incentives that are further discussed in the section below.
Why do people in Pennsylvania use drivers education?
As drivers education is typically associated with teenaged drivers, the majority of Pennsylvania residents who make use of this program are new drivers between 16 and 18 years of age. A teen driving course is necessary for a driver possessing a junior license to obtain a regular, unrestricted license before his or her 18th birthday. While the process of how to get a junior license allows a minor to legally operate a motor vehicle, this type of license comes with certain restrictions. These restrictions prohibit teenagers from driving after 11 p.m. and place limits on the number of minors that can be in a vehicle. Drivers education offered in many public high schools throughout the state tends to be one of the most convenient and affordable options for many teenagers and their parents as it is typically available during school hours and at little to no cost. Many seniors take driving lessons through the state's Mature Driver Improvement program not only to improve their driving knowledge and skills but also to receive a discount on their automobile insurance. Make sure to inquire about this discount with your insurance provider as not every carrier may offer this incentive.
Download our comprehensive guide to find out the restrictions on teenage driver licenses and how to obtain a non-restricted license in Pennsylvania.
How to Enroll in Drivers Education
Drivers ed courses offer several options for enrollment in Pennsylvania. Online driving course options have become increasingly available throughout the state in addition to more traditional driving schools housed in physical locations. Most teenagers may opt to take this course at their high school if it is offered. Enrolling for a driver's education course at a public high school may be as simple as registering for an elective credit. Different school districts may have different procedures so it is best to contact your local school district for more details about public school driver's ed. Independent driving schools offering either online or in-person classes are typically privately owned businesses and thus charge tuition or fees for attending. Not every driving course offered at these schools will feature the 30 hours of classroom instruction and the six hours of behind-the-wheel training. Teenagers learning how to obtain a driver's license in PA will need to verify that a driving school offers all the course components they need prior to enrolling. Mature driver training classes are also offered through independent schools and also charge a nominal fee to attend. The Pennsylvania DOT can provide you with a list of schools offering both mature driving classes and teen driver's education.