DC suspends plan to require driver education for first-time drivers

You are not going to have to worry about having to take a driver education course in the District anytime soon if you are a first-time driver. The city was on the verge of enacting a new rule on May 1 to require new drivers of all ages to complete extensive driver education classes before getting their license. But officials have now put the brakes on that plan after taking a closer look at how this requirement would impact D.C. residents.

In 2014, the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles drafted regulations requiring new drivers to have to pass a driver education course consisting of 30 hours of classroom lessons and eight hours of behind-the-wheel training before they are eligible to take the driver license test.

The city said the rule was aimed at creating safer drivers and reducing accidents. But it has now suspended the plan in order to take a closer look at what it means for residents. There had been several complaints about the cost of the commercial classes.

"They could do all the classroom work in two hours, and instead they make them pay all this money for a 30-hour session," said one D.C. resident. "It was a total make work, waste of money for everybody."

That is not to say people don't think D.C. drivers could use a little education.

"Drivers in D.C. are sometimes I think a little crazy," said another resident.

"I think they should absolutely have driver's ed, especially with young people now," said another driver we spoke with. "You hear about accidents, they are either under 18 or over 65, so yeah, I think it's definitely important."

There is still a test to get your license, but for now, future drivers will just have to study on their own time. First-time drivers can still take a commercial course if they want or can just pick up a study guide and look it over on their own.

New teenage drivers will still be required to get a learner's permit and pass a vision test, road skills test and knowledge test while completing at least 40 hours of supervised driving.

MORE: http://dmv.dc.gov/page/mandatory-driver-education