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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Drivers’ Education – It’s not just for Teens!

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Learning to drive as an adult is typically easier than taking the wheel as a teen because in the minds of DMV officials, adults have a better grasp on road-responsibilities. Depending on where you live, driver’s education classes may be required for beyond that age of 18.

In July 2014, a new law went into effect in Illinois requiring new driver’s license applicants to successfully complete an adult driver education course prior to applying for an Illinois driver’s license if no qualifying driver education course had been completed prior to age 18. The six hour course is composed of classroom time or computer online time only. It does not include, and is not required to include, any behind-the-wheel training. Now more states are considering the same law.

Two years ago, Legislators in Utah stopped requiring anyone 18 years’ of age and older from taking a driver’s education course to obtain a license. Now, they are rethinking this decision. According to Republican Robert Spendlove, sponsor of the bill, national research shows “a significant number of teens were actually delaying licensure to age 18,” when many states no longer require driver’s education classes, “in order to avoid the driver’s training licensure requirements.” Additionally, he said that studies found that those who waited had higher accident rates in the three years following licensure. HB359 would require such training for anyone through age 24. The bill would also require driver’s education for anyone, of any age, who moved to the state from another country and did not hold a license there. The Ohio Department of Public Safety also wants all Ohio drivers, regardless of age, take a driver education course before obtaining an Ohio driver’s license. Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign the proposal, “Drive Toward a Safer Ohio,” before July 1, 2015.

Whether you’re learning to drive for the first time or just brushing up on the basics, drivers’ education has many benefits:

  • Instruction from a certified driving teacher.
  • Thorough learning and understanding of the rules of the road.
  • Learning driving skills designed to make you a defensive driver.
  • Increased chance of passing the state road test.
  • Course completion may reduce the time you must hold a learner’s permit (this will depend on your state).
  • Possible discount on auto insurance for successful completion of the classes.

If your state requires drivers’ education, it is important to find a state-approved course. Contact your local DMV for a listing.

What do you think? Will laws requiring adults to take drivers’ education make us all safer? Are online courses enough? Should it include behind-the-wheel training?

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.