D.C. mandates driver education program beginning May 1

WASHINGTON — D.C. residents getting a driver’s license for the first time will be required to complete an education program before they’re issued the permit.

The new regulation begins May 1, and applies to anyone who gets a new or renewed learner’s permit on or after May 1, regardless of age.

Drivers must complete a D.C. course — approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles — that consists of 30 hours of classroom preparation and eight hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.

The agency’s website includes a list of approved driver schools.

The course must be completed no more than six months prior to receiving a driver’s license, according to the agency.

News of the mandatory training comes as a financial surprise for young drivers who planned on learning to drive from their parents. The cost of the driver education program is set by the individual driving school.

Unlike some jurisdictions, the District’s public school system does not offer driver education.

A spokesperson said DMV director Lucinda Babers was out of the office Friday, and would be available to answer questions about the program next week.

For the past month, the agency has been posting about the requirements on Twitter and Facebook with a link to the information on its website, and included details in its March e-newsletter, which is distributed to more than 200,000 people.

In Maryland, all new drivers must complete an approved driver’s ed program. In Virginia, drivers under 19 must complete an approved driver’s ed class before getting a license.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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