DC Sending New Drivers to School

Beginning May 1, 2016, every new driver in the District of Columbia will have to take a driver education course to get a license. The old days of taking a test and hitting the road are over. Now, a 30 hour class is mandatory for all first-time drivers. Will it help to reduce car accidents? Only time will tell.

Neighboring Maryland already requires a 30 hour course, as does Virginia, for those under 19 years of age. D.C. had been the one Washington area holdout, but that is about to change, beginning next month.

While a driving safety course sounds like a good idea, there is little empirical evidence that it makes better drivers, or reduces car accidents. Stats kept by the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles show that Maryland drivers are no less likely to cause collisions in DC than native DC drivers, or those from Virginia, even though Maryland requires the new driver safety course. In other words, mandatory driving courses may not do anything to reduce accidents or personal injuries.

Another issue is cost and availability. Driving schools in the District typically charge $50 per hour for driver training. At that rate, a 30 hour class would cost $1,500. Plus, according to the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, there are only five (5) driving schools approved in the District (plus another 10 in Maryland and Virginia). With so few licensed providers, new drivers may have to wait.

If you or a family member has been injured by a new driver or an old one, call for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers today. There is never any fee, unless we win.