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Washington D.C. Drivers Education

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The District of Columbia is one of the very few local units that does not require driver education to obtain a driver’s license. Those wanting to obtain a driver’s license must successfully pass knowledge and road skills tests, which the Washington D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV) provides for residents. So do authorized third parties.

Testing and Preparing to Drive

While the District of Columbia does not require successful completion of a driver education course to obtain a license, it does recommend successful completion of one. The DC DMV does certify and recommend several private driver education programs.

Each certified driving school offers students at least 30 hours of classroom training and at least eight hours of driving experience with a certified driver education instructor. The driving schools are not free, and each one is free to charge its own rate.

Graduated Driver’s License

Although driver’s education is not required, the District of Columbia does enforce a graduated driver’s license system called the GRAD License Program. Anyone between 16 and 21 years of age must obtain a learner permit, which allows them to drive during limited times while accompanied by a licensed adult driver over age 21. Anyone with a learner permit only can drive between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Upon completion of learner permit requirements the next step in the graduated licensing program is a provisional license. Motorists must possess and use a provisional license for at least six months. A Certification of Eligibility form signed by a licensed adult driver who is over age 21will affirm the provisional driver has completed the requisite amount of daytime and nighttime driving to qualify for full driving privileges.

The final step of the graduated licensing system is obtaining full driving privileges with a Washington D.C. driver’s license. Teens must be at least 17 years of age to qualify for a driver’s license with full driving privileges and pass a road test. A $47 fee applies and is payable by credit card or debit card.

Remedial Driver Program

Anyone who receives a moving violation in the District of Columbia has the option of completing a DC DMV-approved online driving course. Successful completion will remove the points from the moving violation from your driving record, which means no increase in auto insurance rates.

The online course if available every hour of the day and every day of the year – barring routine maintenance issues. A DC DMV hearing examiner must approve of the driving course option during a moving violation hearing for the option to apply and negate the points from the traffic violation.

Defensive Driving Courses

The DC DMV recommends all drivers on occasion complete an online DMV-approved Defensive Driving Course through one of two approved schools. The American Safety Council offers an approved DC Defensive Driving Course, and so does Online Traffic School Incorporated. The online courses are available 24 hours a day every day of the year.

The DC DMV especially recommends family members of elderly drivers and others who might have suffered debilitating injuries or other conditions that greatly limit their driving ability.

Last Verified:
Sep 13, 2022