January 23, 2007
Driving seems to be what makes 16 the big birthday for teenagers. In California, and many other states, when you turn 16 you are eligible to receive your driver’s license. The process of getting your license takes time, the rules are strict, and the insurance is high, but it is all worth it.
This week, I want to talk about what it takes to simply get your license. It is a long process that some people, myself included, don’t know much about.
Before anything, you must take driver’s-ed. This class is offered for free through our local schools. In the class, you learn the rules of driving but in driver-ed, you never get behind the wheel. For those students who don’t need elective credits or who have a full schedule, the class is also offered at various websites on-line. The Web site I have been most referred to for my class is http://www.teendriverseducation.com/site/do/index. Most of my friends were able to finish all the work on this site in about two days rather than nine weeks. The only downside is that there is a $69.95 fee for taking the class online. After taking the class you will receive some form of verification that it was completed.
Next, you must schedule your first behind the wheel driving class. You will end up taking three of these classes, total. The majority of people I know seem to take their classes from E-Z Way Driving School, but that is not the only possible option. At E-Z Way, the three classes end up costing around $300 total.
“It seems like such a waste,” Christina Saunders, a sophomore at Truckee High said. “I mean, your parents can just teach you how to drive when you get your permit. Why spend so much money?”
She is not the only one to think this. In fact, in some states, such as Nevada, you are not required to even take driving lessons. In any case, after scheduling your first class you will receive a certificate of enrollment.
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With these two certificates, the certificate of enrollment and the proof of completing the course, you will go to the DMV to apply for your learner’s permit. Before receiving it, though, you must take a written test with 46 questions. You can miss no more than eight. Remember to bring your birth certificate, social security number, and another form of ID with you when you go to apply. The permit costs $26.
After you receive your learner’s permit, you can’t drive until you have had it signed by the instructor at your first lesson. This validates your permit. Then you can only drive with someone over 25. Six months, 50 hours of driving practice (10 hours of these at night), and two driving lessons later, you are eligible to begin trying to get your license.
The age at which you can get your license or permit is completely dependent on the state in which you live. For example, in some states, such as Nevada, you are not required to take the three driving classes.
Regardless, the process is time-consuming and expensive. By the time you actually receive your permit, the cost has come to more than $320. Is it all worth it? As a student who rides the bus to and from school very often and who constantly has to ask her parents to cart her around, let me answer that question. Yes!! I can’t wait until I have my license, and if that means having to go through the process of getting my permit, dedicating school hours and taking expensive courses on the way, then, oh well. To me, it’s worth it.