Do you have a 14-year-old who is champing at the bit to get their driver’s license?

Well, if this is your first child reaching this important milestone, things might have changed since you were in driver’s education, so let’s walk through the process.

The first step is to enroll your child in the classroom portion of driver’s education once they are 15 years old. Be sure to keep an eye on our website for future classes in case your child will be 15 by the time the next class starts.

The class is 30 hours in length and attendance is mandatory. There is also an optional point of impact class for parent(s) to attend that is put on by a State Trooper. By attending a POI class, the student driver can reduce their practice time behind the wheel by 10 hours.

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Once a student completes the classroom portion of driver’s ed., they can enroll in behind-the-wheel instruction. During their registration for BTW, they are issued the blue card. The blue card, along with means of identification, such as a birth certificate and social security card, will allow them to take the knowledge and vision test. After passing the knowledge test, they are issued their permit then the fun begins!

The student needs to complete 50 hours of driving practice of which 15 hours have to be nighttime driving. If you are someone that goes to bed early, I suggest practicing in the winter. You are given a driving log sheet to keep track of these hours. In addition to 50 hours of practice, students need to hold their permit for a minimum of six months and be 16 years old before they can take the driving test.

Behind-the-wheel instruction gives them six hours of practice with a driving instructor. I would recommend practicing at least 15-20 hours before driving with the instructor.

After they complete their six hours with the instructor, they can bring the instructor evaluation form to the Community Education office to receive their white card. The white card, along with their permit, completed driving log, social security number, proof of insurance and vehicle will be needed to take the road test. Make sure that the vehicle they are testing in would pass a vehicle inspection. Also make sure your teen knows where the parking brake is, along with the windshield wipers, lights and flashers.

When they pass the driving test, they are issued their license! However, for the first six months (if they are under age 18), they can only transport one non-family member under the age of 20 unless accompanied by a parent/guardian. For the second six months, this increases to no more than three non-family passengers under the age of 20, unless accompanied by a parent/guardian. Be sure to remember these rules when they start asking for the keys!

Finally, be sure to hang onto your receipts for driver's education. The expenses may qualify you for the educational tax credit or a tax deduction (depending on income).

For additional questions or to find out when the next class is, please call 218-879-1261.

"Community Education Corner," published weekly in the Pine Journal, features news from Community Education programs in Carlton County.