Choosing a driving school can be tough for beginning drivers and their parents.
Unlike years past, when most public high schools offered driver training classes, few do so now. Today’s beginning drivers often learn their skills from commercial driving schools.
Five years ago, state regulators shut down several Washington driving schools that employed unlicensed instructors, including ex-felons. This underscored the need for parents and students to be ultra-discerning when shopping for an accredited driving school. PEMCO recommends you follow these five steps:
- Research as many schools as you can. There are lots of choices, but not all schools, their staffs, and their vehicles are equally well-run, trained, screened, or maintained.
- Ask to see copies of licenses for both the school and individual instructors.
- Ask for proof the school is both certified and insured.
- Ask how long the school has been operating.
- Ask if any instructors have criminal records, particularly relating to misconduct with minors. (This could be important if your daughter, for example, needs one-on-one driving instruction, without other students in the car.) Parents also can do an Internet search on their own.
Last: Parents, don’t think of the driving school as a substitute for you driving with an evaluating your own teenagers. You need to know exactly where their judgment, emotional development, hand-eye coordination, and concentration stand in relation to their growing driving skills.