FAQ
Teen Driver
Where can my child take driver education?

You may first want to check to see if the school district within which you reside offers driver education. You may also want to contact neighboring school districts to see if they accept students who reside outside of their district. Finally, there may be driver training schools in your area. They are usually listed in the Yellow Pages under the heading "Driving Instruction."  Please visit our Teen Driver webpages for further information on where to find a certified Driver Education Provider.

 

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What things should I consider when determining where to send my child?

All driver education programs must offer at least the same minimum hours of instruction, that being 24 hours of classroom and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel, spread over not less than 3 weeks. A student must receive 4 hours or more of observation time in the training vehicle. All programs must also teach the same performance objectives during Segment 1 driver education. After that, here are some issues you may want to consider:

  • Cost. Most public school programs charge a fee, so you should expect to pay for driver education. The average fees range from $200 to $400. Be sure to identify if the fee you are quoted includes Segment 2. Other potential fees you want to be aware of include:
    • Pick-up/drop off. Although some schools may offer this convenience, there may be an additional cost.
    • Materials. Is there a cost for the textbook or other materials?
    • Replacement certificate. If a certificate is lost, is there a fee to replace it?
    • Missed drive. If a behind-the-wheel lesson is missed, is there a fee to reschedule the drive
    • Additional drives. If the instructor determines that additional drives are needed, is there a fee for instruction?
  • Refund policy. Is there a refund policy for the student dropping out of the program, or will he or she be allowed to re-enroll in the next class?
  • Attendance/disciplinary policy. What is the attendance policy, and will the student be allowed to make up missed days (separately or during a future class)? What criteria is there to warrant dismissal from a class?
  • Proximity to home. Since most programs offer 12 two-hour classes, and 6 one-hour driving lessons, you may be looking upward of 18 trips back and forth to class (although some schools offer pick up and drop off at home services for driving lessons for a fee).
  • Instructor qualifications. All driver education program instructors must be certified by the Department of State.
  • Teaching materials. What types of resources does each program use? Do they use a textbook? Are the materials up-to-date?
  • Reputation. Check with neighbors and/or classmates as to their satisfaction with the driver education provider(s).

 

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My child has special needs. What accommodations can or will be provided during driver education?

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Michigan Person with Disability Civil Rights Act apply to driver education programs and services. There is no distinction between public and private schools; they are both required to work with teens with special needs. Students with disabilities who attend driver education may be entitled to accommodations (including appropriate auxiliary aids and services) at no cost, as long as their disabilities do not prevent them from driving safely and unless providing such auxiliary aids or services would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or result in an undue burden. The Michigan Department of State encourages parents and driver education providers to work together to provide an appropriate accommodation to help meet the need of the student. For additional information, contact the U.S. Department of Justice ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice); 800-514-0383 (TTY); www.ada.gov. Or contact the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, 800-482-3604 (voice); 877-878-8464 (TTY).

 

 

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Is there financial assistance for my child to take driver education?

Public Act 71 of 2004 eliminated the driver education fund, which had provided partial reimbursement. There is no funding available from the state. You may want to contact local agencies to inquire about financial assistance.

 

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My child took driver education in another state. Will his permit/license be accepted in Michigan? Who do I talk to about it?

It might be accepted. You will want to telephone the Information Center at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424). The student will be directed to submit specific paperwork directly to the department's Central Office or to visit a branch office, depending on the specific situation. If it is not accepted, the student will need to enroll in Segment 1 of an approved driver education program.

 

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We will be moving to another state. Will a driver education certificate of completion received in Michigan be recognized by another state?

There is no automatic reciprocity with other states with regard to driver education coursework and completion certificates. You will need to contact the licensing agency in the other state to see if they will accept the course work and/or certificate.

 

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There are a number of driver education programs and online courses offered over the Internet. Are they acceptable in Michigan?

No. For a teenager (under the age of 18) to be issued a Level 1 license, he or she must present a Michigan Department of State Segment 1 certificate of completion at a branch office. Although Internet-based courses and driver education products sold over the Internet may be valuable supplemental materials, they cannot be substituted for a certified driver education program offered in Michigan.

 

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I have a complaint. What should I do?

First, you must try to resolve the problem with the school. If it is with a driver training school, the school's owner will have the ultimate authority to resolve the issue. If the problem is with a public school, the principal or community education director, and superintendent may need to be involved (depending on where in the district the program is administered). If you have a complaint that you cannot settle with a school, please fill out and submit the Driver Education Complaint form.

 

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I home school my children. Can I home school them in driver education?

No. Home school and/or parent-taught driver education is not accepted in Michigan. Students must attend a certified driver education program.

 

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What is a Graduated Driver's License?

The Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) consists of three licensing levels:

Level 1 License - a supervised learner's license issued to teen drivers at least 14 years 9 months old.

Level 2 License - an intermediate license that limits passengers and the unsupervised nighttime driving for teen drivers at least 16 years old.

Level 3 License - a full-privilege driver license issued to teen drivers at least 17 years old after they have successfully completed all the previous instructional and driving requirements.

 

 

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What documents will my child need when applying for their Graduated Driver's License?

Photocopies or faxes of documents will not be accepted. Please bring in originals (or copies certified with a raised seal or stamp) when showing proof of a Social Security number, identity, citizenship/legal presence and residency.

Level 1 License:
Segment 1 Certificate of Completion, proof of a valid Social Security numberU.S. citizenship or legal presence if not a U.S. citizen, identity and at least two documents establishing Michigan residency. A parent or guardian signature is also required upon application. (Residency can be confirmed through documents in the parent's name if the family relationship can be established by other forms of documented proof.)

All documentation is subject to Department of State approval. In some cases, document approval may not occur in the same day and may require an additional visit.

Level 2 License:
Segment 2 Certificate of Completion, Level 1 License (held for six months), proof of a valid Social Security numberlegal presence, identity, at least two documents establishing Michigan residency and the Driving Skills Test Certificate. A parent or guardian signature is also required on the application.

Level 3 License:
The Level 3 License is issued automatically to teen drivers who are at least 17 years old (with parental authorization*), held a Level 2 License for at least six months, and been crash- and violation-free during the prior 12 months. Tickets, crashes, suspensions and ignoring license restrictions will extend the time required to obtain a Level 3 License.

GDL ends for all teens when they turn 18 years of age.

 

* Authorization is granted when the parent or legal guardian sign for the teen's Level 2 License. 

 
Related Documents & Topics

 

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When is my child eligible to take a driving skills test?

A teen driver can apply to take a driving skills test when they:

  • Are at least age 16
  • Held a Level 1 License for at least six months
  • Completed Segment 2 of the driver education course
  • Completed a minimum 50 hours of supervised driving, which includes a minimum of 10 hours of night driving


Related Documents & Topics

 

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What is a driving skills test?

A driving skills test consists of two parts, a basic control skills test and an on-road driving test.  Driving skills tests are provided by independent third-party testing organizations approved by the Secretary of State.

Related Documents & Topics

 

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What are the restrictions for Level 2 drivers under the Graduated Driver's Licensing program?

Graduated Driver License Level 2 restrictions have changed. Michigan Public Act 124 of 2011 amends the changes that were made in March 2011 and makes these new restrictions effective July 20, 2011. Under the recent changes, GDL Level 2 licensed drivers:

Level 2 Intermediate License Restrictions

Teens with a level 2 license 

  1. Shall not operate a motor vehicle between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. except when:
    • driving to or from or in the course of employment;
    • driving to or from an authorized activity; or
    • accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or a licensed driver 21 years of age or older designated by the parent or legal guardian.
       
  2. Shall not operate a motor vehicle at any time with more than 1 passenger in the vehicle who is younger than 21 years of age except: 
     
    • when the additional passengers are immediate family members;
    • when driving to or from, or in the course of employment;
    • while going to or from an authorized activity; or
    • when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or a licensed driver 21 years of age or older designated by the parent or legal guardian.

Authorized activity means any of the following: 

  1. A school or a school-sanctioned event or activity. School means a public or private school, including a home school.

    A sporting event or activity, or extracurricular event or activity, that is not school-sanctioned but that is part of an official sports league or association or an official extracurricular club, or that is paid for as a service offered by a business specializing in those events or activities or training for those events or activities.
     
  2. A sporting event or activity, or extracurricular event or activity, that is not school-sanctioned but that is part of an official sports league or association or an official extracurricular club, or that is paid for as a service offered by a business specializing in those events or activities or training for those events or activities.
     
  3. A class or program of vocational instruction offered by a college, community college, nonprofit association, or unit of government or by a business specializing in vocational training.
     
  4. An event or activity sponsored by a religious organization that is tax-exempt under federal law.
     
  5. Transporting an individual in need of immediate emergency care or personal protection to a health care professional, hospital, police station, domestic violence shelter, or public safety location. 

 

 

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My Level 2 teen driver has a school-sanctioned event that will necessitate travel after 10 p.m. Can he/she drive unaccompanied under the authorized activity exception?

Yes. Level 2 drivers may drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. while going to or from authorized activities. A school or a school-sanctioned event or activity is included in the list of authorized activities. School means a public or private school, including a home school.

 

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My Level 2 teen driver and two other under 21-year-old friends all work at the same location...

Yes. A Level 2 driver may drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and they may also have more than 1 passenger in the vehicle who is less than 21 years of age when the person is operating the vehicle in the course of his or her employment or while going to or from employment.


 

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What are the penalties for violating the Level 2 restrictions?

A violation of the Level 2 restrictions under the Graduated Driver Licensing program is a civil infraction and will result in two points on the teen's license. A notice of the civil infraction will be sent to designated parent or legal guardian. In addition, the period the teen must have a Level 2 license will be extended for 12 months. The teen will be required to appear for a driver reexamination with possible license suspension and/or additional restrictions imposed.

 

 

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Is it illegal for teen drivers to use cell phones while driving?

Beginning March 28, 2013, it is illegal for any teen driver with a Graduated Driver License Level 1 or Level 2 to use a cell phone while driving. "Use" means to initiate a call; answer a call; or listen to or engage in verbal communication through a cell phone.

This does not apply if the teen is using a voice-operated system that is integrated into the vehicle or if they use the cell phone to:

  • Report a traffic accident, medical emergency or serious road hazard.
     
  • Report a situation in which the teen believes his or her personal safety is in jeopardy.
     
  • Report or prevent the commitment of a crime or potential crime against the teen or another person.

 

 

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