Online Drivers Ed Program

Updated on October 11, 2019
K.C. asks from Solon, OH
20 answers

I am seeking advice for Drivers Ed School for my 15 year old son. He is so busy and it seems like an online school would be easier for his schedule. However, I am wondering if they learn more taking an actual class. He is a smart boy, but I would like to hear opinions for kids that took an online class. A lot of the kids I have talked to say the class that is available to my son was too long and boring.

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone that responded. Once again, I am seeking an opinion...not a lecture!! The online class is just for laws and education and of course it is not a substitute for in cars. There is no other way to get a drivers license. As for the person that said he needs to get his priorities son is a hard working student. Straight A's, has his own job, is in extra curriculars and volunteers. If he can not sit in a "long and boring" class and instead take an online "long and boring" class on his own time that sounds great to me. I was just wondering if anyone had any experiences with the online class. Geez, this world is insane how people respond. I am sure there is a "long and boring" manners class you can take.

More Answers


answers from Tampa on

Not sure how we all survive through a boring class.. and I am sure we were busy just as well, and yet here we are. There is no such thing as “too long and boring” when it comes to safety!!

If he is a smart kid he should take it seriously, take a physical class ( that takes effort and will) sit there, take notes and listen to the instructor. From what I remember there was even a “test” or a demonstration of how calmly you can count 1-10 and distracted version.

Here are some of the stats:

5,864 teens ages 15-20 were involved in fatal crashes. Average of 9 teens are killed daily due to an auto accident injury. ( from teen accident stats and facts and car crashes are number one killer of teen ( from

Don’t LOOK for easy way out-that’s when accidents happen. Honestly I think 15 is way too young ( I think it’s same age here in Fl too) but at least I am not in Alaska ( Arkansas and more, I just looked!!!) there it’s 14 yrs old !!! ( omg there are more states with age 14!!! Insanity! (

Good luck to him.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Nope I would go with the classroom situation in learning to drive because there are a lot of questions and discussions that happen that he wouldn't be part of if he was sitting in front of a computer studying on line. He needs to know that driving is a HUGE responsibility and if sitting in a classroom learning it is too long and boring then maybe he isn't ready to step up to those responsibilities.

I'll just add that he's 15. He doesn't get to choose how something is done in this situation. You are the parent so step in and decide what's right not what's convenient. We need to stop trying to make our kid's lives easier all the time. Hard situations make them stronger in the end.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I would go for the live classroom. All kids are busy - he needs to make time for what's important. My two oldest kids both opted to take the class all at once during a school vacation week - 30 hours of instruction over 5 days. They also had to pay for driver's ed themselves, so my oldest son took that class when he was 16 yrs 9 months old and my daughter was already 17.5 by the time she got around to it. There's no need to rush this. He can take the class when he's ready to find time for it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ooh HELL NO!!! Your child needs - let me repeat ***NEEDS *** behind the wheel experience.

Are you freaking insane? Seriously.

Wait - so magically - your 11 year old son from 2016 is now 15?!?! May I ask how that is?

Any way - I digress - your son needs an actual BEHIND THE WHEEL class. If Ohio allows teenagers to take an on-line class for drivers ed? I'd be sick to my stomach.

Oh thank God - I did a quick check

Ohio Drivers Ed Requirements
If you're under 18, you must take a BMV-approved Ohio drivers ed course. Next, you'll need to pass both a written permit test and a vision screening and must hold your temporary permit for at least 6 months before pursuing a drivers license.

To qualify for a BMV driving test, you must finish 8 hours of instructor-led behind-the-wheel, along with 50 hours of supervised driving practice. Passing the driving test earns you a drivers license.

Note: You must be at least 15 years and 5 months old to start taking a drivers ed course and at least 16 to take your driving test.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have a 16 yr old who just got his license. He and most of the guys did the classroom setting and one friend did the online. Yes, they all said it was boring. But, I think the main benefit I see to the in class work would be the back and forth discussions. Some kids might ask questions that others wouldn’t even think to ask. Hopefully more knowledge might be retained this way. He sounds like a great, and busy, kid. But when it comes to his safety and the safety of others, I would opt for the classroom. And when it eventually comes time for behind the wheel, the more the better!!! I fear for all of us out there when I hear stories from my son about parents that fudged the practice hours their children had before getting their licenses!! Driving is such a serious responsibility and I just can’t understand what they were thinking?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

In my town our drivers education classes that are in the classroom have driving simulators. and it is required to log simulator hours to take the written test part. After passing the written part they drive with the instructor. and then have to log many hours with a driver over 21 before they can head to the driver services facility and try to get a license.
So I would go with the classroom setting as here it's more hands on and informative than an online course.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

A 15 yr old is "too busy" to take on a what, 6 week classroom course? For something that he will be doing daily for the rest of his life?

You need to help your child get his priorities straight . . .

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I am in Texas and this is a very common question in our state as it is one of our options here. The class is no longer offered as an elective option in the high schools is our district.

To clarify, in Texas the classroom portion is taught online instead of going to a classroom two hours a day for several weeks everyday after-school. And the test you take at the DMV to get a learner's permit is based on that information. It is only a written test here to get a learner's permit. Once you know the rules of the road as pass to get a learner's permit you can only drive with an over 18 (it might be 21) year old driver in the front seat with you until you are 16 and go take the actual driving test in a car to get your actual license.

I have struggled with this question as our local driver's school offers classes from 4:30 - 6:30pm or 6:00 - 8:00pm (every other session is either the early or late time).

My son just turned 15 and has 2-3 hours of home work each night. So add in the class and he will be doing nothing but driver's ed and school work until 10 pm or later every evening for several weeks. Also, his bus gets him home close to 5pm so it would have to be the later class time.

The school also offers behind the wheel training after the weeks of in class work for a week after the classwork is done or you can teach them yourself behind the wheel. But either way they are only behind the wheel with a licensed driver until they pass the DMV driving test.

If my son does on-line class he can have more time with me actually practicing behind the wheel of a car before he is 16. If he takes the class at the driver's school he might have to wait until summer and have less time to practice with me behind the wheel before he turns 16.

So, I'm kinda in the same a classroom or on-line. The classroom setting seems a much better choice but I'm not sure when he can do it every night for several weeks.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

In our area online drivers ed is the ONLY option (unless you want to spend a lot of money for a private class) so that's what we did. But it takes the same # of hours to complete. It's set up in a way that you can't just race through it. It's also long and boring, just like it would be in a real class, probably even more boring because you're just sitting alone in front of a screen the whole time.
If a real class is an option I would encourage that.
ETA: sorry, I can't remember the name of the one we used, but I think they are all very similar. All three of my kids passed the first time and passed their written exams at DMV the first time as well, so it was good!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

The high school here offers drivers ed as an elective at school. I think doing a real class will be better because if your son is like mine he may not really do the work or may just skim things online and not really learn it. We heard the class was boring too, but my son really enjoyed it. Anyway, my advice is to make him take the actual class. Added - Your son sounds awesome and some people on this website read between the lines and assume the worst. Just ignore that. As far as drivers ed, I'm sure it'll be fine either way if your son is good about doing homework/classwork online at home. Mine is not so responsible yet.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My teens did the in-class training (and then the driving training).

I don't know any that did the online training and then the driver training.

My teen just did a first aid training course online. Watching that, I wasn't too impressed. He's now taking a group run training program for first aid.

I would think it would be similar - better to be involved in a group run by a leader.

Each week my kid would go in, they'd talk about examples of what they'd seen. That gave them a week to sort of watch for things they had covered.

My other teen did it all over the course of a few days during the summer. I didn't like that as much because it was crammed full and he didn't seem to retain it as well.

* I get why just to learn the laws, etc. doing it online sounds appealing (and my kids did review that stuff online for their test) but I think they covered quite a lot in their program - like discussions (or I hope they did). We paid quite a bit :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I think it’s hysterically funny that some posters here actually thought you are asking about an online class to learn how to drive a car! Belly laughs!

Back to your question. In actuality, online work is a great addition to taking an actual class. There are lots of model tests online that your son can take to test his knowledge. My son did that.

Some schools have simulator cars for kids to work on in the classroom - my kids both did. That was very helpful. Kind of breaks up the boring aspect of the class...

I agree with the poster who mentions priorities. Your son needs to decide if he really wants to dedicate the time to learning to drive. It’s a big commitment. As a parent, your car will be used by a kid who will be under your insurance. Any incident that causes damage will push your rates up. A 15 year old who is very busy, who doesn’t really have to get their driver’s license this early, might be better off waiting a year. My younger son took the class in school but never put in enough hours of driving to get his license that year. He just didn’t care. We ended up waiting until he was older and really cared about it.

You might check the laws of your state regarding insurance and driver’s licenses. Some states require you to carry insurance on your kid if he has a driver’s license, even if he doesn’t intend to drive. If he’s not going to drive a lot, you might want to consider how many years you’ll be paying big premiums.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

oh, by all means, have your child learn how to drive through an online course. we would never want people operating motor vehicles after being subjected to an in-person class experience that was too long and boring.

what could go wrong?


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

I'm assuming that you are referring only to the classroom portion of driver's ed and not the "behind the wheel" portion. In Illinois (in the 1980's), we were requited to take a traditional class in a classroom (probably for 9 weeks, but I don't remember) and a "behind the wheel," where we spent a required number of hours driving with an instructor in the passenger's seat.

I'm sure not every state has the same requirements, and i would guess the requirements in Illinois have changed over the years. Even though my parents took me driving often, there really is no substitute for spending time "behind the wheel" with a certified instructor, pointing out unique situations and discussing obscure laws many parents have forgotten about.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I would ask your car insurance company if an online program for young drivers is sufficient. I assume that you mean an online program for the rules of the road stuff (what certain road signs mean, what the yellow lines mean, etc). In my opinion, that kind of stuff can be done online, because an instructor is pretty much going to hold up a red triangular "Yield" sign and explain it, which isn't much different than seeing the same sign on the computer screen. But your insurance company may require actual attendance in a classroom.

You also might ask your local police department if an online program is ok for teens in your area. And you might ask them what programs are approved

The only thing I'd be careful of is that you choose a reputable company with actual instruction online. There are lots of things called "practice tests" for getting a license or permit that just review the basics. You want your son to get an in-depth program that talks about the dangers of driving under certain conditions (texting, drinking, etc) and that gives real instruction, not just a series of flash-cards with pictures on them.

And I'm also assuming that your son will get real-world behind-the-wheel experience with a professional instructor, in actual traffic.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I can't speak for other states, but the high schools in California dropped drivers education several years ago, so EVERYONE from 16 to 18 does an online class for that, and parents have to pay for it. Of course there is an additional 6 hours behind the wheel training required with a professional driving instructor plus another 50-something hours required with a parent of guardian before you can take the actual behind the wheel test.
So yes, the online stuff is fine. Same as sitting in a class and listening to the teacher.
As far as the couple of moms who freaked out, they are probably older and confused about the difference between drivers education and drivers training lol!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I never took driver's ed. I got my license in my 20s by hiring a driving instructor for about a month of lessons, and then reading and studying a booklet about driving laws and questions for the written test. My parents said if I wanted to drive, I could save up for a car and do so, because they would not be lending me their car, so that's what I did. By my 20s I had enough saved up for a brand new car, car insurance, gas, and driving lessons. I don't know what the online class would be for, would it be for learning the material for passing the written test? If so, I cannot imagine being too lengthy of a class, I was able to learn the stuff in the booklet in one day (unless the requirements in your state are different).

Maybe you should ask the school what the difference is between the online classes and the classroom classes, since not all states seem to have an online program. They would be the best people to answer that. I imagine the local DMV may also be able to answer that question, since your son's school is probably not the first and only school to offer that program. Maybe it's meant for kids who are very independent and responsible, not all kids (or adults) can handle the responsibility and independence of online learning and a more accelerated program, but with the same material. Only your son would know if he thinks he can manage that. Some people may need more individualized attention, or are the type who like asking questions, which may not be as easy to do through online learning classes, so it would not suit them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

We are in Texas and homeschool. I don’t think driver’s Ed is offered through any high school now, (in Texas) the “book learning” is done online or through a private driving school.

We went on the DPS website and they had the online programs that were approved for the state of Texas and used it.

This is how my daughter got her license as well. My husband (who has a CDL) signed up to be their driving instructor. We take this very seriously (as we do our schooling) and both kids have been very successful.

The online class is set up where you can only read an allotted time. After each section they’re required to test and they have to make a 95 or better to go to the next section. My kids have both had to go back and re-read sections when they didn’t pay close enough attention to the material (which to me proved the program had fail-safes to keep someone from testing without reading). It also has an audible component which helps my son since there’s some dyslexia going on.

We’ve been pleased with the program. My daughter has has her license 4 years without any incidents or accidents. Part of that too, I believe, is that she paid half of her car and we paid the other half. So she’s been vested in her vehicle from the beginning. My son has rebuilt a 73 Dodge Charger with his dad and when he begins driving solo, I think because of the time, $, and sweat invested, he will be a responsible driver as well.

Enjoy this next chapter, it’s a lot of fun and has kept me in prayer a lot too. 😂

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

After reading your update I still personally think that an in person class is better. Especially since you really believe the class is long and boring. I'm taking from this that he'll have a hard time paying attention and want to take the easiest way out and perhaps can pass the online written test without really paying attention to the training portion??? Would he try and multi task while doing the online portion or maybe even fall asleep? And I'm sure he is a hard worker like you said, really no snark. However, I don't think drivers ed is any class you should take the easy way out of. I mean, your kids life could depend on it. In my DS drivers ed class the teacher would kick the kids out of class if they fell asleep and then that days lesson had to be made up at a different session or location of the class if room was available. If they couldn't make it up by a certain day, they didn't pass the classroom training portion and you couldn't take the driving portion without passing the classroom portion. This all was stated when we signed up. I liked it. Made sure my kid paid attention in class and passed the daily tests too. I personally think if he finds the classroom portion too boring than I think actual driving is too boring and shouldn't be given that privilege.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

My son's class has 8 hours of classroom time as well as 9 hours of in the car instruction, you can't do in the car instruction online and I think that is the most important part.

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